What Happens to the Posters After the Election?
Like Batman or the Virgin of Guadalupe, Barack Obama's face has become an icon of popular devotion--unusual in American politics. As long as the election campaign is still going on, the Obama imagery is inspiring but innocuous, combining the escapist glamour of a tween's Hannah Montana bed linens with the fan enthusiasm of a Tony Romo jersey. While Obamania may seem excessive to outsiders, so do Comic-Con and Clemson tailgating parties. Besides, some of the merchandising is just that--an entrepreneurial way of playing to the passions of the moment. "Yes We Can Cola" is all in fun. (And Jones Soda did make other campaign colas.)
If Obama is elected president, however, the man in the pictures is no longer a symbol of identity and aspiration. He's the boss, "Leader of the Free World." He has power. Ubiquitous images of his face take on a creepy Dear Leader quality, implicitly commanding obedience.
Read the rest at DeepGlamour.net.
I have further thoughts on Obama at Reason.com.