Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Splash Page

A few weeks ago, when I went to Barack Obama’s home page, I was greeted with a sepia-toned photograph of the senator, his wife, and two daughters (now it’s a photograph of Obama and John Edwards, who recently endorsed him). In the photograph, the family are smiling. They are dressed semi-formally, with the senator wearing a white shirt and trousers, and his wife wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a print skirt. Both children are draped over the senator.

It’s pretty clear why Obama’s campaign has you enter the site this way. It’s an appeal to emotions, positive ones, a reminder that Obama is first of all a family man. Practically, this is important—all presidents of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been married. As a potential voter, perhaps you have children, or perhaps you want children. Even if you don’t, as a Democrat you probably won’t begrudge Obama including his family, and if you are an independent or Republican, you probably won’t either.

While an unmarried person could be president, the selection of married people as candidates and presidents suggests a certain conservativeness in the general populace, one that Obama is undoubtedly trying to tie into.

But this is as much about class as it is about family. The photograph also displays a stereotypical version of the middle class, with two parents together with two children. It does not look that different from an advertisement for home décor—it’s a comfortable looking ad. It’s clear this is the American Dream looking out at us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

post about the shoes!!