Friday Night Fights :: Peter Berg Accuses Romney Campaign of Plagiarism
Over the past few weeks the Romney campaign came up with a slogan they thought couldn’t lose: "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose."
The phrase comes from the highly regarded, though low-rated series "Friday Night Lights" about football culture in a small Texas town.
According to a report in Friday’s Hollywood Reporter, "Romney has used the ’Clear Eyes’ phrase - which originated as a rallying cry for the high school football team on the FNL television series - in several campaign speeches, and it appears on his Facebook page. The Republican presidential nominee and his wife, Ann, are fans of the series, which ended its five-year run on NBC and DirecTV last year. Romney said in Iowa earlier this week that the phrase is ’compelling.’ ’That’s Americans,’ he told an audience. ’We have clear eyes - we know what we believe. Full hearts - we love this country and we can’t lose. This is a time for Americans to make a choice. We’re going to take back this country.’"
The only problem is that the Romney campaign never cleared the use of the phrase with Peter Berg, who coined the phrase as writer and director of the series. He is also a staunch Obama supporter.
In a letter to Romney, reported exclusively in the Hollywood Reporter, Berg asked Romney to stop using the phrase.
"Berg calls the use of ’Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose’ an act of stealing," the HR report continued. "’Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series,’ Berg writes in the letter. ’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.’"
According to the Los Angeles Times, "Romney used the expression recently in recounting the story of 14-year-old David Oparowski. The boy was dying of cancer and had asked Romney to help him prepare a will. The phrase also appeared last week as a headline on a fundraising appeal by Ann Romney on the campaign website."
While Berg accuses the Romney campaign of "plagarism," he plans to take no legal action. But he ended his letter with the request: "Please come up with your own campaign slogan."
There was, though, an interesting twist to the story.
"Berg’s bit of political agitprop marks a split in the ’Friday Night Lights’ family, since Buzz Bissinger - writer of the book that became the basis for the TV show - recently wrote an essay saying he would break with his liberal habit and support Republican Romney," wrote the LA Times.
This isn’t the first time the Romney/Ryan campaign faced criticism for appropriating campaign phrases. In August Twisted Sister asked Romney to stop using "We’re Not Gonna Take It." And when Paul Ryan spoke admirably of Rage Against the Machine, that group’s lead singer Tom Morello wrote an op-ed denouncing Ryan, who he cited as "the embodiment of the machine our music rages against."