January 20, 2013

Movies in the Age of Obama

Obama and Movies NYT White illustration

Following our look at his official 1st and 2nd term portraits, it looks like we’re on a real Obama roll. If you’ve been following the site a long time, you’ll remember how I used to decry the decline of political illustration. As the role of print has diminished, so too has the topic fallen off my radar. That said, the New York Times has a wonderful illustration today leading it’s Arts section – one that was worth scanning as opposed to doing the illustrator, Michael White, the injustice of copying the tiny version on the website.

You don’t need much more than the title of the article “Movies in the Age of Obama” and the quote A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis pivots the piece off of to go to down on the drawing:

Last year in The New York Review of Books the critic J. Hoberman wondered when we would see an “Obama-inflected Hollywood cinema.”

…And then, when does the Jackie Robinson movie coming out?? (I saw a preview of it before Zero Dark Thirty last night.)

The quote and the illustration cause me to recall all the ’08 chatter about America “finally having that conversation about race.” It seems nobody appreciated how difficult that would be, and the how processing of “the Obama dynamic” might end up being more long term, oblique and as much a catalyst for the arts.

Call it an awards season preview — the illustration drawing on miles of material — I’m of course interested in your thoughts on this.

(illustration: Michael White for The New York Times)

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Michael Shaw
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