April 22, 2009

Slathering The Love


Ah, Spring! Here is my take on the Washingtonian’s Obama send up:

1. Racist? Half-naked black man in mauve shorts (originally black) = LOVE object. (I wouldn’t go nearly as far as to compare this with OJ, though.)

2. Takes a page out of Obama’s book: Keep your friends close, and your large, charismatic figures otherwise getting their heads in the way of our big, white WASHINGTON(IAN) status quo lovingly closer.

3. With “Our this, our that,” the magazine sets itself up as the true voice of Washington, framing Obama — because this vacation picture was already widely familiar — as something of a tourist.

4. And then, identifying him as “neighbor” further smacks of “other.” He’s the POTUS, for chrissakes, not the new guy next door with the dog. (… And then, there are subtle racial echoes to “neighbor,” as in: “Hey, did you see who just moved in next door!”)

(photo-illustration: still looking)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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