Why Samuel L. Jackson is Telling Obama Supporters to "Wake the F**k Up"
BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 27 2012
After collaborating to produce an audiobook of the not-workplace-appropriate bedtime story for children, "Go the F**ck to Sleep," author Adam Mansbach and noted provider of family-friendly entertainment Samuel L. Jackson have produced a video in support of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
It's called "Wake the F**ck Up." Yahoo! had exclusive access to a safe-for-work version for a few hours this morning.
This is the latest project to come out of the Jewish Council for Education and Research, a pro-Obama Super PAC, under its "Schlep Labs" label. Perhaps you remember the one where Sarah Silverman pretends to get sexy with her dog to make a point about Sheldon Adelson. Or another recent one, also featuring Silverman, in which she explains her take on voter ID laws.
"In the silvery moonlight that bathes every town, people lie dreaming so safe and so sound," Jackson says in the video, before Mansbach's rhyme takes a turn for the profane. "They're warm in their beds snuggled up in the sheets, but four years before they were out on the streets."
Building off of experience gained from watching the Silverman videos, JCER's Ari Wallach says, they've released that safe-for-work version to accompany the not-safe-for-work original. After an a.m. rollout targeted to a general audience — hoping to reach people who may not have been paying attention to the campaign until now — Wallach will be switching focus in the afternoon, hoping to get the video picked up by more political media.
"The 'safe for work' [version] is what we're seeing moving quickly around people to people on Facebook," he said. "Individuals posting to friends and people who have large Facebook groups who have professional connections also. We're seeing safe for work there. 'Not safe for work' is people who are tweeting who have large followings who are not beholden to any institution. And also, people who are sharing among their GMail forwards, they're adding two or three names and saying 'have you seen this.'"
The video comes with a microsite that links out to the Obama campaign's official canvass, phone-banking and donation tools.
"We can't coordinate in any way shape or form," Wallach said, "but that doesn't preclude us from linking to them."
"Schlep Labs," so named as a reference to JCER's 2008 "Great Schlep" to send young Jewish volunteers to convince older relatives in Florida to vote for Obama, is meant to be a sort of wiki-style factory of viral content around the election. This video, Wallach says, came out of an email chain with Mansbach. Jackson agreed to the project, and 45 days later — allowing for the slowness of anything that starts in August and for the Jewish Super PAC to shutter for September's Jewish holidays — a microsite was born.
The idea is to reach out to younger voters in a way that they might be more likely to respond to.
"It's not so much the message as the messenger," Wallach said. "Where the Obama campaign will release great videos about getting involved, they're still coming from Chicago headquarters."
But the people who Schlep Labs is trying to reach, he explained, are — in a "Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone sense" — not "joiners." This type of video might mobilize them to take action without requiring them to join the team, so to speak, he said.
If past experience is any guide, it will at least succeed in getting a reaction online. The video with Silverman and her dog, "Scissor Sheldon," went from zero views to over 600,000 in just a couple of days.