Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On Radar, art and racism's old tricks

By now, Radar Magazine's highly racialized and sexualized cover has turned more than a few heads. The cover, originally intended to be a spoof of a Vanity Fair special edition on Hollywood. Editors claim:
“Candidates have become as manufactured as movie stars: coached on every aspect of their dress and demeanor, and supplied with perky sound-bites for spontaneous delivery on Letterman. Which is why, as we set out to plan the cover of Radar’s Politics issue, it seemed appropriate to do a little facile packaging of our own.”

But if today's politicians are more mechanized than ever before, our country's dealings with race and gender in art and media remain the same. RaceWire points out that:
The gender and racial implications of this cover are disturbing— just look at the placement and hierarchy of the candidates. At the highest point of the layout we have the white male (and the only candidate worthy of clothes), Guilliani, second to a nude Clinton— and at their feet a naked Black man, Obama, lying down!

If the potential Presidential candidates were all white men, they’d be in suits. During the 2000 election, Al Gore and George Bush were shown in masks or comic strip satire. Even Schwarzenegger didn’t get the nude treatment and there were plenty of those to go around—no photoshop needed. Now, we finally have a woman and a Black man running and the first instinct is to objectify and hypersexualize.

** And just when you thought Obama was starting to gain ground by refusing to wear the american flag pin as a blind item of patriotism, he's starting to slip up. Now he's pandering to the interests of Black Southern conservatives by campaigning with vehemently anti-gay gospel choirs. Check it out here.


Kori said...

I'm sorry but I'm really kind of over Obama at this point. I think the guy has charisma out the anus and good instincts, but the way he sees "winning" the election is real disturbing, catering to corporate interests, Zionists, military folk, and apparently the religious right as well. We'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

To Kori:
I don't think there's really anybody else left in the primaries. There's Clinton, Obama, and then there's Gravel, which everybody's forgot about. Gravel is the only true progressive in the race -- he's the only one with the nerve to call Ariel Sharon a "war criminal" -- but I found it hard to vote for him. He's got the best platform, but he's like your nutty eccentric old uncle. I ended up going for Obama.
Full-discosure: I'm white, lower-middle-class (40K/yr in NYC) and my first choice was Kucinich.