April 8, 2008

Your Turn: Bruising Hillary


I was interested in your take on the provocative cover of the Village Voice.

The article attacks MSNBC, and particularly, Joe Scarborough, for his intense Hillary hate.  But as a cover illustration, the image is far more loaded than to simply hew to the story.  (You know, by the way, that Scarborough is infamous for having represented Michael Griffin. Griffin was accused of murdering an abortion doctor in Pensacola, and in 1993, Scarborough took on the case pro bono concurrent with his run for Congress.)

I’m specifically wondering how this image plays today, given the trajectory of the Democratic race.  Two months ago, for example, if such an image dared appear, I think it would have caused an uproar, given its coding for violence against women.  But then, is it possible that the evolution of the gender debates, along with our growing familiarity and knowledge of the individual characters of Clinton and Obama through the chapters in this novel campaign brings a more nuanced reaction to an image like this?

And then, one must also consider the context of the image at this specific point in time, especially given Hillary’s recent self-identification as "a fighter"; her comparison of herself and her campaign to Rocky (who was battered by Apollo Creed); and the degree of grit she has shown digging in and casting off calls for her withdrawal.  With all that in mind, might the campaign even find some satisfaction in an image like this for its post-New Hampshire, post-"tearful self-discovery," almost gender-defying quality?

But then, can one actually transcend stereotypes?  I’m sure some would see this as an outwardly butch Hillary or an overly androgynous one (suggesting a woman can’t be tough without trying to blow up the boys club).  And then just to confound things a little more, could those three little warts below her left eye, matched with the additional three more below the left edge of her lips, (still) signify tears?  Bu then again, given the strong reference to Chucky, couldn’t the image just as well reprise the Samantha Powers reference to Hillary as a monster?

And then… and then….

Your thoughts?

Bruise Brother (Village Voice)

Samantha Power Thinks Hillary Clinton Is a Problem From Hell (NY Mag)

(h/t: Leo.  illustration: Alex Ostroy for The Village Voice.  April 1, 2008.  villagevoice.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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