Republican Peter Hoekstra who’s campaigning for a seat in the US Senate in Michigan has run a creepy, racist Super Bowl ad against his Democratic challenger Debbie Stabenow to insinuate that she’s actually working to help the Chinese:
The advertisement, which will run in Michigan during the Super Bowl and afterward, features an Asian female with a conical straw hat riding a bike through a rice paddy field.
“Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good [sic],” the actress says, in broken English.
“Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie ‘Spend-it-now’. Debbie spend so much American money [sic],” the actress says, without a Chinese accent. “You borrow more and more, from us… we take your jobs. Thank you Debbie ‘Spend-it-now.’”
James Fallows of The Atlantic tells us what he finds so revolting about the ad:
1) The “Chinese” woman speaks in American-accented English, and I would bet she is actually an Asian-American. But the script has her make pidgin grammar errors, “Me likee!!”-style.
2) The ad’s words are about trade, budgets, and jobs, but its images are about — ‘Nam!! Of course some parts of southern China look the way this ad does, with rice paddies, palm trees, no big buildings, people wearing conical straw hats and bicycling along dike tops. But this is nothing like how the typical big-factory zone looks in China, or the huge cities that would exemplify Chinese wealth and the country’s rise — ie, the subjects of this ad. So why this rural setting? I think it’s because it offers a kind of visual dog-whistle, for those Americans who, either through experience or through Apocalypse Now-style imagery, associate smiling-but-deceptive Asians in a rice-paddy setting with previous American sorrow.
This ad is embarrassing for America! Regardless of party, I hope it loses Hoekstra more votes than it wins him.