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8 of Adlai Stevenson's Awful 1952 TV Campaign Ads

Are you sick of attack ads, Super PAC ads, and even ads in color? Then let's turn to a cornier, gentler time -- the election of 1952, when the original "Egghead" Adlai Stevenson ran against Eisenhower, running a series of remarkably unremarkable TV ads. Well, it probably wasn't just the TV ads that did Stevenson in, but the rest is history. Happy Presidents' Day, everyone!

1. "Endorsement: Women"

A man for all the people. Even women.

2. "Ike...Bob"

An adapted radio ad. Sort of horrifying, really.

3. "Music Man" Ad

"Vote Stevenson: a man you can believe in, son." Best rhyme ever.

4. "Adlai to You"

On the difficulty of pronouncing the candidate's name.

5. "I Love the Gov"

"I'd rather have a man with a hole in his shoe than a hole in everything he says."

6. "The Same God Made Us All"

Oh boy, here we go again with the God-given liberty.

7. "Platform Double Talk"

"What're you complaining about, you get two policies for the price of one!"

8. "Let's Not Forget the Farmer"

So if the above is to be believed, this ad should seal the deal: all possible demographics, including women, people who don't like Eisenhower, people who can or cannot pronounce "Adlai" properly, people who love the governor of Illinois, Christians, politically savvy people, and now farmers are behind Stevenson. What could possibly go wrong?

Stevenson on TV Advertising

According to the Museum of the Moving Image, Stevenson didn't like being on TV much (emphasis added):

Stevenson never warmed up to the medium during the campaign. He refused to appear in his own spots, and his speeches, which were aired live, frequently ran too long; the broadcast would fade out while he was still talking. In his election-eve special, when his son tells him, "I like watching television better than being on it," Stevenson replies, "I guess that goes for all of us, doesn’t it?"

One Sample Eisenhower Ad

Just compare the above to Eisenhower's "I Like Ike" ad. Poor Stevenson.

See also: 12 Creative Campaign Slogans to Inspire the 2012 Candidates and 15 Recent Presidential Elections: A Matter of Inches.

Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
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‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

Original image
“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0
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Get Your GIFs Ready for This International Public Domain GIF-Making Competition
Original image
“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0

Excellent GIF-making skills can serve you beyond material for your clever tweets. Each year, a group of four digital libraries from across the world hosts GIF IT UP, a competition to find the best animated image sourced from public domain images from their archives.

The competition is sponsored by Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), New Zealand’s DigitalNZ, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove, all of which host millions of public domain works. The requirements are that the source material must be in the public domain, have a 'no known copyright restrictions' statement, or have a Creative Commons license that allows its reuse. The material must also come from one of the sponsored sources. Oh, and judging by the past winners, it helps if it’s a little whimsical.

The image above won the grand prize in 2015. And this was a runner-up in 2016:

via GIPHY

This year’s prizes haven’t been announced yet (although Europeana says there will be a new one for first-time GIF makers), but last year’s grand prize winner got their own Giphoscope, and runners-up got $20 gift cards. (Turns out, there’s not a lot of money in public domain art.)

Not an expert GIFer yet? You can always revisit the audio version of DPLA’s advanced GIF-making tutorial from last year.

The fourth-annual GIF IT UP contest opens to submissions October 1.

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