Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 15, 2015

Kickoff Week: Profiling Hillary (and the Parodists)

Hil SNL announce dragon

The amount of posturing, aggressiveness and and even presumption in the Clinton political DNA notwithstanding, I found the Hillary ’16 kickoff parodies way off-key. You’d think the needling class would have a better baseline sense of the candidate from which to send her up. Having been out there forever, Mrs. Clinton cannot be that much of a chameleon. These features, in contrast (isn’t narcissism and power-tripping common to the governing class?), seemed more of mix of the generic and the sexist.

Funny-mean is easy. Sending up Hillary for playing hardball or for dynastic tendencies is easy. Funny-insightful is tougher, especially recognizing how well the public, given the time and exposure, does suss out character. Here’s hoping the portraits start to tap, then exaggerate and twist characteristics with a gut-feel more intrinsic to Hillary than to Bill, or to an aggregate Clinton caricature.  Of course, the talking heads already have the latter down.

Clinton Onion Announcement

Surveying the opening SNL skit and The Onion‘s harsh faux- announcement article (“I’ve worked way too goddamn hard to let you morons blow this thing for me”), the image of Hillary represents her as not just entitled but venomous toward the public. Echoing that theme, the screenshot of the monster (leading this post) was also SNL’s prime visual take-away.

Hil SNL announce Martin OMalley

Here, the candidate’s consistent and seemingly quite genuine propensity to laugh is appropriated by sadism, HRC chortling over the prospect of competition from the likes of a Martin O’Malley.

Hil SNL announce control Bill

Evoking the stereotype of one more woman who can’t control her man (and a picture of contained resentment over spousal interference), this discredits the idea that there is a lot more complexity and alignment there.

Clinton scared

And here’s another inference we probably wouldn’t have seen if the subject was a man. SNL postulates — quickly dispelled in a blast of bravado — that underneath the woman’s just plain scared.

SNL Hillary handling

Well, so much for the antipathy. I guess one question the SNL skit does raises, and it’s something the electorate will certainly be attending to in summing her up for the role, is how much Hillary actually calls her own shots with all those consultants in her hair.

(screenshots: SNL and The Onion)

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