Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Commodifying Obama

Once again, at Global Comment.

Obama has become something you have to have a piece of–a commodity for sale, sometimes on eBay to the highest bidder, other times for the bargain price of way too much for whichever tacky design was slapped on some material that will last long enough for your kids to sell it back on eBay twenty years from now.

The similarity to the ubiquitous Che Guevara (himself back in the pop culture spotlight with the new Soderbergh movie) is interesting, but ultimately Obama has become a symbol before even really having the chance to be President. He won’t be sworn in for another week, but his image is being appropriated all over the place. Before the election, no publicity was bad publicity, but the post-election explosion of Obama image-plastering is less about propaganda than it is about profits...

Obama’s opponents often mocked his celebrity, but in our capitalist culture, none of them have shown up to critique the transition of Obama into a good to be sold. Perhaps, after all, that is how some people are most comfortable with Obama. He’s a thing they can control, if they can buy and sell it...

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