Saturday, August 25, 2012

Just a reminder

Any time you hear someone complaining about "birthers," it's worth remembering that Barack Obama was being marketed as a Kenyan native by his literary agent.

And as Jim Treacher points out at the Daily Caller, this went on for a long time:

This was the author bio Obama provided to his literary agent in 1991, and it was uncovered months ago by our friends at Obama used this bio for over 15 years, and it was revised a number of times. But he only changed it to indicate his true place of birth, Hawaii, once he decided to run for president.

He has yet to explain why he lied in the first place, but he doesn’t have to. He lied because he’s Barack Obama, and that’s what Barack Obama does.

And it's also worth remembering that Barack Obama has had no trouble marketing himself in other ways as well, as this old poster from his Chicago days indicates:

Yep -- it's none other than "Baraka Obama" on the ol' discussion panel.

So what do these things mean? I've argued before that they don't mean as much as some of my more excitable brethren would have you believe. I'm a copywriter by trade and the first thing you learn in my business is that you have to address the concerns and conceits of your target audience. And in the case of Barack Obama, he was trying to sell himself as a radical to the sorts of people that Tom Wolfe effectively skewered some 42 years ago:

. . . and now, in the season of Radical Chic, the Black Panthers. That huge Panther there, the one Felicia is smiling her tango smile at, is Robert Bay, who just 41 hours ago was arrested in an altercation with the police, supposedly over a .38-caliber revolver that someone had, in a parked car in Queens at Northern Boulevard and 104th Street or some such unbelievable place, and taken to jail on a most unusual charge called “criminal facilitation.” And now he is out on bail and walking into Leonard and Felicia Bernstein’s 13-room penthouse duplex on Park Avenue. Harassment & Hassles, Guns & Pigs, Jail & Bail—they’re real, these Black Panthers. The very idea of them, these real revolutionaries, who actually put their lives on the line, runs through Lenny’s duplex like a rogue hormone. 

Barack Obama couldn't be a Black Panther, but he could be the son of an "American anthropologist and Kenyan finance minister." He could market himself by borrowing the name of the poet Amiri Baraka. He could be whatever you wanted him to be, a more polite version of a rogue hormone. But he could also be the embodiment of Hope and Change. He'll tell you one and one makes three:

The problem with Barack Obama isn't how he's chosen to market himself over the years. The problem is the product. And the most amusing part? One of the enduring themes of the Obama '12 campaign is that his opponent is somehow weird and inauthentic.

Some day, many years on, we'll look back on the audacity of the Audacity of Hope. And we'll shake our heads in amazement in the scope of the delusion.

1 comment:

CousinDan 54915 said...

And he's a damn liar. Oh, I'm sorry, you already said that Mr. D.