Thursday, August 6, 2009

Philip Kennicott on Images: Obama as the Joker Betrays Racial Ugliness, Fears - washingtonpost.com

Philip Kennicott on Images: Obama as the Joker Betrays Racial Ugliness, Fears - washingtonpost.com

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2 comments:

ChrisG said...

While I appreciate Kennicott's analysis, I was a little disappointed that he didn't say more about the damage such a highly discussed image will do - he mentions it, but in the detached language of an observer. I'm not sure I could say what I would have liked Kennicott do to with this, but I have this sense of unease as I finish the column. Maybe that was the point.

rpd said...

Hey Chris,

I am not so sure that Kennicott leaves much unsaid here. It seems to me that we cannot separate this from the Birther movement and the general reaction to the Gates fiasco. Aren't the folks currently embracing such movements the same sort of folks who were part of Nixon's "Silent Majority"?

It is interesting to me that Obama as a sign has been transformed from some sort of malevolent "Black Buck" (to use Donald Bogle's term) to the essentially hysterically mad Ledger Joker—a signification for the earlier chaos of the Sixties? Wouldn't be prudent to articulate the former and so the latter acts as a mask. Either way, damaging especially if it becomes the dominant way of seeing him.

But, then, what does it mean when GWB gets the same treatment? LA Times has an interesting blog on this: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/08/obama-bush-and-the-joker-cultural-double-standard.html