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Wednesday, Dec 1, 2021

The voice of God enters into the same-sex marriage conversation

Okay, okay, so Morgan Freeman does not exactly constitute the voice of God, but technically, he did play God in two movies. Ever since the movie Bruce Almighty, I have associated the voice of Morgan Freeman with what I would assume God would sound like if he were to talk to me. Can you blame me?
Talk about an effective campaign tactic. The Human Rights Campaign put out an ad to aid the fight for marriage equality.
Using Morgan Freeman is genius. After all, he is associated with the alpha and the omega, with the beginning and the end, with eternity - come on, Morgan Freeman seems to be eternally old.
Even when he was young he looked just as old as he does now. The only thing that has really changed is the color of the man’s hair, and even since then it has not changed an incredible amount.
The ad itself is, in my opinion, a pretty well executed ad. It features clips of iconic images from the women’s suffrage movement, as well as the civil rights movement - specifically an image of Martin Luther King, Jr. giving a speech, all while asserting that the fight for same-sex marriage is the next battle for equality that we, as Americans, must stand up and fight for.
In the ad, Morgan Freeman says, “Freedom, justice and human dignity have always guided our journey toward a more perfect union. Now across our country, we are standing together for the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry the person they love. And with historic victories for marriage, we’ve delivered a mandate for full equality. The wind is at our back, but our journey has just begun. Join us.”
Now, I have seen the ad. I have heard Morgan Freeman’s voice say those words, but I cannot help but get a little turned off by the words of the ad in textual form. They seem too pointed. I feel like I somehow got tricked.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a supporter of gay marriage.
After all, gay people getting married does not affect my daily life, just as any other marriage does not affect my daily life.
However, my friends’ happiness does affect my daily life. Our government preventing their happiness hurts me just as much as it hurts my friends who are gay.
To go back to the ad, the words this ad uses bother me when they are flat and not being said by Morgan Freeman.
The words in the ad, when stripped of the background images and Morgan Freeman’s voice, remind me a lot of the message that the Capitol plays for each of the districts at the Reaping Ceremonies in the Hunger Games series. Sinister and manipulating, this ad gives me the creeps.
However, put Morgan Freeman’s voice back into the mix, and the ad isn’t so bad. Now why is that?
Have we been trained to respond positively to actors’ voices, especially ones that are well liked across different groups of people?
I would like to think I’m not that susceptible to persuasion, but apparently I am. This ad is a testament to that fact.
Like I said earlier, the ad itself is pretty well-executed. Broken down into parts, not so much, which is unfortunate. But it’s amazing what adding an iconic voice can do to persuade us either way.
Overall, I’m happy that this same-sex marriage campaign is gaining ground, especially now that famous people such as Ellen Degeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Rapinoe, and now Morgan Freeman are standing up for the cause. Hopefully, these persuasive techniques continue to aid their progress.
Who knows, ad campaigns using these techniques often enough could really put a dent in the future of this country.


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