Elizabeth Warren's First Negative Ad Corrupts Beloved Boxing Coach

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Sept. 14 2012 3:02 PM

Elizabeth Warren's First Negative Ad Corrupts Beloved Boxing Coach

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Elizabeth Warren addresses ordinary people.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Punching other men in the face is a grand and noble pursuit, so it’s disturbing to watch Art Ramalho participate in the degrading spectacle that is this Elizabeth Warren ad. Ramalho is the boxer who first trained Micky Ward (aka Mark Wahlberg) (aka Marky Mark) in The Fighter. Elizabeth Warren is the bankruptcy law expert who seems sad for us and our plight as struggling, probably bankrupt losers. She is forever talking about the need to “level the playing field” and “play by the rules,” as I describe in this ancient Double X piece. Says Ramalho:

We can spot the real fighters here in this gym and Elizabeth Warren is a real fighter.

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Elizabeth is different. She’s fighting for people who are up against it. Working people, the middle class.

This is the “wordplay” portion of the political campaign. Will a carpenter assure us that she’ll “level” the playing field? How can we believe she’ll balance the budget unless a gymnast tells us so?

She got heart, she got guts and she’s not gonna back down. We need Elizabeth in our corner.

Really, there are better ways to employ the fighting motif. I want to hear that Elizabeth Warren will send a liver shot to the ribcage of the aristocracy, utterly incapacitating an entire class of privileged Americans for two to four minutes. Here is a great article about body shot knockouts someone once told me about in line at a club in Las Vegas. Anyway:

I don’t know about Scott Brown. He’s been siding with the big money guys. Tax cuts for millionaires? That’s not gonna help people around here.

I think Scott Brown is with the big corporations.

Warren has always been folksy affect in a professorial package. Her books are bereft of large words. The “toaster analogy,” though problematic, has a kind of homely metaphorical appeal people find persuasive. If you're going to go this route, it pays to adopt a fake accent, GWB-style, and start dressing like the people to whom you are talking. But Warren's delivery is always A-student prim, which may be why her advisors ran to Ramalho. In a tied race, they are reportedly worried that Warren comes off as “preachy” and “scolding” to potential voters.

This travesty of a television spot is the first negative ad from either campaign, which means that it’s Scott Brown’s turn to hit back. Ideally, he could film Micky Ward saying Brown will fight even harder for the middle class against the rich, represented by George Soros, whom Brown will pummel into the ground. But Ward already endorsed and then unendorsed Scott Brown on the basis on his position on—well, all of his positions.

Kerry Howley's work has appeared in the Paris Review, Bookforum, and the New York Times Magazine. She is currently finishing a book about consensual violence, ecstatic experience, and the body.

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