I had this professor who, despite a proclivity for often irrelevant or repetitious mutterings, actually said something pretty brilliant just before the 2008 America’s Top Model Presidential preference contest. I’ll share what he said in a sec, but first I need you to go take a look gaze into the mesmerizing official photo of our official black honcho with the nuclear codes:
Now tell me, what do you see?

The nameless professor said this brilliant thing which is that Barack H. Obama is a rorschach test. He IS a fucking rorschach. Give that a second to sink in, and contemplate how right on the money mark said educator was. Wow.


People see what they WANT to see in Barack Obama. Or rather, what they see is related to a complex convergence of their environmental inputs, their worldview, their social conditioning, their personality, their politics and experiences etc- I’m lazily calling this “what they want to see” but you get the point.

A muslim terrorist? Kablam! A beautiful merciful vainglorious deus-ex-machina? So say we all! A pretty fucking talented politician who might make some decent decisions but ultimately is responsible in no small part for the perpetuation of American imperial policy and the interventionist bailout of the Capitalist system? Meh, perhaps. But its the amazing capacity to be all things to all people (even the straw-brown-man for Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin’s small town America) that interests me. Obama can be the untrustworthy global leader of capitalism to the anti-capitalists that want to talk about different processes of exploitation, and the very same people can go have dinner with… I dunno, liberal uncles of theirs and find like “common ground” about how Obama is gonna… stop global warming or provide inspiration to black youth or whatever. The whitehouse official portrait illustrates this perfectly.

Who he is is deeper than that of course, and this ties into the, again complex, myths and mythos that is built up around Obama. Like many a fetishized thing in our world, Obama the president, the community-organizer-in-chief if you will, renders invisible so many processes that went into making him who he is and bringing him to the position he is in today (including being in the office with the fucking nuclear codes).

Good ol Nate from fivethirtyeight shared this with the world on his blog last week. I thought it would add to the layers of our own stories in de-mystifying, de-fetishizing Mr.Obama. Check out this map (and excuse the 1948 version of the incomplete United States) that shows 3 different versions of how “states” voted, based not on pure popular vote this time, but on popular vote broken down into three different maps based on income.


Interesting I thinks…

The World is Yours,
Sunshine Superboy


4 Responses to “Ba-rack-schach”

  1. Perhaps his image confronts your notion that identity is somehow static and absolute, rather than fluid; Race, nationality, gender, and socio-economic position are constructed. Conservatives have been employing the double edge of identity politics to their benefit since the Clarence Thomas hearings. The Obama camp has appropriated this strategy bringing America to further parallel its relationship to Greco/Egypto/Roman empire where notions of human purity were constructed relative to connecting kingdom to godhead: If people are made in god’s image than the ruler as god’s direct offspring can look like everybody!

  2. Another sign of Alan Moore’s prescience. (Or, maybe Alan Moore is my Rorschach…)

    • George Says:

      Interesting maps. I’d be interested to see the margins and see a breakdown on the other demographics as well (gender, age, race etc)

      • Sunshine Superboy Says:

        @George- Agreed! You’d have to pester Nate Silver who is living high on the hog these days at the New York Times!

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