Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama on People and Us

One of our projects has been to chart the movement of Barack Obama from political culture into the realm of popular culture, but his appearance this week on the covers of People and Us marks a new level of super stardom--even for the messiah.

What's interesting about these covers is not that Barack and Michelle Obama are on them, after all, they are the President and First Lady Elect. What is fascinating are the stories they tell and the images used to tell those stories.

In both cases, the covers indicate a metaphorics of struggle, a thematic of overcoming. Note how unlike the recent covers on Time, The Economist, and Rolling Stone Obama is smiling, as if to indicate arrival. In some of the previous photos, Obama has come off as aloof or cold, but now that he's "won," it seems to be safe to represent his victory as proof of his perseverance.

Also interesting is the fact that it now seems okay to represent him less as an allegory and more as a regular guy. That he graces People and Us merely reinforces his status as someone who is able to bridge those seemingly unbridgeable worlds.

No comments: