NYT Sees 'Obama's Face' Everywhere, and is Loving it

In another nearly orgasmic tribute to The One, in its Arts section The New York Times published a May 30 story buoyantly jubilant over the fact that Obama's face "rules the web." The story is in glee over how the Obammessiah's portrait fills the web and that some folks are even making a bit of cash off the deal.

To my mind, though, the amusing thing about the piece is that, if read closely, it appears that only schlocky Obama art can bring any sales as any serious artistic efforts are going unsold. I don’t know what that says about Obama art aficionados, but there you have it. Obama schlock rules.

The first Obamanist cum arteeste the piece reveals to us is one Mimi Torchia Boothby of Seattle who was so inspired by The One that she painted a "contemplative, sun-splashed portrait" of Obama that she is now selling on the web. And she was excited that a whole 24 takers was dredged up.

Sadly, there is no sense of proportion about this whole phenomenon and there just is no real effort to place this phenomenon in any historical perspective. Obama is ranked with John F. Kennedy in the excitement for his portrait but, there is no sense that the Times understands that Kennedy's portrait didn't become ubiquitous until his assassination. Yes there were many portraits of him just after he got elected, but his assassination spurred that displaying of his image a lot more than his mere election. On the other hand, Obama's portrait is everywhere despite his relative lack of accomplishment as president.

There is no discussion of other presidents that enjoyed popularity in portraiture. George Washington was hugely popular for generations of Americans including those first American voters of the late 1700s. Just about every American had a portrait of Washington somewhere. Abraham Lincoln was also everywhere in his day and after and was one of the most photographed president's of his era and on into the next. Teddy Roosevelt was the people's president and found great popularity as a subject of portraits. Original images of Teddy are still easy to find on ebay or in antique stores. In his turn, Franklin Roosevelt's image became popular everywhere, as well. But does the Times talk of any of this? Nope.

Finally, one might think that a thoughtful piece on the widespread appearance of Obama's portrait might include some words of caution, some perspective, or some effort to look deeper into the matter. But, I guess that is far too introspective for the Times, sadly. No effort was made to make this piece a serious treatment of the matter.

What does it say, for instance, about people so taken by this man even though he has yet to actually achieve any major effort (shy of getting elected, no mean feat, to be sure), has not faced any significant challenge or emergency, and has yet to be proven to have succeeded in his goals?

But, let’s not worry about reality, shall we? Unfortunately, it's all about the slavish sycophancy for The One as opposed to any serious treatment of the subject.

Sigh.

Media Bias Debate Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Culture/Society New York Times Journalistic Issues

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