What Did Clint and Chrysler Mean by 'Half Time in America'?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

On Superbowl Sunday, Clint Eastwood appeared in a two-minute ad that has been dubbed "Half Time in America." Sponsored by the Chrysler car company, it shows a Detroit that escaped the jaws of defeat to become a model for American recovery. Eastwood's narration goes on to suggest that America is in similarly dire straits: “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is gonna hear the roar of our engines. It’s half time America, and our second half is about to begin.”

To hear more about our nation’s metaphorical match is James Warren, Chicago columnist for our partner The New York Times, Chicago news cooperative, and is a correspondent for The Atlantic.

 

Guests:

James Warren

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [10]

Norman from NY

Take these three items, some WD-40, a vice grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone.

Jun. 09 2012 10:30 AM
Jim in Jersey from New Jersey

I listened to John Hockenberry's commentary this morning (Wednesday, Feb.8th)regarding the much discussed "Halftime in America" TV ad and believe I heard words to the effect that 'lots of groups didn't get the message that you don't mess around with America like The Vietnamese and terrorist organizations'. I am paraphrasing here from memory and would love clarification as I do believe we were messed with by terrorist organizations (of course most recently and famously by Al Queda) but wasn't it the other way around regarding the Vietnamese? I defer to John's knowledge of history and listened to the commentary again later in the broadcast and am pretty sure that I heard this accurately but don't think it is an accurate statement. A clarification would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Feb. 08 2012 10:32 PM
George Lucas from Oakland Park Florida

John Hockenbery asks "is this type of rhetoric appropriate". By his choice of words we obviously know where he stands and where he is leading on this question. Please try to sound unbiased once in a while, or just move to Fox News or MSNBC.

The "halftime turnaround" phrase is certainly appropriate for the millions who have lost their jobs and homes and have been fortunate to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This holds especially true for the automotive industry which has come back from the dead and risen above many of it's foreign competitors. It's a super appropiate comment. Get over it John.

Feb. 08 2012 03:03 PM
Charles

When did James Warren become a car critic? So Chrysler is a line of cars that he 'doesn't particularly care for'?

If I were looking for intelligent and informed automotive news and criticism, I'd buy a copy of "Car and Driver" or "Road & Track"; NOT "The Atlantic."

Feb. 08 2012 11:00 AM
carl, queens, n.y.

we are way past halftime... the only play that is going to keep us in the game is a ''hail mary'' pass that only one player is capable of catching... if he makes the play, it will just tie the game sending it into overtime, and that players name is INFLATION... right this minute, ben bernanke is down the cellar cranking out $100.00 bills... also keeping interest rates near zero...

Feb. 08 2012 10:18 AM
Mary Panzer from New York, NY

EXCELLENT CONTRIBUTION FROM JAMES WARREN -- SO GOOD TO HEAR COMMENT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY -- ILLINOIS, INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY -- PLUS AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, LOOKING BACK TO REAGAN, AND TO A BRILLIANT MEDIA CAMPAIGN, MEDIA SLOGAN -- AND A MORE SUBTLE APPROACH THAN HOCKENBERRY'S ORDINARY Either/OR style of analysis

LET'S HEAR MORE FROM WARREN!

Feb. 08 2012 09:39 AM
Jim from Queens, NY

Halftime is a time to regroup, understand what is working and what is not. Americans typically hate to pause and reflect. We are clearly in competition with other countries for jobs, innovations and the ability to produce things that the world needs and wants. It is great metaphor for our country at this time.

Feb. 08 2012 09:01 AM
Jack Brondum from Minneapolis

Oddly cryptic. A car ad forecasting the renewed roar of Detroit-made engines - and by implication the American economy (read America) - but omitting the fact that publicly subsidized gas fuels those engines. "Half-time in America" or propaganda for half-wits? And we think Russia has serious problems with nationalism.

Feb. 08 2012 08:58 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Is it "halftime" asks "what is the real game" we're playing here?

Maybe we're in a pause, of cultural interest in what's happening to the real world, as we steadily push all the environments and resources of the earth to the point of caving in under our feet. NO ONE in the press or politics discusses it.

Is this "halftime" then, as a period of diversion from what actually matters to our futures? Do we now shake off those misguided ideas that entertainment and ever multiplying money is all that matters! Or is this what the science really describes it, a "halftime" in our seriously getting back to destroying the earth?

Feb. 08 2012 07:49 AM
Greg Marchand from MA

No - it's not halftime in America! This isn't a game to be won....it's life. As the owner of an automotive industry related small business started during the depths of the recession, and as a homeowner facing foreclosure, I work hard everyday to preserve the American dream. Yesterday's decisions got us here...and today's decisions will create our future. Halftime in America is a terrible analogy.

Feb. 08 2012 07:02 AM

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