January 22, 2008

King Day Final


If the photo invites a comparison, is Obama more pupil, beneficiary or logical successor?

And because yesterday finished out with the debate (still burning in my ears), I can imagine each camp’s caption.  From HRC: “Merely a shadow.”  From BHO:  “So, I guess we’re missing LBJ.”

Update 9:20 am PST:

I guess the question, thinking about it overnight, is whether the photographer, then the editor, found the two worthy of comparison, or felt that Obama should be measured (somehow) in relation to King.  In the latter regard, however, it seems the deck is stacked in Obama’s favor….

The fact that Obama “steps up” from King (reading left-to-right, which tends to be interpreted as “going forward”) is to his advantage.  More so, however — and this is probably why I was thinking about Obama as a successor (in spite of their different vocations) — is because of the line formed by King, Obama, and the man at the far right.  This feature gives the picture the sense of “a line of succession,” with Obama “next in line.” (Being centered like that emphasizes Barack as the man of the hour … and the “looking off in the distance” quality doesn’t hurt, either. )  If one were to “push that angle further,” in fact, one might even say (and I mean this more metaphorically of course, not literally) that “the next man in line” would/could be even blacker.

(Of course, the Obama – King comparison is a force-fit, which serves to weaken Obama’s charge against Hillary in the King/LBJ dust up, because vocationally and in terms of his aspirations, Obama probably lines up as much with LBJ.)

Dem candidates address King Day rally (MSNBC)

Moyers On Clinton, Obama, King and Johnson: A Bill Moyers Essay (via Cursor.org)

In Memory and Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (TalkLeft)

Obama and Clinton Tangle at Debate (NYT)

(image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.  State capitol. Columbia, South Carolina. January 21, 2008. via YahooNews)

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Michael Shaw
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