Pioneers! O, Pioneers! oh, “Pioneers”
Here we see the parastical nature of evil. Evil must not just appropriate the material values which it’s victims produce, but also it’s spiritual achievements as well. It does this by distorting their subject matters, perverting their meanings, and cutting off the result from the achievement’s original intent.
The dialogue in this piece is a heavily attenuated, slightly edited, poem by Walt Whitman entitled, unsurprisingly, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” Originally published in 1865 at the height of Manifest Destiny, it was meant to inspire moral confidence in those youths of Western Culture. To spur them on, beyond the devestation and disllusionment of the Civil War, and to continue their achievement of conquering nature and building a nation.
The best that could be said of this commercial is that it is a eulogy to that long dead spirit, but because it is selling blue jeans, the only objective conclusion to be reached is that it is attempting to christen the current spirit of the youth as equally noble to it’s predessessor in order to “fit in.” Observe the senseless, purposeless, primitive actions, symbols, and facial expression of the youths in the commercial. Notice how all of the shots feature youths entering to commune with – as opposed to entering to conquer – nature. This is clearly meant to elevate a lack of achievement to equal prestige with that of actual achievement. To further inculcate the already prevalent multiculturalist notion that a primitive lifestyle is no worse than a modern one.
Levi’s, like most well-established companies, believe they cannot afford to do anything except adapt to the philosophical conventions of the time. Nevertheless, this particular compromise may be especially sad. It is likely, given that company’s unique history, that it wishes desperately to believe that the worst about the youth of today isn’t true – that they actually are the same sorts who bought their blue jeans over a century ago, in order to continue doing exactly what Mr. Whitman exhorted them to do in his poem. Perhaps Levi’s believes that by celebrating that spirit, even if in a heavily distored way, that they will reignite it. Unfortunately, ultimately, this desire, if it is there, is not enough to do so.