Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama Tours San Francisco

While President Obama was speaking to the nation about closing Guantanamo, he was also touring San Francisco via cable cars and the back of conversion vans.

He's a versatile guy, that Obama . . .

Okay, so granted, the president may actually be able to inhabit many spheres at once, but even he is subject to the laws of physics. If you're wondering how he can be in two places at once, it may be obvious now that the other Obama--the one speaking to reporters in D.C.--is made entirely of wax. The real one was here in San Francisco getting his groove on in the Haight.

He was a little hung over Tuesday morning (above), but his handlers took pretty good care of him.

In truth, the wax Obama was the one here in the Bay Area. It is part of a large scale wax figure exhibit in which the wax Obama kicks the wax Barry Bond's ass. Rumor has it both will be dressed up as lucha libres and on display in front of AT&T Park.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last Sunday's cover of The New York Times Magazine featured a contemplative image of President Obama. We know he is deep in thought because of his posture.

To indicate thought, one must have some part of the hand pressed against the face, or, preferably the head. Think of Rodin's The Thinker.

Think also of Walter Benjamin. No one's author photos are more about thought than his. In fact, in one of the photos, he seems to be in pain he's thinking so hard.

So, the semiotics of this cover place Obama in the line of people who have been known to be driven more by thought than anger, more by reflection than reaction. The Benjamin photo on the right makes him look like he's debating about which wedge of cheese to put on his cracker, whereas the image of Obama creates an aura of deep thought. It takes his entire left hand to hold up his head there are so many ideas in there.

What does this mean? Well, it may tell us more about Obama than the cover itself. That is, it tells us what we think about Obama. We replicate what we already believe.

I believe I like this cover. It wavers between illustration and photorealism. Its color palette is almost washed out, and that flatness contrasts against the depth of Obama's visage. The effect is essentially positive.

Ultimately, this cover evokes a dignified, reflective, intelligent president, who may or may not be thinking about his post move.