Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Passion of the Obama

Ever since Barack Obama arrived on the national political scene at the Democratic National Convention a few years back, Democrats have declared him their personal savior. They have placed him on a pedestal (albeit one that had previously been erected for Hilary Clinton) and stated their belief that not only would he save their party from another crushing Presidential defeat, but that he could single-handedly save American politics. While he seems, to a large extent, to be playing politics as usual (admittedly, with a bit more charisma than most candidates possess), the declarations of Obama as a political Messiah still ring out.

So it should come as no real surprise that an artists out of Chicago has taken the words of the pundits and made them into something of a reality, with his sculpture picturing Obama in the robes of Jesus, complete with a neon halo. This, of course, somes just a short time after the OTHER recent Jesus sculpture, the one made out of chocolate. And, naturally, people are getting angry about the work of art.

The artist, David Cordero, is trying to take the high road, pointing out that the sculpture was in response to the buzz surrounding the candidate. He also says, "In a lot of ways it's about caution in assigning all these inflated expectations on one individual, and expecting them to change something that many hands have shaped." Of course, this is America, and the last thing we want to express towards anyone we see as being charismatic and popular is any sort of caution. After all, look at all the rest of the idol worship that we do, sometimes even towards people who were NOT involved with American Idol.

Cordero has latched onto a piece of the zeitgeist, and this may be the exact thing that is causing such an uproar. People have been proclaiming Obama as a political savior, and to have the image thrust into their faces may actually cause them to question their stance. There's also the notion that people will either feel that the sculpture is bastardizing either the image of the Senator or the Messiah, and both are (at least currently) considered to be fairly untouchable of subjects.

But we have to wonder exactly where the problem lies. It's not like Cordero is claiming that Obama was the child of a virgin birth, found in a manger by the three wise spokesmen. He didn't craft an entire series, with Joseph Lieberman as Judas, Hilary as Pilate, and the rest of the Democrats as the apostles. And he certainly didn't try and draw comparisons between GDub and King Herod (who, from what we remember of Jesus Christ Superstar, was rather buffoonish). He simply took the image foisted upon us all from day one and made it into a reality.

Perhaps that's the problem. Maybe Cordero didn't take his message quite far enough. Maybe we need to see John Kerry the Baptist. Or Pelosi the Magdalene. And how about the thought of Romney as Caiaphas. Or maybe we should just let this little outburst die down. After all, we're fairly certain that the big news for the next two days will once again be Sanjaya Malakar, and whatever he does to his hair.

After all, if we don't have reality television or bizarre "controversies" to worry ourselves over, we might actually have to take a look at the real issues.

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