Bernie’s Morning in Amerika (Updated)

Everyone is abuzz about Bernie Sanders’s new one-minute ad set to the old Simon & Garfunkel tune “America,” which is very effective on the emotional level. Fitting music for Hillary would have to be supplied by Nine Inch Nails. Running across a blackboard.

It reminds of nothing so much as Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” spots from 1984, which liberals detested remember. (“It’s closer to midnight,” Richard Gephardt said, after more than a year of 7 percent real GDP growth.)

As a number of folks have suggested, the Sanders ad might be more fitting if set to Russian music, as seen in this adaptation on Vimeo. Heh.

But I have a couple of questions about this spot. Did Sanders buy the rights to the Simon & Garfunkel tune? How much did the rights cost? I know a documentary filmmaker who was once quoted a rights fee of $250,000 to use a Pink Floyd song (the filmmaker declined), and I know the producers of Mad Men had to shell out a figure something like that to get the rights to a few bars of a Beatles song for one of their episodes.

More interesting would be if it turns out Simon & Garfunkel simply gave Sanders permission to use the song for free. Wouldn’t that be an in-kind contribution of the sort people like Sanders would want to regulate through campaign finance reform? Or would there be exemptions for musical artists and Hollywood celebrities?

UPDATE: Or, you can go with my re-scoring of the spot, with a different arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel. I think you’ll agree it doesn’t work quite as well (but at least it’s by a progressive—and foreign!—rock band, so it fits metaphysically better):


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