By Dan McQuade
By Brian McManus
By Hilary Hughes
By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
Governor Pataki has been exploiting the Beatles in a campaign commercial lately. It opens with a grainy black-and-white photo of a crowd of teens, as a "Love Me Do"-type backbeat (with a harmonica blowing different notes than the original) plays in the background. Then focus shifts to a close-up of a gold record with numbers superimposed over it, progressing up to 21. "The Beatles had 21 gold records," says a male voice, followed by a chorus of yeahs. The voice returns saying, "Peter Vallone voted for higher taxes 78 times"--followed by a chorus of boos.
A spokesperson for Apple records in London expressed surprise first over the use of the Fab Four by a conservative, pro-death penalty politician, assuring the Voice that Neil Aspinall, the managing director and head of Apple would be pursuing the matter. Unfortunately, the folks who produced the commercial for Pataki have cleverly skirted any legal problems by using neither a Beatles photo nor their actual recordings.
According to Burt Neubourne, a professor at NYU and former legal director of the ACLU, Apple won't get far. "The Beatles are a cultural icon who spent their lives giving their privacy up. As long as they are not mispresented as endorsing Pataki, there's nothing they can do about it."
As it turns out, Mr. Pataki is not even particularly fond of the Fab Four. "He's got nothing against the Beatles, but actually the governor is a big Rolling Stones fan," says Pataki press secretary Michael Marr. "The Stones are his band."