I just saw this photo of Obama on the Newsweek Tumblr site and had a few thoughts:
1. Is this racist? Does it relegate Obama to a stereotypical black depiction? (IE: if he’s not such an effective president, can we turn him into a musician?)
2. The pic is sadistic (maybe shot by a frustrated liberal?) with the quality of holding Obama down and forcing him to do something by coercion. The abuse quality makes the photo quite disturbing — rubbing Obama’s face in his own frustration coming off the bitter disappointment of the mid-term elections (this issue of the NYT, sporting that widely captured expression, published the morning after)
3. Whether it’s has racial or sadistic implications or not, I think the picture hits some powerful chords (pardon the pun). Coming off the mid-terms, the implication is that Obama has been incapable of “making any music” that would either a.) move the economic numbers, b.) move the public to get behind any particular strategy, or c.) bring the base “in step.” As much as this image disturbs, it does highlight that Obama hasn’t developed much rhythm in confronting the GOP, Wall Street and/or the economy, or in composing and orchestrating an effective governing narrative, especially of late. Perhaps he’s brought this kind of harsh, if half tongue-in-cheek visual backlash upon himself.