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July 11, 2011

Obama: That Man’s Got No Rhythm

Obama Trombone

I just saw this photo of Obama on the Newsweek Tumblr site and had a few thoughts:

1. Is this racist? Does it relegate Obama to a stereotypical black depiction? (IE: if he’s not such an effective president, can we turn him into a musician?)

2. The pic is sadistic (maybe shot by a frustrated liberal?) with the quality of holding Obama down and forcing him to do something by coercion. The abuse quality makes the photo quite disturbing — rubbing Obama’s face in his own frustration coming off the bitter disappointment of the mid-term elections (this issue of the NYT, sporting that widely captured expression, published the morning after)

3. Whether it’s has racial or sadistic implications or not, I think the picture hits some powerful chords (pardon the pun). Coming off the mid-terms, the implication is that Obama has been incapable of “making any music” that would either a.) move the economic numbers, b.) move the public to get behind any particular strategy, or c.) bring the base “in step.” As much as this image disturbs, it does highlight that Obama hasn’t developed much rhythm in confronting the GOP, Wall Street and/or the economy, or in composing and orchestrating an effective governing narrative, especially of late. Perhaps he’s brought this kind of harsh, if half tongue-in-cheek visual backlash upon himself.

  • Kimmijo

    First thing I thought of was “mwah-mwah-mwah” Charlie Brown-adult-voice trombone.

  • Silami

    I personally think of this picture as just a funny picture of someone who makes a funny face that fits behind a trombone. Ofcourse Obama, being a president, has a lot of pictures of him laying around, which makes him an easy subject. To think of it as ‘racist’ just because president Obama has a darker skintone sounds in itself kind of racist. I personally would never have thought of that, I don’t think the person who made the picture had any meaning with it besides just making a funny picture.
    People should stop thinking what evil intentions other people might have with their actions. Just assume the best, and live on.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t really see this as derogatory. Truman played the piano, Clinton played a saxophone, and Bush played a guitar. They were all made targets for mockery.

    Suppose you turn it around. Think Mozart, Marriage of Figaro, Se vuol ballare. If you want to dance, little Count, I’ll play the tune. At the end of my sword. Republicans think they’re in control? Not really. Without realizing it, they’re dancing to the President’s tune.

    Not that I actually believe that.

    BTW, what do you make of this: Black guy blowing into the mouthpiece, White guy holding the instrument and controlling the tone. Interracial teamwork? Or Black guy providing the effort while White guy is controlling the result?

    • black dog barking

      … and Bush played a guitar.

      AFAIK our dimmest President only played *at* playing the guitar, like out in San Diego the morning the levees breached and flooded into NOLA’s 9th ward.

  • seamus323

    I guess I’m racist for thinking that my voting for a black man for president would change things. 

  • Bystander

    I guess I “fail” at this one.  My first uncensored thought was someone editorializing that Obama blows his own horn.  ‘Course, it could be even simpler.  Obama blows.

  • a viewer

    what the hell makes you think this picture is racist?  only black people can play horns?  why is a black man playing a white man’s instrument?  a white man’s hands are holding the black man down?  the white man’s married so he must be a against gay marriage and hate minorities?  how the hell do you see life around you? 

  • Matt

    like a funeral in new orleans.

  • jonst

    I see it as being derogatory….first thing I thought of was the guy is a blowhard….full of hot air.  And I think it is, or would be, a well earned derision. 

  • fd

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  • fd

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  • Anonymous

    “Airhead” guitar?

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