Pumpkin-ganda: YES WE CARVE

This video is simultaneously the most stupid and most awesome thing I have ever seen. "Yes We Carve: Pumpkins for Barack Obama", on YouTube, and here is the project website. (Thanks, Dana!)


  1. wow that is pretty clever. All we need now is a Palin pumpkin or a Mccain one. I plan to carve a diamond jack-o-lantern in the shape of the diamond ring my hubby bought me from http://www.idonowidont.com since we are getting married on halloween!

  2. Xeni:

    Please expand why you feel this is both “retarded” and “most awesome”?

    To me this is another example of viral campaigning that the Obama campaign has perfected.

    The Sarah Silverman “The Great Schlep” clip went from a joke to an organized campaign to over 500 Obama supporters actually visiting Floridian seniors, and convincing them that the RNC supported DVD/pamphlet/phone call they got was BS in about a week.

    Is this not just a more fun manifestation of the same thing?

    1. To me this is another example of viral campaigning that the Obama campaign has perfected.

      Your cynicism is chilling.

  3. Add my query to David Carroll’s above: Why “retarded”, Xeni?

    Charming, simple, hands-on, amusing, and after the election the pumpkins — unlike most political signs — can be put into the compost pile.

    That sounds more like “genius” to me.

  4. Personality cults are scary.

    Even so, there’s no denying that my Kim Jong-Il pumpkin carving is the coolest!

  5. I noticed this a few days ago on the Art of Obama. They also mentioned that the AP had a bunch of stencils to download for jack-o-bama lanterns.

    Cool stuff from a political-marketing perspective.

  6. Oooh, awesome now comes in pumpkin flavur!

    Gourd of Hope +5

    *sniff* Woah, yah, I definitely smell Eau du Marketing, but I’m already sold on the product, so I kinda dig the muskiness.

    At least it cuts through the other odors I usually get from BB on my Smell-O-Web: occasional bitter wafts of Derision, the jalapeno-esque bite of Debate, and (my favorite) the delicate scent of Sarcasm(tm).

    Oh, and Awesome usually smells like pizza, but sometimes other pies too. Thankfully there’s lots of that. =)

  7. Very creative and cool. I like how it was all positive. There were no angry McCain or Palin pumpkins shown. A nice note to strike in a campaign in this day and age: Refreshingly unique.

    ZUZU: Let’s see it. I’m sure it’s scary.

  8. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for this stuff, but this made me want to cry. Somehow all those people carving pumpkins is better than 150 million dollars.

  9. Wow! Thank you! I have a pumpkin sitting on my front porch that was just calling for inspiration. Now I know what to do with it.

  10. So ?
    Voting Obama will give one great carving skills, on pumpkin, and perfect theeth ? Can I become a cute 5 y/o too ? I’ve never been one…


  11. I dont see it as a “personality cult” anymore than those who wear football/baseball/soccer jerseys of their favorite player.

  12. Wait, which one is it today? Is it a personality cult, or viral marketing? Are they still fake Americans? I didn’t get the memo.

  13. How about neither, its just people doing something creative to support their candidate of choice?

    Kinda spiffy.

  14. @TALIA

    Hopefully they are, they wouldn’t throw little know actors in the mix now, would they ?

    Yet, this is also orchestrated, tuned, refined, skillful propaganda. Why not see that too ?

    Politicians, IMHO, have to be watched more closely than an escaped murderer, since none of them was able to do the job of president without killing at least a few thousands, sometimes quite a few millions… among other feats.


  15. I think the pumpkins are awesome, and that it’s great that people are expressing their political enthusiasm in a positive manner.

    However, I do have to register a small amount of dismay that Xeni used ‘retarded’ in this context, as that would be considered disrespectful towards the disabled. ‘Silly’ would have been a better adjective.

  16. Silly and retarded in the slang sense are not the same thing.

    retarded as slang means something along the lines of incredibly stupid.

  17. Why does it feel “retarded”?

    The feeling is one of vulnerability. It’s related to cultish feelings because cults exploit our vulnerabilities, specifically one’s attachment to the parent object, and betray them. Hope can be a fragile thing. The extremists on the right we now know are fear based authoritarians. They are afraid that once again their trust will be betrayed, they’re afraid to hope. Emotional abuse is how you create an authoritarian.

    There was an experiment where genetically nervous rats were raised by calm mothers. Even though they were genetically prone to be nervous, when raised by calm mothers they grew to become calm adults. They even passed this on to their offspring even while retaining their genetic predisposition to nervousness. We need more calm rats.

  18. hi Lea #26,

    The choice of words doesn’t matter to me as much as the possibility that the use of a particular word might cause offense or harm. I’ve changed it.

  19. #24 Talia
    this ‘slang’ justification is the same as that used for kids saying :”That jumper is so gay” for something that they find objectionable (rather than seeing it as an actual homosexual or jolly jumper).

    Of course ‘retarded’ is in common usage as pejorative slang indicating silly/stupid, just as ‘gay’ is common slang in some corners for ‘silly/stupid’. Does that make them right?

    I would say it’s better to avoid usages of words which ascribe negative meanings to large sections of society.

    Or shall we start describing all ‘silly/stupid’ things as ‘American’ . Would that be OK? I think not.

  20. I’m so sick of hearing how excitement and enthusiasm is “cultish” and “creepy” and “scary” and “zealotry.” I guess we can’t all be as cool and detached and cynical and superior as you. I know it’s very cool to say that both sides are the same and politics is stupid, but guess what, politics has real effects on the lives of real people, effects that really are different between the Republicans and the Democrats.

    And also guess what, the utopian (green, socialist, feminist, whatever) revolution is not going to happen. We’re not going to remake the world this week. Dude, I wish it would happen too, but it’s not. It’s step by step, it’s slow, it seems like nothing is happening and no one will admit they were wrong, but then you wake up and you realize it’s been happening all along.

    So sue me for caring about real-life politics, and actually being excited about someone who is intelligent, eloquent, and appears to give a shit. Is Obama perfect? Hell no. He’s disappointed me in the past on some stuff; I fully expect him to disappoint me in the future on some stuff too. Is he still awesome? Hell yes.

  21. My 4-year old stepson just got last week to carve his first pumpkin with me, and he put stickers on a small pumpkin to make a face all by hisself. I think I will grab some more pumpkins tonight and do some more carving.

    Obama by a landslide.

  22. I think I’m missing all the hubbub, bub. BB regularly features advertising (packaging, print ads, etc.) as “cool stuff.” No one gets uppity about that. Disneyana appears on BB all the time, and I never see any comments like, “Where’s the Warner Brothers stuff?”

    So what if this is viral marketing? It’s a campaign, not an administration. Advertising campaign, political campaign — it’s the same thing. Observe with grain of salt, but enjoy.

    Honestly, if McCain supporters (or Libertarians or Constitutionalists or Green Party or whatever) were putting together cool videos of the Black-Eyed Peas carving pumpkins, I’d watch those too. Moose slaughter… not so much for me.

  23. Thanks, Xeni. There are times when you know somebody doesn’t mean a loaded phrase “that way” and you should say something, especially in a public place where you know it could be hurtful to others.

  24. I wasn’t justifying the term, by the way. I was just saying the definition of the slang term was different from “silly.”

  25. I don’t see the chilling cynicism in my post that you do.

    Your suggestion that it’s a viral marketing campaign makes it sound impossible for there to be a mass movement that isn’t manipulated by paid marketers. I find that quite cynical.

  26. there’s no denying that my Kim Jong-Il pumpkin carving is the coolest!

    Did you even have to carve it? A plain pumpkin in designer sunglasses would convey his essence quite effectively.

  27. Antinous #41

    OK. I understand your point. I do believe in “grass roots” mass movements. And I have no reason to believe that this Yes We Carve campaign may have started out that way.

    But given the outstanding production values of that video and the accompanying website, I find it hard to believe that there is not a significant amount of cash / professional expertise behind this now.

    That being said, I just checked the “about” page on the website and:

    Who is behind YesWeCarve.com?
    Josh and Bethany Horton (Memphis, TN), Jason Powers (New York, NY), and Josh Jeter (Chicago, IL). The four met in Seattle, WA.

    Are you part of the Obama campaign?

    I will obviously accept the word of these four individuals and retract my suggestion that they got a little help.

    Apparently this is a manifestation of the power of Web 2.0 combined with talented volunteers who are genuinely jazzed about Obama.

  28. I hope that when all the little kids that come get candy from those houses with the Obama pumpkins are so influenced by the pumpkin carvings that they wake up–make their voices heard on nickelodeon.com, and really make a difference in this election.

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