Wow. At first I simply noted to myself that, in this attempt to parody multiple American clichés, on a meta level Christoph Waltz is doing a real-time self-parody of the actor who’s become a multi-millionaire and, money never being enough, uses his talent to sell some culture infecting piece of crap and the toxic behavior that goes along with it for a sum of money he for a long time now doesn’t need in the least: The Sellout.
Sticking around for the whole ad, however, it’s hard to imagine a more offensive premise than the one threading its way through this body waste. Given we’re talking about advertising, that’s saying a lot.
Relevant here is that Waltz is depicting himself throughout all the costume changes. Whenever he appears in some garb, it’s to make a point in answer to his previously posed question, “What has that tireless ambition ever got you, America?”
The few bits that stick out most are when, dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier, the actor remarks, “You built your own country from nothing.” Given the erudite Austrian actor’s, in all likelihood, knowledge of historical genocide, it is hard to imagine that the fate of the Native American did not at least briefly come to mind before he heard the word “Cut!” and moved on to the next scene. And it didn’t strike me that he was referring to slaves and their awe inspiring co-production work.
When he reacts to his own assertion that “Yes, you’re responsible for modern democracy,” not with a roll of the eyes but an ostensibly earnest concession, “Well, that’s kind of a big one,” it forgoes the opportunity to be a parody of the American who actually believes his own bullshit and moves into the realm of Christoph Waltz’ actually believing himself that, “Sure, you’re the greatest, most influential nation in the world… where dreams come true.”
Influential dreams or infectious nightmares, the satire of the sellout, whose self-destruction is only preceded by its would-be destruction of everyone else. Embodying phony values flowing forever outward towards stores some people have no choice but to get lost in.
Being a theater guy, Waltz is probably aware of Harold Pinter. Here he gives the best Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that I’m aware of, and it was for the prize for literature, not peace. It is germane to the above, laying waste to the advertised bullet points. Would that more people were receptive to these truths – or that they were greater worthy of self-evident status. Unfortunately the images of advertising rule the realness of the lies they tell. Even when we don’t believe what’s being told.