Thursday, September 22, 2005

Keep It Gay!

At first, I just thought I was (mis)hearing things. But I checked with others, and they said they heard the same thing.

Here in Virginia, Democratic candidate for governor Tim Kaine is running a TV commercial touting his support for government schools -- higher teacher pay, pre-K education for all, etc.

The last line in the ad, delivered by a female narrator, is "Keep Gangs Out of Our Schools." This is accompanied by a graphic with those exact words.

Yet each time I heard the ad on television, the last line sounded to me like "Keep Gays Out of Our Schools." By the time I decided to ask for other people's opinion about the commercial, I had heard the Kaine ad at least three times, and each time I did a double-take to look at the screen to confirm what I thought I had heard.

Thinking I just needed to see a doctor about my hearing, I asked some other people (in other parts of Virginia and in the D.C. media market) if they heard the same thing. They agreed -- it appears that the narrator is swallowing the "ng" sound on her line, so it sounds like "keep gays out of our schools."

Whether the Kaine campaign did this on purpose is a question I am not able to answer. But it certainly is suspicious. In a state like Virginia, it doesn't pay to be perceived as too pro-gay, but Northern Virginia voters, soccer moms, and -- yes, Virginia, we do exist -- gay citizens might not respond too positively to out-and-out anti-gay rhetoric. Hence, an attempt at subliminal seduction. (And not the first attempt, either.)

Listen to the ad for yourself. It's on the Kaine campaign web site. I recommend listening with your eyes closed, first, then listening again and watching at the same time.

Let me add that I delayed posting this reflection for more than a week and a half, until I had time to ask more than a few people if they heard the same thing I did. When I got feedback that indicated I was not alone, I thought it was appropriate to go public with my musings.


Waldo Jaquith said...

I saw the ad for the first time last night, and I did a subconscious mental doubletake. I didn't realize it until fully five seconds later, when Amber turned to me and asked "Did he really just promise to keep gays out of schools?" I assured her it was gangs, but realized that I'd had to think it through, too.

common sense center said...

Rick, Waldo:

I just listend to it, and I honestly heard it as "gangs".

I do have a hearing impediment, but that's what I heard.

Anyway, don't we have more important things to talk about... like evil abortion doctors, those criminal immigrants who are taking over the country, preserving our God given right to teach creation in schools, or making sure we don't deprive any convicts, criminals or the mentally insane of their rights to carrry concealed weapons?? Woops! for a second I was channeling Jerry W. Kilgore.

Is anybody up for a good substantive discussion on the incredible importance of Education, the investiments Tim Kaine has made and will make and the danger to Education a potential Jerry W. Kilgore Administration would represent?

Besides, why would anyone want to keep gays out of school? The last thing we need in America is to encourage ignorance amongst any "groups". That doesn't have anythign to do with gender, it has to do with our economic and spiritual vitality as a nation.

Waldo Jaquith said...

Five minutes ago, I went to blog about this, and went to Kaine's website to grab an audio clip. I listened to the ad, and the narrator clearly said "gangs." Figuring I had the wrong ad, I watched the other one. Nope, I had the right ad.

I don't know if it's been changed, or if it's just that I've now heard it and I expect "gangs," but I can no longer hear "gays."

Nathan Dorsett said...

The add says "gangs", but the illusion of "gays" isn't created only in the word itself; it's pneumonically created through the strong emphasis on the word "pay", directly before we hear the word "gangs", which in the Viginian accent bears a strong, [a] pronunciation.

Kind Regards,
Nathan Dorsett, student in linguistics at KSU

Nathan Dorsett said...

I apologize for the mispelling. It's meant to read mnemonic, related to memory, not pneumonic (related to the lungs).