Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
September 17, 2009

A Jedi-Infused “Yes We Can”

Obama light sabre.jpg

With the Administration growing more savvy in challenging the Becks, Birthers and Teabaggers, is it possible (following Obama’s Congress speech and energetic stops in Minnesota and Pennsylvania) that we’re witnessing a momentum shift?

I sense yesterday’s photo op was actually a lot less frivolous than it seems at first. The saber play is a perfect analogy. In a single stroke, it not only casts the agile (and “child safe”) Obama, the defender of the temple (well, okay, the White House), as “the force” of responsibility, but by inference, it frames that whole lot of wingnuts and haters as “from the dark side.”

Demonstrating the will to engage — while softening the mode with playfulness and humor — this might be the most “unburdened” Obama since “Bo.”

(image: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images. caption: US President Barack Obama (C) pretends to fence with a lightsaber as First Lady Michelle Obama (L) watches during an event on Olympics, Paralympics and youth sport on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 16, 2009)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5cf7da7970c 0144101

    I totally agree…a really great picture and analogy.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    Oh! ‘Birthers’, ‘Truthers’, ‘Teabaggers’; now there’s a new term: ‘Racers‘! And, yes, you fit right in this new category! Sharing bunks with Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter, and a host of others who apply the raaaaacism label improperly!
    Doesn’t it feel great to find yourself placed in a niche, with no where to turn, no way to escape? Really helps the overall level of discourse, doesn’t it?
    But it does wonders for the narratives, eh?!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/evilpoet EvilPoet

    Not to be a partypooper or anything but I find all the Obami pic’s off-putting and super annoying. Maybe it’s cause I’m not a Star Wars fan.

  • Tena

    Love it. New jobless claims dropped again, too. For the 2d time. But nobody ever mentions the good news. ;)

  • Tena

    Serr8d – yes yes – and the GOP is in the process of degrading fully over “Czars”. I expect the entire GOP membership of Congress to just show up one day looking like the extras from the cast of Marat/Sade and begin to fling their poo.

  • Gasho

    I love the thought that this was orchestrated to bring all those things to mind. If Rove had been in charge of this from the PR angle, Obama would have been standing on the pavement instead of the grass, so that he’d be easier to cut out in photoshop. Ready for easy insertion into every hotbutton issue for years to come.

  • Tena

    Ahem – no kidding. For several years there, Bush made it clear his feet were never to touch grass or ground – they had to build platforms for him to walk on.

  • jonst

    I was wondering if he was celebrating his administration asking for an extension of the ‘Patriot Act’?

  • robertdsc

    The blue color lightsaber is a mainstay of the Jedi, the “good” guys. If it had been red, the color of the “bad guy” Sith, I’d be worried.

  • SquareState

    DO OR NOT DO – THERE IS NO TRY

  • http://curtspang.blogspot.com/ crabby

    Why is no one looking at the photo? About the young men on the left of the President being disengaged. How long was the pres posing with that saber I saw him with it in several settings, including stabbing an athlete.
    I just wonder why no one is commenting on the photo. Oh Yea, Yah yah obama

  • nordmend

    “the defender of the temple (well, okay, the White House)”
    or, projecting power from the temple. weapon-based problem solving. maybe it’s a wii predator drone controller.

  • yg

    funny how flamethrowers are so defensive.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    Hey, if one isn’t defensive, then one quickly succumbs to vile attackers. But get used to being on the defensive. You guys are 8-years-practiced with BOOOOOOOOSH~!!!! hatred and vitriol, so get ready. It’s high time, and Your Turn to go all defensive.
    What goes around, and all of that.

  • Molly

    What?

  • Molly

    The kid looks like he wants his saber back and Michelle is yelling at him to stop messing around.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    Awwww, you didn’t like my caption? Shame. You’re a bit uptight, methinks. Obama said your being ‘racers’ was pretty much wrong (although he might have aimed that at Jimmy Carter, it fits most of you here as well).
    But why didn’t you select the image with the guy picking his nose, the fellow right behind and to the right of Obama?

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    There are no ostensibly white people visible in this image.
    There is motion and purpose in the body language of everyone pictured. The group of three with Michele, hands on her hips standing her ground, the other two women turning toward her and both gesturing leading up to Obama’s en garde stance. He is playing like a kid but also has an adult and athletic presence. This reminds me of his Superman pose in front the Superman logo in Metropolis.
    Appropriating popular culture icons and now generational memories of media creations.

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    The boy is looking away but is part of the frame because of his movement into the scene. The stylized star on his chest reiterates the superhero and aspirational nature of the Jedi ideal in “Star Wars.”

  • yg

    lol

  • yg

    can’t find it now but i used to have a cartoon of obama as bush era zombie slasher wielding a shotgun. weird because it wasn’t in character but still yielded a vicarious thrill.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes