But allow me one more thought. After the ad had settled in my mind for a couple of days and I got beyond all the weird touches--Cain's oddly revealing smile, the smoke itself--what struck me was the depiction of Cain's right-hand man as another smoker forced to puff outside. After all, Mark Block wasn't filmed taking a drag in some office or in his home but instead on a windswept sidewalk which is probably where most nicotine delivery takes places these days.
It couldn't help by remind me a bit of Michael Douglas in "Falling Down," a not-great-not-bad film about a laid-off aerospace worker who goes on a killing spree. It was a 90s proxy for downsizing, and the beleaguered white male. Newsweek got a cover out of it at the time.
If you feel like you've been victimized and life's been unfair than the image of a guy forced to smoke outside isn't the worst one to use when you're campaigning in this kind of economy. Of course, the question of why Cain, a cancer survivor, would put tobacco front-and-center in his ad is another question. But nothing about the ad glamorizes tobacco, only that defiant puff to the camera that reminds me of another angry white male, Network's Howard Beale.
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