Following the “TV with the sound off” test, check out this photoshopped cover of the new Atlantic with the words covered up. Doing so, what the picture communicates is Obama (in real life, the “cool” one) as the warrior, while McCain (the actual “hot” one, who is known for being temperamental and impulsive, and often can’t keep from saying whatever noxious thing comes into his head) seems more temperate, thinking and interpersonal.
The lesson of the “Dean scream” was that the media and the right has a tendency to frame passion — if it’s coming from left-of-center — as overheated and radical. Given Obama’s race, you have the added stereotype of the angry black man or the black militant. And just short of that, the photomontage also plays to the “uppity” stereotype, as codified in the most remarkable way this week at the RNC by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
The reality, of course, is just the opposite. Far cry from the insincere “high road” theme McCain pitched in his acceptance speech, it’s the wingers like Bush and McCain who tend to be hyper-aggressive, reactionary, averse to listening and blind to boundary. They just deflect that fact by coating the behavior under a moralistic, religious and/or patriotic veneer.
Words not withstanding (the contradiction possibly even strengthening the imagery), I’ve seen a lot of blatant mischaracterization in this campaign season, and this ranks right up there.
(h/t: Michael – image credit unavailable. The Atlantic. September 2008)