How To: Make America strong again

Perhaps you've seen Rick Perry's homophobic pean to the establishment of religion. It's the most hated video on YouTube right now. Naturally, there are parodies.

First: You don't have to sleep in every Sunday to know there's something wrong with this country.

Next: Finally, someone who will fight for the rights of dinosaurs.

My name is Maggie Koerth-Baker, and I approve the posting of other fabulous Rick Parodies in the comments section. EDIT: Cory already found a great one!

Thanks to Christopher Baker!

Video Links:

Atheist parody

Dinosaur parody


  1. I’m Rick Perry, and I want to know: Why can’t we have a state religion? England has a state religion. If we had a state religion, we could be as religious as England. If I become president, I pledge to found the Church of America. The Church of America would welcome all Christians, be they Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, or Mormons, to vote on its articles of faith. The articles of faith will change every four years; winner takes all. Join me in realizing my vision of a politically religious America. I’m Rick Perry, and I approve this message.

  2. Admittedly juvenile, but I have to say, ” Scatological humor– ur doin it right.” My husband was crying he was laughing so hard. I chuckled, and thought the message was pretty similar to Perry’s original.

  3. The problem is that neither of them is as completely insane as the original, either in terms of scripting (a putatively serious candidate for President is paying actual money so people can see him denouncing “Obama’s War On Religion”? Really?) nor in terms of cinematography, about which a few notes:
    1) In the original, Rick Perry is not centered in the frame. I’m sure this is deliberate, and is intended to convey something – but it attracts attention to the rest of the shot, rather than to him.
    2) The scenery behind Perry is extremely out of focus, much more so than in the parodies. This is apparently done to de-emphasize the scenery and attract attention to the narrator, but they’ve gone too far; the scenery winds up being distractingly abstract.
    3) Rick Perry is placed at the edge of a slope, where it meets a river. The slope is steep, giving the impression that the whole shot is tilted and Perry is about to tumble into the river. One parody also used a sloped background, but without the disconnect between one side of the narrator and the other, and without the river, the effect is not as vertiginous. The parody also included tree trunks parallel to its narrator, while in the Perry spot no similar cues gave the impression Perry was standing upright.
    4) The grassy shape to the left of Perry is at a downward angle from left to right, resembling a graph of his poll numbers, especially noticeable because it’s indistinct and the most brightly colored object in shot.

    1. I wonder if the grassy hill is a literal representation of a “slippery slope.” He’s trying to get the vote from hardcore paranoids who believe the United States is on the verge of collapse due to decadence and immorality.

    2. OK, you got me to watch the original (I’d just read a transcript) ;) I added a dislike, anyway.

      Your cinematography analysis is interesting, but I’m going to have to say that you’re probably reading too much into it. I think the more likely case is that the cameraman is a still photographer (not a cinematographer), and a fairly novice one.

      He’s not centered in the frame because in still photography, you’re told not to center the subject in the frame (without good reason). This “rule” means most novices avoid centering the subject at all costs, even if it’s the best choice (to be fair, it’s best to err toward not centering until you develop a sense of when you should break this rule or not).

      The background is out of focus largely due to a soft-focus vignetting effect added in post. This was probably done because they didn’t have a good enough lens to get a nice-looking out of focus background and they decided it was too distracting. This, of course, made it look even worse.

      Your third and fourth points are simply due to poor planning and inexperience.

      I think you’re giving them too much credit by thinking there’s anything to read into here :)

      1. In videography you’re actually supposed to avoid centering the subject in certain situation as well.  Not necessarily in the sort of video. But yeah clearly mature hour, which I believe is the OP’s point. The mistakes made undermine the purpose of the video. Which is par for the course with these guys so I’m not sure it needs to be analysed.

    3. One subconscious signal I spotted there; maybe intentional, maybe not. Notice the tree branches behind The Subject’s head; they look like a tilted cross behind him, like if he carries one over his back, associating him with an image of Jesus walking uphill.

      At the beginning of the shot it looks like just tree branches behind him. But after couple seconds, when the viewer’s brain gets bored with the blurry background and starts looking for something it could focus at in the vicinity of the focused subject, this pops out.

      Is it only me who sees this?

  4. Not sure why, but Perry’s “strong” made me think of Shriekback’s Nemesis:

    “Sometimes we wobble, sometimes we’re strong

    But you know evil is an exact science

    Being carefully correctly wrong”

  5. I like Rick Perry. He doesn’t seem like those other Republicans and Christian conservatives. He’s not going to get caught in a bathroom tapping his shoes, or with a twinky masseuse, or a luggage lifter. I bet he’s never seen a penis. Not even his. So yeah, I like Rick Perry. A lot. Because I like a challenge, you know? I mean. Larry Craig? Too easy. All it took was an e-mail with a time, a place, and a photo. Pastor Rekers? Even easier. And McGreevey…well, never mind, he was a Democrat, but I was bored.

    Anyway, Rick? Rick, darling? I’m coming for you, baby. By the time I’m done with you you’ll be the guy getting pulled along in the mobile sling by the power fister contingent at the Folsom Street Fair. They’ll be finding pieces of your closet door from Austin to Wasilla.

    It’ll be glorious.

  6. I like this comment from the farting one:

    “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Nord. But you don’t need to be a Stormcloak to know there’s something wrong in Skyrim when Elves can live amongst the civilised, but our kids can’t openly worship Talos. As the Dragonborn, I will end Thalmor’s war on humankind and fight the Elven attacks on our freedom. Talos made us strong once, he can make us strong again.”

    1. Now that right there is what I call a Subconscious Signalling Event.* It’s a deep one, though: you know he didn’t see the movie, so that Event was strictly derived from cultural backscatter: billboards, clips, etc. And Rick Perry’s Inner Fabulous said, “I wants that jacket!” Because it knew it needed it in order to show those who would see. But that’s a deep process, it’s subtle…not like being unaccountably fond of Lerner and Lowe or something. Larry had his fondness for public restrooms, the good Pastor enjoyed his rentboys…but Rick? Rick’s got a jacket.

      So yeah, it’ll take some work.

      I’m up to it.

      *Alternately: someone on Perry’s wardrobe and makeup crew really knows what they’re doing.

      1. Yeah the jacket=gay thing seems like a stretch to me.

        What Rick Perry and Heath Ledger really had in common is they were both pretending to be cowboys.

Comments are closed.