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Vote or Die returns
Meet the premier alt-right ad agency
The next post you read from me will be Situation Bali. But today I’m pleased to bring you a special election edition of Situation Normal. The following is a satirical collaboration with two very funny writers: Dennard Dayle of Extra Evil and Amran Gowani of Field Research.
And if you live in the U.S., remember to vote.
DENNARD: First of all, it’s an honor to be here. Voting has always been important to me, and dying is one of my least favorite things. Bottom five, maybe three. But number one is subpar creative.
You won’t find any here. At Virtuosity, we only produce brilliance. Which you’ll need to get the traumatized masses to the polls.
We’ve each prepared ideas to bring Vote or Die into the twenty-first century. Your first campaign was technically this century, but a little off-tone. I think you’ll find we’ve captured the spirit of the moment.
Specifically, we’re focusing on the winning team. We envision the new Vote or Die as a pure conservative initiative. The American experiment is headed one way, and I’m sure you want to be on the right side of the Proscriptions. Why play to a middle that no longer exists? Let’s score some early points with the Grand Only Party.
Before passing the baton to my peers, I’d like to emphasize that I know you didn’t have Mr. Shakur killed. And it’s petty of anyone to suggest so.
MICHAEL: This one is a new twist on a classic of the genre. Remember LBJ’s Daisy ad? An adorable little girl counts as she plucks the petals off a daisy flower. She’s counting up, but the voice-over is counting down: “Ten, nine, eight…”
We zoom in on her face.
“Seven, six, five…”
The little girl’s dark brown eyes fill the screen.
“Four, three, two…”
The screen goes dark for a moment.
Mushroom clouds. Big-ass mushroom clouds. Like the ones at the end of Dr. Strangelove, only bigger because we have way better CGI.
Now, here’s the twist. Instead of LBJ, we hear from a real American hero (Ricky Schroder or Scott Baio).
“These are the stakes. If the Democrats win, Sleepy Joe Biden will nuke every Red state in America, then repopulate that post-apocalyptic wasteland with socialist immigrants. Don’t let that happen. Vote or die.”
Here’s the kicker: The original LBJ ad only aired once, but the media covered it to death (pun intended). We buy one primetime slot, then let the media do the rest.
DENNARD: It’s all a little expensive, isn’t it? The media buys, the actors, our overtime. Wouldn’t it be nice to nail this with a simple postcard?
Consider the valor thief. The moral hypocrite. The poser. From the army to the playground, America hates and humiliates frauds. We’re inches away from bringing back pillories.
It’d be a shame for that to include you, wouldn’t it? To find your guilt in the mail? Like so?
The lie’s as American as hypertension. “I just voted. I didn’t spend today dunking stale Halloween Oreos in Cool Whip. I could name the Secretary of State if you asked.” But nothing can hide the sugar on your fingertips.
This card sends a simple message: we know. We already track what you eat, say, and dream. Finding out if you bothered sleepwalking into a public library takes nothing.
Don’t forget: we’re after the conspiracy-minded. People convinced they’re worth constant attention from hidden powers. Making our name an elegant asset. Vote. Or Die implies we’re willing to act on our knowledge, and that accidents happen. That people have a way of disappearing, especially when they let civic duty slide.
I’d never endorse threatening voters. Explicitly. But implicit threats are the artistry you came to us for. And if you have the courage, we can take that sense of dread a step further. The deluxe version perfects our messaging:
Beautiful. Want to sign off on this now, or pretend to consider the others? I’ll give you a minute. Let us know if you need help with the wire transfer.
AMRAN: We reach voters in their natural habitats. On their TVs. In their mailboxes. And here, through their browsers.
Imagine your target voter’s perusing their favorite, fact-based news source: Breitbart, 8chan, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. They’re trying to learn the “truth” about the world, but in the corner of their eye they’re distracted.
A Target ad urges them to buy a twenty-dollar jug of Tide. Hello? Inflation?
eBay wants them to bid on bump stocks — as if sophisticated AR-15 connoisseurs don’t keep a dozen backups on hand.
I like to call these wasted opportunities.
Instead of that untargeted, unrefined dross, what if your desired voter saw these instead?
A Chicano gangbanger holding a burrito and a brick of cocaine, with bold, overlaid text reading, “Ever met one of these that didn’t smuggle the American Dream? Vote or Die.”
A thug wearing a BLM hoodie, wielding a TEC-9 with, “Ever met one of these that didn’t loot the American Dream? Vote or Die.”
Kumail Nanjiani with, “Ever met one of these that didn’t outsource the American Dream? Vote or Die.”
A horde of Chinese chemists working in a “gain-of-function” laboratory, one holding a flask labeled “Biohazard: Wuhan flu,” with, “Ever met one of these that didn’t infect the American Dream? Vote or Die.”
An Orthodox Jew flipping through a stack of crisp, hundred-dollar bills with, “Ever met one of these that didn’t sell out the American Dream? Vote or Die.”
At Virtuosity we don’t sell stuff. We sell ideas. Like racial animus. Economic anxiety. Democracy.
DENNARD: High standards! I respect that. These ideas were decoys. We wanted to see if you were serious. Isn’t that right?
MICHAEL: So right, it’s alt right.
AMRAN: You’re not just buying Virtuosity, Virtuosity’s buying you. Now we know you’ve got discerning taste.
DENNARD: Some creative directors would be insulted, and I am. I love it. Insults keep me sharp. Thank you for your insults.
AMRAN: Try this on for size.
AMRAN: To the zealots of the fundamentalist right there’s only one acceptable form of carnal knowledge: missionary-style between God and the Virgin Mary. The concepts of gender and sexual fluidity terrify these people the way a mass shooter ought to.
Let’s set the scene.
We’re in a sun-drenched kitchen. A Cleveland Browns banner hangs on the wall. A portly, cherubic woman with blonde hair and blue eyes — think the mom from That ‘70s Show — is wearing a red-and-white checkered apron and carving an apple pie. She looks up, directly into the camera, smiles, and says:
“In this house we love God, country, and family.”
Then her face turns ominous. Literal storm clouds roll in, the kitchen goes dark, and she warns:
“But the radical left wants to destroy traditional family values and our Christian way of life.
“I got a form from my ten-year-old daughter’s school asking if her ‘preferred’ gender identity was male, female, or ‘other.’
“Last I checked The Book of Genesis said God created Adam and Eve. There wasn't no other.
“But, according to the woke, Soros-backed, Satan lovers on the radical left there is.
“My daughter’s school is crawling with Godless abominations who ‘self-identify’ as homosexuals, transexuals, furries, and — if you can believe it — unicorns. Some of these shaitans eat from sparkly feed bags, drink out of rainbow-colored water troughs, and require designated ‘petting and play time.’ If those aren’t codewords for grooming, then I don’t love the Lord.
“I heard they even perform abortions for these equine-like affronts to humanity in ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms!
“The radical left’s so thoroughly corrupted public education we had to enroll our daughter in the local Catholic School. At least there we know she’s safe from sexual deviants.”
We freeze the scene, capturing the righteous fury on mom’s face. Then, an iconic Hollywood voice — think Morgan Freeman — says:
“The radical left: against Christ, against America, for genital mutilation and interspecies miscegenation. The choice is clear: Vote. Or your children dabble in bestiality before they die.”
DENNARD: I’ll admit: we’ve made one or two appeals to emotion. In our craft, jingles and prodding anger come naturally. But our next concept is driven by data. Zeroes, ones, all the rest.
I’ve isolated the most persuasive modern archetype. The face our audience will follow into the final election.
What unites crime reporting, high fashion, Chili’s staffing, pop music, and adult entertainment? Blondes. The single white female is the basic unit of American attention. This includes politics, where birth rates motivate our most influential shooters and justices.
Next, think of the children. Or rather, how often we claim to think of them. The words “child safety” annihilate everything preceding them. They trample statistics, theory, and perspective into dust. Any force that can keep school resource officers employed is strong enough for our purpose.
Ergo, the most persuasive possible mascot is an endangered blonde child.
I have numbers for all that. I’ll send them later. For now, consider this slide.
That’s not a stock photo. Meet Mary Waller from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her parents have generously volunteered her services — working with us fulfills her junior Social Studies credit. Along with AP Biology, thanks to her co-star.
This is the shortfin mako, a Shark Week favorite and death vortex. The danger posed by most marine life is exaggerated, because they aren’t shortfins. Makos do all the motivated, high-speed murder depicted by Hollywood. I call this one Wanda.
Mary is currently suspended over Wanda’s tank.
The campaign’s simple. If we receive two million photos with “I Voted” stickers, Mary walks. If we don’t, Wanda eats. Meta’s leaking users, so it’ll be close.
It’s not just Vote or Die. It’s Vote or She Dies. Appeals to replacement theory are fun, but abstract. Mary puts a face on the future our base wants to preserve with an iron fist. And Wanda’s hungry.
That said, we’re keeping it humane. We’ve only starved Wanda for a week, and we’ve let Mary keep her phone. If you approve the campaign, we’ll give her Wi-Fi. Then her pleas to live can attract organic engagement, the holy grail of metrics.
We haven’t even launched yet, and our target audience has latched onto Mary’s disappearance. Google’s top three trending searches are “My Mary’s Missing,” “Why, Obama?” and “Black Friday Deals 2022.” And yes, Black Friday’s last.
MICHAEL: This one is so real it could be a documentary, but unfortunately the Project Veritas people are in legal hot water at the moment. So, we see this one as animated.
We’re looking at a gas station. The pumps have been defaced with graffiti. It’s all leftist eco-propaganda: “Save the planet,” “Climate change is real,” “End fossil fuels now!”
At one of the pumps there’s a Ford F-150. This is a true patriot’s truck. Confederate flag painted on the hood. Blue Lives Matter mud flaps. A bumper sticker that reads: “Let’s Go Brandon.”
A man exits the truck. We’ll call him Patriot. He’s a real American: cowboy boots, distressed American flag t-shirt, skin as white as Klansmen’s robes. Patriot walks over to the pump.
Patriot: “Fifty-eight dollars a gallon!? Thanks for the inflation, Joe Biden.”
At the mention of “Biden,” storm clouds darken the sky. The wind howls. Patriot looks toward the gas station's convenience store. He has a bad feeling in his gut. Something ominous is about to happen.
Suddenly, a bolt of blue lightning touches down, then a second later we hear a huge thunderclap, then coughing. Patriot is coughing. There’s blue smoke everywhere. Then out of the smoke comes…
Patriot: “Sweet mother of Q. It’s Dark Brandon.”
Joe Biden walks toward Patriot’s truck.
Patriot: “Stay away from my truck, Dark Brandon!”
Joe Biden brushes past Patriot, removes the hose from the pump, and plugs it into the truck. Something is different about this gas station. It’s all wrong. Blue waves of electricity, just like the blue lightning that signaled Joe Biden’s arrival, crisscross around the truck’s body. The Confederate flag on the hood turns into an American flag. The Blue Lives Matter mud flaps turn into Black Lives Matter mud flaps. The bumper sticker now reads: “Stop climate change now, ask me how.”
Patriot: “What the what…”
Joe Biden: “It’s electric.”
The storm clouds part. The sun comes out. Birds begin to chirp.
Joe Biden: “Solar, and it’s free.”
Patriot: “Communism! Or… socialism! Or… Marxism!? It’s bad!”
Joe Biden: “It’s good for the environment.”
Patriot screams. It’s primal. And loud. Really loud. As Patriot’s scream gets louder, we see a crooked smile creep across Joe Biden’s face.
Joe Biden [whispering]: “Benefits everybody, hurts nobody.”
Suddenly, Patriot’s head explodes. Literally. Blood, brains, and pieces of skull fall like rain around Joe Biden.
Narrator: “Don’t let Dark Brandon and the Democrats give you their socialist electro-shock therapy. Vote or die!”
We’ll target this one at truck and SUV owners, but research shows we’ll see a strong crossover appeal with commuter audiences, regardless of vehicle preference. We have an animation studio out of China that’s ready to make this happen.
DENNARD: Don’t say it. I can see it in your eyes: you’re not satisfied. You think we won’t die for Vote or Die.
AMRAN: You’ve obviously done your research. Libs of TikTok fan? Child’s play. There’s no depth we can’t — or won’t — plumb.
MICHAEL: To prepare for this pitch, I wanted to be certain there wasn’t a hidden leftist agenda lurking inside me, so I had Doctor Oz remove my left kidney, left lung, and left testicle. I’m all right.
DENNARD: See? Our creatives give everything. Heart, soul, and pride. Nothing’s off the table, no matter what our families say. I haven’t seen mine in weeks, and they’ve probably left.
Don’t worry. You haven’t seen our best yet.
MICHAEL: This one targets QAnon supporters. According to our research team, there are a shit-ton of QAnon people out there, including the three of us. At Virtuosity, we’re all a little cuckoo-for-Q.
We open on a view of Earth from outer space. Everything looks tranquil, until a satellite comes into frame.
We push in on the satellite. There’s a giant Star of David on the satellite.
Suddenly, the satellite fires a bright blue laser at Earth.
We cut to a Hobby Lobby in Ohio. The parking lot is full of real American families. Red MAGA hats, Trump bumper stickers on pickup trucks, QAnon t-shirts, Gadsden and Confederate flags. It’s a peaceful scene…
Until the blue laser beam scores a direct hit on the Hobby Lobby.
Blue flames consume everything in sight.
As everything burns, we hear screams of dying patriots.
“Trust the plan.”
“We are the storm.”
“Where we go one, we go all.”
The next day, there’s nothing left, except for scorched rubble and charred patriot bodies. A layer of blue smoke clings to the ground.
We focus on a pair of black leather boots walking through the rubble. The boots belong to a woman. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this woman is a CrossFit version of Eva Braun. She is Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Marjorie Taylor Greene kneels down beside a little girl. The girl is gasping for air. Any second now, she’ll take her last breath.
Little Girl: “Wha.. what… happen…”
The girl wheezes, tries to sit up, then dies.
Tenderly, Marjorie Taylor Greene closes the little girl’s eyes for the last time. Then she answers the girl’s final question.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Jewish space lasers.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene looks directly at the camera to address the viewers. Her tone is stern.
“Jewish space lasers murdered these patriots. It’s too late for them, but it’s not too late to save America. Vote or die.”
AMRAN: We admire your headspace. You’re thinking clearly. You want something edgy, not avant-garde. Powerful, yet refined. More Predator, less Commando.
Here we tap the inimitable essence of cinema.
Your target voter’s in Schenectady, New York. He’s watching the Bills versus the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. It’s halftime. Here’s the first commercial he sees.
An All-American family of four — mom, dad and two girls — are gathered on the couch for movie night. They’re all smiles and laughs but you can’t hear them — the only audio’s a menacing violin chord. Their photogenic faces are illuminated by the large TV in an otherwise pitch black living room. The dad’s pointing the controller at the screen. The mom’s looking admiringly at him. The girls are giggling and sharing popcorn, doe-eyed and pure.
The camera pans over their shoulders, toward the sliding glass door in the background. It zooms into the backyard. A group of Black and Mexican ninjas are scaling the wall. The Black ones have Wu-Tang Ws emblazoned across their chests and untamed afros and dreadlocks popping out of their hoods. The Mexican ninjas carry machetes and wear Lucha Underground-inspired balaclavas and oversized sombreros.
Then, as they approach the door we overlay a semi-transparent image of George Soros — Vincent D’Onofrio basically reprising his role as Marvel’s Kingpin, only this time with a yarmulke — on the screen. Voice-over provided by Clint Eastwood kicks in:
“These are dangerous times.
“Soros-backed Democ-RATS are Defunding the Police. They’re releasing violent animals from prisons. They’re opening our borders to dope-crazed savages, gangs of rapists, and radical guerilla Marxists.
“And they’re coming for you, because your family dared to live the American Dream.”
Kingpin Soros fades away, the camera floats up, out of the house and toward the sky, centering on the full moon. As it slowly fills with blood we hear the sliding glass door shatter. There’s audible indications of a struggle, then screams and lustful grunting.
When the moon’s almost entirely blood-soaked Clint Eastwood says:
“Democ-RATS won’t protect what matters most. The choice is clear: Vote, or be cuckolded and die.”
David Fincher’s already agreed to direct.
DENNARD: How confident am I that you’ll love my crown jewel? I’ve already produced it. I paid the actors, editors, and lawyers out of pocket. If you don’t love it, I’ll spend the rest of my life chained to debt.
No pressure. Take a look.
EXT. IDYLLIC SUBURB — AFTERNOON
The colonial home few own, but many imagine. The grass is a little overgrown, and starting to jut through cracks in the driveway. Neighbors give it a wide berth.
INT. SUBURBAN KITCHEN — CONTINUOUS
An ANACHRONISTIC HOUSEWIFE lies on the kitchen floor in fetal position. She’s unharmed: the pain is mental. A pair of expensive shoes step over her mumbling form.
A semi-notable performer and very notable SCIENTOLOGIST takes a chair. He sits backwards, a la Stand and Deliver. He’s ready to teach the people.
Once, we asked you to Vote or Die.
That was a mistake. We didn’t know how hard life would become.
Confinement. Disrespect. Replacement. Every day, your vision of tomorrow declines. The joy of watching your children grow shrivels before dread for the world they’ll inherit.
That’s assuming there’s a world, and your children survive to inherit it. You’ve entered uncertainty, a state more painful than most outcomes. Some would give anything to escape it.
The brave escape into a cause, or delusion, or both. But you’re not brave. That’s why you take orders on when and where to lash out. You’re dust in a massive world. A world set against you and your people from the beginning, for sins committed before your lifetime. What you need is an exit.
Many of you want to die. And we’ll only let you after you vote.
We have surgeons. Nutritionists. Experts on cutting-edge biotechnology, bordering on the posthuman. Everything we need to keep you alive for a long, long time.
And we will, unless you fulfill your civic duty.
The world’s come a long way from the iron lung. With today’s medicine, cancer only dooms quality of life. We can preserve the human, long after the humanity is gone. Because while not every life matters, every vote does.
Remember who did this to you. Why not pay them back before you go?
Make your remaining life mean something. Get out there, push the cart of empire forward, and then lie down. We’ll have what we need from you.
Vote and Die. Be free.
DENNARD: What do you want? You’re picky for a dead man’s sidekick. This is where the country’s going. You can get on board, or get run over. Don’t give me any shit about creative integrity. Your last album sucked, just like the rest. You rap like a judge ordered it.
Oh, you liked that one? Excellent.
MICHAEL: Finally, a client who gets it!
AMRAN: A wise choice. Executing your vision makes selling out totally worth it. The money’s not half bad either.
DENNARD: You’ve been an absolute pleasure to work with. Now I’m certain you never put a hit out on anyone. And if you did, they deserved it. Shots?