The videos on this page were originally made for Twitter posts. Many are experimental attempts to utilize advertising techniques and popular culture to convey progressive ideas.

Some are fragments of TV commercials that I transformed by replacing the original meaning with a counter-message, a technique the Situationists called détournement.

Others are experiments in promoting progressive ideas by emulating the emotional appeals advertisers use to exploit our deepest desires and convince us to buy their products.

Also, enjoy a couple videos featuring the comedic stylings of Donald Trump (we’re not laughing with you, Don, we’re laughing at you).

Gen Z – Longing for Belonging

I’ve transformed this US Marine Corps recruiting commercial to suggest there are more constructive ways to find purpose and acceptance than joining the military.

This video is an experiment in détournement, the Situationist technique of hijacking a cultural work (or an ad) by negating its original meaning and inserting a new message.

The original commercial tries to exploit the loneliness, anxiety and lack of purpose young people experience living in today’s shallow, online world.

But joining the military is just one way—and maybe not a good way—to build a better world together. Social activism, and participation in your country’s political system, is another path to finding the meaning, fulfillment and camaraderie that the Marine Corps claims to provide.

I’m sure the Marines spent a lot of money on polling and focus groups to determine how to influence Gen Z’ers by addressing their feelings of alienation. There’s no reason progressives can’t use those same insights to craft messages that will reach kids where they live.

Click the paper airplane button in the upper right corner of the video to share this with your followers on social media.

Does Mazda make you feel alive?

The smart, creative people that make commercials know how to tap into our most intimate desires (and fears) to sell us stuff. They want to convince us the emotional void we feel in our lives can be filled with shiny new products. Under capitalism, phony consumerism substitutes for authentic, meaningful experience.

Can driving a new car be exhilarating? For sure. But that excitement is transitory, shallow and devoid of meaning.

Real fulfillment comes from rejecting the individualism of consumer culture and participating in a community of like-minded souls. When we join with others in striving to build a better world, we enrich our lives, experiencing power and purpose.

This video is an experiment in détournement, the Situationist technique of hijacking a cultural work by negating its original meaning and inserting a new message.

It is also partially inspired by Stephen Duncombe’s book Dream. Duncombe contends that progressives need to lessen their reliance on rational policy arguments and learn to persuade by touching people’s hearts and emotions.

And who is better at emotional persuasion than advertisers, who spend millions on polling and focus groups to reveal our deepest dreams and desires? Embedded within TV commercials are the keys to what move and motivate people, and Duncombe thinks those same techniques can be appropriated by progressives and transformed into tools for social change.

If the promise of “Feeling Alive” works for selling cars, could it also help convince people to seek fulfillment by becoming more active in the democratic process?

Click the paper airplane button to share this video with your followers on social media.

Trump the Comedian

Everyone knows Trump is our funniest president since Richard Nixon. In November 2019, at a press conference with Erdogan of Turkey, he had the media in stitches as he trotted out some old jokes.

The Trump Comedy Show

These comedic clips from some of Trump’s rallies confirm he is definitely one goofy-ass president.

Sure, Trump is known for his lying, bullying, corruption, narcissism, name-calling, intimidation, obnoxiousness, hypocrisy, vindictiveness, arrogance, rudeness, insults and megalomania. But he is also quite the clown.

“Bunny Hop” by Quincas Moreira

Sound effects:
Orange Free Sounds

More videos to come…

Creative Commons License
Videos on this page by James L. VanHise licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Attribution: James L. VanHise –

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