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April 22, 2009

Slathering The Love


Ah, Spring! Here is my take on the Washingtonian’s Obama send up:

1. Racist? Half-naked black man in mauve shorts (originally black) = LOVE object. (I wouldn’t go nearly as far as to compare this with OJ, though.)

2. Takes a page out of Obama’s book: Keep your friends close, and your large, charismatic figures otherwise getting their heads in the way of our big, white WASHINGTON(IAN) status quo lovingly closer.

3. With “Our this, our that,” the magazine sets itself up as the true voice of Washington, framing Obama — because this vacation picture was already widely familiar — as something of a tourist.

4. And then, identifying him as “neighbor” further smacks of “other.” He’s the POTUS, for chrissakes, not the new guy next door with the dog. (… And then, there are subtle racial echoes to “neighbor,” as in: “Hey, did you see who just moved in next door!”)

(photo-illustration: still looking)

  • Lynne

    There was a whole lot of touchin’ up done on that swim suit!

  • vcInCA

    what first struck me as bizarre is that obama (& his hotness, according to them) is number two. ??? er, what’s number one? what does that say, to advertise why living there is cool, and spotlight your number 2 reason? i think its critical of him, in that there is something above him, in order of reasons to live in dc, but i also think it may show some magazine internal conflict over what *should* be number one reason, and the way they settled it was: give a the first slot, put b on the cover, in 2nd place.

  • david

    Better than Dick Cheney !! AAAggghhhh..

  • ceenik

    Yeah, what is #1?
    This is condescending–the whole “celebrity” thing from the election. Barack the magic negro entertainer?

  • JayDenver

    This cover has been criticized for being extensively photoshopped — including changing the color of the swimsuit, eliminating the background, and enhancing the saturation to bring out a more golden skin tone. All part of the “new journalistic ethics”, I guess.

  • Vulture Breath

    I don’t see anything racist or racial in it. And I think neighbor=other is quite a stretch. (It just seems tacky, like when a new hot neighbor moves onto Wisteria Lane on “Desperate Housewives” and all the women check him out from their kitchen windows.) What I do see is some pretty glaring removal of crotch shadows (a Ken doll smoothening). Why they picked maroon for the shorts I don’t know, except that it’s the color of both the Redskins, and Sidwell Friends School.

  • vcInCA

    :re vulture breath (what a silly, but entertaining name!)– the red shorts photo-sh/chopping to me looks very video game-esque.. i wonder if there is an easy model wearing similar shorts on some game that they just copied (and hence, the same color?)

  • mcc


  • yg

    are they that frightened that the washingtonian is going to fold? the move smells of fear and desperation.

  • yg

    the press corp used to rave how rumskull was a rock star. bush called him a matinee idol.

  • Johanna

    It’s so naive to think this cover didn’t have the approval of the Obama people. It’s hoped that his hotness will renew the fervor and the love that might be fading just a bit after the honeymoon. It’s just like Saturday night being date night. This is meant to rekindle. Don’t tell me it isn’t working for you, because I know it is.

  • mon_oeil

    Well with Washington DC still considered the Chocolate City, since a majority of its residents are black, I am not sure how this new neighbor could be viewed as the Other to the white Washingtonian. Perhaps it may be viewed within a hegemonic/dominant culture gaze–by white Washingtonians in the wealthy White-majority sectors of Washington DC around Foggy Bottom and Georgetown. But then 95% of the District voted for Obama. So then to see him as the Other–I’m not sure why.
    The image is tacky and amateurish. Though the White House is on the Potomac, it is a far stretch to envision anything like a stroll on a Hawaiian beach.

  • braidwood

    What you said. And, yeah, the over-photoshopping is TACKY! But, I guess it suits the content.

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