Culture Complex: When Politics Goes Viral

It's a simple video -- a TV actor speaking about his illness, his body wracked by spasms. In the pantheon of YouTube phenomena, Michael J. Fox's Missouri Senate ad is no Evolution of Dance or lonelygirl15. Unlike the online videos that usually catch on, it has no white rappers or cool choreographed treadmill routines; no one lip-synchs or makes a geyser with Diet Coke and Mentos. Yet this short TV spot may have done more than any other to show YouTube's potential as a political force. In the ad, Fox, a longtime Parkinson's disease sufferer, endorsed Democratic Senate hopeful Claire McCaskill...

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