Man of a thousand faces continued

Earlier I noted that test subjects respond favorably to photographs of politicians that have been morphed to look a bit like the person viewing them. (This is probably true not just of photographs of politicians, but pictures of rock stars, actors and your great aunt Edna. People like seeing a bit of themselves reflected in the image they are viewing. Hence my classic pickup line, “do you have any Wil Forbis in you? Would you like some?” But I digress…)

As mentioned, Obama might benefit from this because of his ethnically vague appearance — he is half black, but he could pass for Pakistani, Hispanic etc.

Okay, hold that thought. The other day I was trolling around on some website which listed many of the complaints of progressives have about Obama. They see him largely as a corporate shill beholden to the military-industrial complex.

Now, contrast that against tea party accusations that Obama is simultaneously a Muslim, a commie and a socialist (actually, it’s not just tea partiers on the last one, 55% of the nation view Obama as such*.)

I don’t think any president during my lifetime has been accused of such a wide range of contradictory beliefs.

So the question becomes how can presumably sane human beings arrive at such disparate conclusions about one politician? (Of course, presuming sanity when talking about the political fringes on the left or the right may be a shaky proposition.) There seems to be an interesting parallel here: just as Obama can encapsulate a wide range of racial characteristics, so too can he embody a great number of political and religious beliefs. Part of his appeal is that people from across the racial spectrum see a part of themselves in him. Part of his deficit is that people find a way see the embodiment of their political or cultural enemies within him.

Are these two facets connected? Thinking…

* Side point here, but I’m not sure even I find the socialist label inappropriate, though I think “socialistic” would be more apt. That said, if Obama is a socialist based on his policies, then so certainly was Bush.

6 Responses to “Man of a thousand faces continued”


  1. Larwence

    And Nixon.

  2. John Saleeby

    I was kind of bummed out cause this suit case has been outside my apartment for the past few days and I’m afraid to touch it. It might blow up and I’ll lose my arm.
    So I watched a few Shonen Knife videos on U Tube and that cheered me up a little bit. Better than watching that “Social Network” trailer over and over again. I’ve only watched it twice today. Maybe I shouldn’t go see that Movie.
    I’ve written fifty four pages in the past six days. In a while I’ll go to The Waffle House, drink some coffee, write some more.
    Why is there a suitcase outside my apartment?

  3. Wil

    YouTube! It’s YouTube!

  4. John Saleeby

    Hey, are you making Slow Donny references?

    What a crazy guy!

  5. Wil

    Weird -I wasn’t but I was just thinking about that Just Shoot Me episode the other day.

  6. John Saleeby

    Shonen Knife has a “Slow Donny” song.