October 25, 2010
Newsweek's Cover: The Hopeless Election
Seeing Newsweek rehash the Shepard Fairey 2008 Obama HOPE illustration to frame the 2010 mid-terms made me shudder, it was that depressing.
The anchor text provides the main clue. Saying that “Change Is Coming … Again,” and then offering us Boehner as Obama made over, the message is that the “change” America experienced in 2008 involved little more than a Washington change of face. The fact that Fairey’s design is open season at this point also says less about the graphic strategy than about Obama’s failure to defend it. With his centrist and piecemeal approach, he has been far less than a transformational or change agent, and his deliberate and cerebral style doesn’t sync with the “figure of hope” either. As a result, the message here — especially framing Boehner, an uninspiring corporate shill, as the new, new face and the inheritor of the HOPE message) — is that promises are empty and that we’re as good as going backwards.
Maybe time for a bong hit?