Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama Iconography

Maggie says:
I came across a fascinating gallery on Npr.org today showing graphical depictions of Obama. There's no question - the iconography of Obama brings home just how many Americans are desperate to anoint him our political savior. We see him wearing halos, exuding superpowers, morphing into Lincoln, and taking advantage of a lot of fantastic shadowing.

I'm a huge fan of political iconography, no question about it. How images are used, expressed, and produced is fun brain-stuff for me. Last weekend in a Virginia airport I had to stop and grin at the sight of two large African-American men wearing great hats and flashy, air-brushed Obama shirts. Those shirts were loud, and wonderful. (On a side note: Virginia's going to be thrilling come November.)

Slowly but surely, some powerful Obama iconography has seeped into our political consciousness. While it provokes fun forays for me back into campaign imagery of decades past, I do wonder this: is there a price for proclaiming Obama's omnipotence with such graphic fervor? Are we setting ourselves up for the sugar crash of the century if we can actually do this thing? What happens after that, besides the fact that we all have better-looking political t-shirts?