July 30, 2008

Celeb #1: Obama As Sexual Predator




Excuse me if I’m a little late to the table on the McCain Celeb video.  I was seeing patients most of the day.

In the meantime, I wanted to say that I liked Rick’s take on the Nazi/Riefenstahl parallel, and I agree with Josh that McCain’s video hit man (reprising his Harold Ford handiwork) is playing heavily on racist allusions to sexual promiscuity and even rape.

If you study the individual frames, in fact, you’ll see how the fades juxtaposing Obama and Britney, and Obama and Paris Hilton are virtually identical.

In each, Obama — framed as a protean black celebrity (like O.J.) — comes up on the woman, each an oversized icon, and creates the digital effect of a physical merger.  (The fact that Britney is “facing” Obama and Paris is “looking away” could be mostly a function of what clips were available.  On the other hand, the difference between the two — Britney more “receptive” and Paris seemingly “unwilling” — also resonates with the two dimensions of this ugly stereotype, one objectifying the white woman’s supposed secretly lust for the black man’s sexual prowess, and the other representing the more predatory “take it by force” scenario.)

(frame grabs: McCain For President)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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