Thursday, February 28, 2008

Us Weekly features an interview with Senator Barack Obama that has got to be one of the most researched and highly tactical moves he’s made to humanize himself and really hammer home that he’s accessible to young people. It’s actually really well done on his part because it’s about as pre-fabricated as a gossip item about how likable and funny Madonna is.

Some excepts from the Us interview:

How familiar are you with Us Weekly?

My wife reads it.

Utter crap. I refuse to believe that Michelle Obama reads Us Weekly ever. Although, if she did, it would make her just like so many other American women and not a virtually unknown black woman whose husband is running for president. Imagine.

Do your daughters Sasha and Malia ever ask about Britney Spears?

Actually, yeah. But they're very sensible. They're pretty down on Britney and Paris and all of that. They think that's very "yuck." They're way more into Hannah Montana and Beyonce. They got to go backstage and meet Beyonce and they just love her to death.

Ask about Britney Spears? What? Ask who and ask what? This answer is about as calculated and based on market research as the Clinton campaign to figure out which song would be their official campaign song a while back. Here Obama is rejecting the wilting zeitgeist that is Paris Hilton who more or less represents the lowest common denominator of American culture and he’s also distancing himself from Britney Spears because she represents the American dream gone horrifyingly wrong due to inconvenient humanity and sad, sincere mental anguish and probably illness. Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone wrote that perky always beats solemn in politics (or something like that. I don't have the article in front of me). Hannah Montana and Beyonce are nothing if not perky. I mean, they're certainly not human so they have to be something.

Your supporters include Oprah Winfrey. Ever been starstruck?

I don't really get starstruck. Everyone I've met has been very nice and friendly, like Kal Penn. During the writers' strike, he was like a staffer! And Scarlett Johansson has been traveling a lot. George Clooney is a good friend. He and I worked on Darfur issues together. I'm always impressed by people who do their homework... and use their celebrity to advocate for issues. George does that just about as well as anyone I know.

This is a genius way to link himself to people who may not care yet because the chances are if people are reading Us Weekly then they identify quite strongly with celebrity icons as moral compasses and concentrated symbols of the collective libido. Scarlett Johansson is basically walking feminine sexuality and George Clooney is a walking symbol of classic old school glamour and masculinity. He’s specifically targeted the male and female centerpieces of the Us Weekly demographic.

So, boxers or briefs?

Bill Clinton said he wore boxers in a 1992 interview with MTV.I don't answer those humiliating questions. But whichever one it is, I look good in 'em!

So, this question is completely inane and Obama still gives the perfect answer. Not playing along in real sense but still thrusting out some sex appeal that middle aged women can latch onto. I mean, they ask this question of the freaking Backstreet Boys. (Incidentally, why can’t they take a poll and include John Edwards and General Wesley Clark?) How American as well; to refuse to engage on a conscious sexual level but to hint at it clearly underneath and to then immediately profit. Perfect. [source]

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