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Media MonsterSports & Politics

The Creator Of Friday Night Lights Is None Too Happy That Mitt Romney Adopted The Show’s Most Famous Slogan


If you watched (the TV show version of) Friday Night Lights, the phrase “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” means something to you. Even if you don’t like football, seeing or hearing it probably makes you ready to run through a wall. It’s a rallying cry capable of bringing people of all kinds of different backgrounds together. Here, have a look at it in action:

And it doesn’t even have to be delivered by Coach Eric Taylor to have that effect:

Being that so many people now hold this phrase so dear – how it represents genuine personal connections to people close to them – it makes sense that if it entered the rough-and-tumble, endlessly cynical/pandering/attacking world of politics, some people might be upset about that. (Especially if it were adopted by the opponent of one’s preferred candidate.) So when Mitt Romney’s social media person made this the cover photo on his Facebook page the other day, here were a few responses I received upon pointing it out to people:

“OMG”

“aw fuck no
goddamnit romney
so ruined.”

“THAT IS MISAPPROPRIATION”

“i think i’m really upset about the mitt romney cover photo”

You get the idea. Romney’s adoption of the phrase touched off a bit of a firestorm all around the internet, up to and including people wondering which presidential candidate various Friday Night Lights characters would have voted for. But it looks like, for better or worse, the controversy will be short-lived. Why? Well, it turns out one of the people who wasn’t too happy about Romney using the phrase was Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg. In a cease-and-desist letter to Romney, Berg said:

“Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series. The only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and Friday Night Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity—who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan.”

While I’ll admit I was initially impressed by the savvy of whatever young operative I assumed inserted the phrase into the Romney campaign (in fairness, it might not have been the work of some relatively anonymous social media manager; Mitt and Ann are reportedly fans of the show), not getting permission beforehand seems like a risky move, due to exactly what Berg has now done. It doesn’t look so great when the guy ultimately responsible for the phrase you’ve co-opted publicly tells you he thinks you’re full of it. (As it’s been pointed out, though, Buzz Bissinger, who wrote the book that inspired the movie and TV show, is now a Romney supporter, though that required a massive flip-flop on his part.)

As for what Coach Taylor would think of all this: Vulture predicted he’d be a Romney voter. I’d agree. But Coach is also a guy with strong principles, from which he doesn’t waver. Romney is… not quite seen the same way. We can’t imagine Coach having a great deal of respect for any politician, since just about any successful one will severely compromise their principles at one point or another. And if he saw his slogan used to score political points against his will? I’d predict an ugly scene to unfold from there. Great hair, wavering heart: can’t win.

[h/t Gawker]

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