Romney Campaign Accused Of Plagiarism By ‘Friday Night Lights’ Creator
A couple of years ago, a friend, whose opinion I deeply respect, recommended I watch the show Friday Night Lights. The recommendation surprised me. On the surface, the show seemed nothing I would relate to. It was a show about high school football in Texas. Not that there’s anything wrong with either, but I’d rather spend my Friday nights with friends and, well, I have the feeling that Texas wouldn’t like me. I did attend some of my high school football games, but after graduation day, the Cougars were part of my past.
Then I began to watch it and within the first couple of episodes, I was hooked. Yes, it was about Texans who loved their football and trucks but it was also about racism, poverty, equality of opportunity, gender roles, sexuality, identity and the idea that money is far from everything. It addressed many, if not most of the issues that ignite passion among progressives and are generally dismissed by conservatives. One of the characters even had an abortion and her world was not destroyed.
While the show never revealed an obvious political bent, I certainly related to the open-minded attitude of the show and of its main characters. That’s why I was surprised to find out that the Romney campaign had started using the show’s pre-game pep talk; Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose, as its slogan. It’s also why I wasn’t surprised when the show’s creator accused the campaign of plagiarism. Peter Berg sent Romney this letter:
As of today, Romney’s Facebook page still has the slogan.
Republicans have an uncanny ability to misinterpret art and popular culture. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, famously named the band, Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorites. The problem, of course, is that Ryan is absolutely emblematic of the machine that they are raging against. In a case of misunderstood lyrics and political bent, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. asked Fox News to stop using their song, “Losing My Religion.” Perhaps most famous, was when Ronald Reagan thought Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” was a patriotic anthem, when in fact, it was an anti-war anthem.
Berg’s cousin, Buzz Bissinger, is the writer of the book, “Friday Night Lights,” and is thrilled that the GOP candidate is using the slogan. He called his cousin, “childish and petulant.” He continued,
“Berg is just another member of the Hollywood glitterati whose idea of liberalism is making sure their Mexican gardeners get paid only several dollars below minimum wage,” he writes. “He has no idea what and who Romney is about. I find his letter uninformed and offensive.”
“And I am frankly sick and tired of Berg and everyone else acting as if he was the creator of Friday Night Lights. Without the book there never would have been a television show. He should feel lucky that anyone cares about it.”
We will keep you updated as the Friday Night Lights’ family drama continues.
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