Walt Whitman...for Levi's Jeans

I wonder what Walt Whitman would think of his poetry being used as the script for two new Levi's Jeans commercials for their new "Go Forth" campaign. The one above uses the audio that's been floating around for awhile claiming to be Whitman reading four lines of "America" on a wax cylinder. The one below uses Whitman's "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" read by voiceover artist Will Greer. The commercials are slick and beautifully filmed, but it's so bizarre to hear Whitman hawking jeans. Of course, nothing slips by the Christian right wing crazies who are calling for a boycott of Levi's over these commercials, which they claim are "indoctrinating" (that's the right wing word du jour) kids into fascism, homosexuality and anarchy. Think I'm joking? Read some of the comments from Free Republic. And, of course, the commenters characterize Whitman as a creepy, perverted faggot. Maybe Uncle Walt wouldn't mind after all.


christine said…
I love the videos, and the poetry. That they're using Whitman to hawk their wares bugs me. But I think Whitman would love that his words were being broadcast to the multitudes. Video poems and illustrated poetry collections are the way to seduce the younger generation into embracing poetry. If the right-wingers are afraid, it's because the poetry is so powerful, especially when it's mixed with the images of beautiful youths running wild and free. Let them rant. There's no stopping what comes naturally, what's born out of love.

Thanks for sharing these videos!

ps Sorry I missed you guys last night. :-(
Anonymous said…
Whitman is certainly meant to be read aloud!

The ad campaign is perfectly tuned for controversy - the Left will complain about commercializing Whitman (and perhaps the mention of guns in "Oh Pioneers"), and the Right will grumble about "gay themes".

I'm just waiting for someone to complain about the fact that all the actors in the ad spots are thin.

Veddy nice!

Popular Posts