The Obama Meme: Chapter 1

Yesterday I visited a craft fair in San Francisco. I wasn’t there as “zombie,” or looking for something political to blog about — I was just looking to shop for craft-y arts and accessories.

Luckily, I followed my new rule: Never leave home without a camera.

Because even here, in the most unlikely of places, the Obama Meme cropped up again. It seems there’s no way to avoid it. Amongst the handmade earrings and stuffed animals and trendy silkscreened t-shirts were images of our culture’s new folk icon, Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, I was more than halfway through the fair before I recognized the pattern of Obama imagery around me, so I didn’t photograph many of them. But I did catch a few snapshots of Obama idolatry as I strolled through the remaining booths.

Keep in mind that the craft fair was in no way political, and needless to say I didn’t see any other candidates mentioned or depicted. It’s just that iconic pictures of Obama have already become a standard feature in the fashion world. Is Obama the new Che?


Here’s a handmade greeting card featuring Obama as a Pez dispenser — or, in his case, “Prez” dispenser.


Here’s a hand-printed poster showing Stern Obama, making us feel guilty for our extravagances.


This blurry picture (sorry) shows a poster which optimistically refers to him already as “President Obama.”


Later, apropos of nothing, after I left the fair I noticed this “Commie” disguise in a novelty shop above a sign that said “Ready. Set. Hope.”


Right above it was an “Obama Rama” air freshener. (Note to company that makes this product: Wouldn’t “Obamaroma” have been a much better name?)

Any time I encounter further examples of the emerging “Obama Meme,” I’ll post them here.

UPDATE: The “Chicagoist” site posted this excellent collection of Obama folk designs several months ago. I didn’t realize that Obama meme-spotting was already a well-established sport!
(Thanks to reader Linda L. for finding the link.)

UPDATE #2: The “magpie and cake” crafting blog has another gallery of Obama-themed crafts from earlier this year.
(Thanks to reader Ringo the Gringo for the link.)

21 Responses to “The Obama Meme: Chapter 1”

  1. 1ProtestShooter on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm:

    That’s pretty disturbing – I’ve seen a certain amount of that kind of stuff but not in that kind of quantity.

  2. 2yochanan on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm:

    I am a artist but the artsy fartie crowd really drives me bonkers. most artists could not fart themseleves out of a wet paper bag and the whole subject of history, econ. don’t even go there.

  3. 3Shifra on Jul 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm:

    I think the Prez dispenser is cool, I could dispense with Obama pretty easily.

  4. 4Christina on Jul 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm:

    Does Obama remind anybody else of Harold Saxon from the new Doctor Who?

  5. 5Linda L on Jul 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm:

    Leave it to Zombie to spot the trends right under my nose:

    http://chicagoist.com/2008/02/04/art_design_obam.php

  6. 6zombie on Jul 13, 2008 at 11:14 pm:

    Linda L: Thanks for that comment! I have now updated the post with a link to Chicagoist’s Obama collection, and a hat tip for you.

  7. 7Ringo the Gringo on Jul 14, 2008 at 12:31 pm:

    More Obama arts and crafts here: http://magpieandcake.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-art.html

    I saw a guy at a park in North Hollywood last weekend with a lifesize cardboard cut out of Obama, he was charging people $2.00 to have their picture taken standing beside it.

  8. 8zombie on Jul 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm:

    Ringo: Great find! I’ve added your link as an update to the report.

  9. 9True Resistance on Jul 15, 2008 at 8:41 am:

    Blind worship is what happens when you mix black power mythology and white guilt with an empty suit politician. I wonder how many white Liberals are chomping at the bit to vote for “hope” and “change” in the form of house negro Obama. They have revealed themselves to be just as pathetic as the right wingers who support Bush and McCain types “because that’s what good citizens are supposed to do.”

    I awoke from a bad dream only to find that everyone else was still asleep. I looked left, I looked right and everywhere there were zombies. They were paying their taxes, accepting more government control over their lives and getting drunk and drugged on the weekends. The Hippies got high and tried to escape corporate life in a fit of substance abuse and denial. The Christians got angry and shrunk from the public sphere while prepairing to fight a war over morality. The traditional racists stockpiled weapons and sharpened their toungs as did the globalists. The race mixers revealed themselves to be not but another form of racist who favored the color brown. The extreme right and left both promised revolution and paradise. But nobody moved. The corporations still made money, the workers still worked and the dreamers still wished for a better life. The fringes of society still yelled and complained and did nothing.

    So I sit and watch and wait. How many have awoken, I wonder? How many are waiting just like I, for something good to come along? If I signal in the real world that change can be done, will anyone answer that they too are tired of the current situation and respond?

  10. 10Ringo the Gringo on Jul 15, 2008 at 10:10 am:

    True Resistance,

    While you “sit and watch and wait”, would you mind elaborating on the meaning of this idiotic comment?….

    “The race mixers revealed themselves to be not but another form of racist who favored the color brown.”

    /….let me guess, you’re a Ron Paul supporter?

  11. 11redtube on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:56 am:

    great work great site thx redtube ocm

  12. 12red tube on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm:

    sweet site man 10x red white and blue you tube

  13. 13True Resistance on Jul 15, 2008 at 4:36 pm:

    Ringo the Gringo,

    Are you sure you have a hard enough skin to discuss racial politics?

    The comment you refer to reflects conversations I’ve had with some mixed couples who loved the idea of white people turning into brown people. I suppose the majority of mixed couples probably just don’t care and only de facto support brown supremacy by virtue of their actions. When whites look the other way as governments favor white people it is called institutional racism. Do you really expect me not to throw a similar charge back in the face of those who’s actions favor brown people?

    When a white person and non-white person mix, a brown person usually comes out. This is considered good by “progressives” because of the relentless demonization of white people by public schools and media. Whether you call race mixing hybridization, genocide, or progress it adds up to the end of white people. When German state policy added up to the end of the Jewish people it was called the holocaust. Does the lack of direct murder make the very possible end of white people ok for you?

    I support Ron Paul for economic reasons. I tend to support candidates who’s ideals will give me the most advantage as you should support candadates who advantage you. Otherwise don’t complain when you end up with what you don’t want.

    Let me guess, when it comes to race, you go out of your way to never offend anyone other than white people? You probably have never had a conversation about race that didn’t end with you blaming the white man for most of everybody else’s problems. You probably also think nothing of whites dying out. We’re all the same you say. Those whites were mean and conquored so many of those other people so they deserve whatever hell they get…etc.

    I hope my assumptions are wrong about you. Feel free to get really upset and write back. Give the board a little more information about your point of view so that I, at least, can begin to understand you.

  14. 14Claire on Jul 15, 2008 at 4:56 pm:

    I was gonna make a joke and say “How is this worse than my set of Ronald and Nancy Salt and Pepper Shakers?” then I googled and there REALLY is such a thing, lol!

  15. 15Ashton on Jul 16, 2008 at 8:13 am:

    The holocaust is evil because people were being executed simply for their culture/ethnicity. If the Jewish culture/ethnicity (ditto with any other) intermixed with other cultures/ethnicity’s, why does it matter? Assuming that in 2000 years the Jews cease existence, it won’t matter. (Although obviously Judaism won’t be as popular, but anyway…) Romans don’t exist anymore, no one particularly cares outside of Romanophiles. If humanity survives for another million years, probably all of our cultures will have changed, and humanity will continue its existence regardless. Cultures rise up to the conditions in society, as do ethnic groups. (There isn’t much of a difference between blacks, whites, Asians, etc. besides things like nose sizes, eyes, and so on) Very few of the cultures from 500 BC exist today, and those that do have continued due to isolation but even then there are cultures within cultures such as the Uighurs in China.

  16. 16Ringo the Gringo on Jul 16, 2008 at 9:09 am:

    13 True Resistance,

    My goodness…

    Let’s see now; you’re a white separatist and Ron Paul supporter (how could I have guessed?)….but dude, you forgot to complete the trifecta by mentioning the secret neo-con / Zionist plot behind 9/11.

    You should really stop hitting the crystal-meth pipe before breakfast, it’s getting you off your game.

  17. 17True Resistance on Jul 16, 2008 at 7:03 pm:

    Ashton: I am not content to let my people simply slip away. In more rational times (from my point of view) this would not be considered strange or evil. Check the race of the people who have invented various machines and medicines that you take for granted in your life. What skin color do they have? Which skin color has a larger share of the inventors and which skin color has made the most meaningful advances? I bet you can guess the answer already. Skin color is a marker but the genetics behind it influence much more than color. Mixing inventors with non-inventors will reduce the expression of inventive genes. This will reduce the number of productive members of society and thus the quality of life for all people.

    Ringo the Gringo:

    You are good for a laugh.

    In the real world, calling someone a white separatist and Ron Paul supporter is not an argument. Neither is lamenting the absence of the consiracy theroy about Zionists having a hand in 9-11.

    Was there some point you were trying to make? Can you give some examples to back it up? Are those who read your words just supposed to agree with your view of the world?

    I don’t think you have the courage to admit your own prejudices. You don’t even seem to have a point of view that you feel comfortable sharing. This will make it hard to have any meaningful conversation with you.

  18. 18Ringo the Gringo on Jul 16, 2008 at 7:17 pm:

    True Resistance,

    You ask:

    “Does the lack of direct murder make the very possible end of white people ok for you?”

    My response is that I don’t give a hoot about a person’s skin color….I’d love to hear your reason why I should.

    You also say:

    “I support Ron Paul for economic reasons. I tend to support candidates who’s ideals will give me the most advantage as you should support candadates who advantage you.”

    How does supporting someone who stands no chance of winning give you any advantage?

    Looking forward to your reply.

  19. 19True Resistance on Jul 17, 2008 at 6:22 pm:

    Ringo the Gringo:

    Should you care about skin color? It is a question of asthetics and social status. What color is most beautiful to you and do you feel you have a right to influence society to favor one color over others? What if one color is already favored? Do you feel you have a right to maintain that favor or should it be shifted for some reason?

    A more interesting question is do you lie about your political beliefs to maintain your social status?

    I don’t believe you when you say “I don’t give a hoot about a person’s skin color.” That is like saying that you don’t care what color of clothes you wear. You can say it all you want to and people who know you can observe both the colors of people you most frequently hang out with and the colors of clothes you most frequently wear.

    Actions speak louder than words I’m sure you’ll agree. Unless you make a conscious effort to meet people of other colors and become good friends with them (keep in mind there is only so much time for one to do this), you are likely sharing your life with people who look quite similar to yourself.

    Supporting Ron Paul puts me in touch with like minded people. Supporting McCain or Obama puts me in touch with non-like minded people. Since I don’t get special favors from winners of elections and am not trying to infiltrate the halls of power, I don’t benefit greatly from either of the probable party nominees winning. Especially if I spend my time working with people who have different political views. Then all I will have is a bunch of people in my life that I can’t relate to who follow the new leader whom I also can’t relate to. I already know a ton of those people anyway because until a few years ago I was a hardline multiculturalist. I have changed a great deal as you can see.

    Your website says you frequent the Los Angelos area. I’m quite far away near Blacksburg, Virginia. It is a very Liberal area. Many of the residents could stunt double for the characters in your and Zombie’s photographs.

  20. 20Ringo the Gringo on Jul 18, 2008 at 1:29 pm:

    True Resistance,

    “I don’t believe you when you say “I don’t give a hoot about a person’s skin color.” That is like saying that you don’t care what color of clothes you wear. You can say it all you want to and people who know you can observe both the colors of people you most frequently hang out with and the colors of clothes you most frequently wear.

    Actions speak louder than words I’m sure you’ll agree. Unless you make a conscious effort to meet people of other colors and become good friends with them (keep in mind there is only so much time for one to do this), you are likely sharing your life with people who look quite similar to yourself.”
    —————————————————————————————–

    Actually I’m one of those dreaded “race mixers” that you refer to in your comment above, and the most of the time I am the only “white” person in my own home.

    Your fixation with the color of people’s skin is more than a pathetic obsession, it’s the sign of a dull and shallow mind.

    Your life must be a miserable one.

    I feel sorry for you.

  21. 21Ashton on Jul 19, 2008 at 2:32 am:

    “Ashton: I am not content to let my people simply slip away. In more rational times (from my point of view) this would not be considered strange or evil. Check the race of the people who have invented various machines and medicines that you take for granted in your life. What skin color do they have? Which skin color has a larger share of the inventors and which skin color has made the most meaningful advances? I bet you can guess the answer already. Skin color is a marker but the genetics behind it influence much more than color. Mixing inventors with non-inventors will reduce the expression of inventive genes. This will reduce the number of productive members of society and thus the quality of life for all people.”
    —————————————————————————————–
    You forget that Africans were also inventive. Of course they couldn’t do much in the field of medicine (fighting daily for basic survival needs due to a harsh climate tends to make that quite hard) whereas Europe had influences both from Asia and the Arab world, not to mention a much more stable environment. (Ditto with Asia and to a lesser extent the Middle East) You’re underestimating the effect trade and local environments have on things. Look up the Mali Empire, which was extremely wealthy and influential due to trade with Arabs and, by extension, with the rest of the world. How did Mali get so rich by trade? Gold mainly, and you can’t do much with gold besides use it as currency or wear it. You certainly can’t eat it or make medicines (at least not until recently to my knowledge) with it or anything like that. This is what Africa mainly has, resources. And most of Africa was too isolated to trade.

    Quite a few blacks today are doctors, scientists, etc. The first man to do a heart surgery was black, for example. Lets not forget that most medicines were made by other ethnic groups because up until the mid 1900′s blacks generally had far inferior living standards, education, etc. either in Africa itself or abroad. As an example, Malcolm X wanted to become a lawyer, but his teacher said that it was an unrealistic goal for a “nigger”, so he abandoned it. It’s the same reason why Albanians today aren’t good in medicine (they’re the poorest country in Europe) ditto with Bosnians, Uighurs, Turkmen, Tajiks, Roma, etc. They generally weren’t/aren’t expected to get those type of jobs unless they’re wealthy, and even then they have to compete with the established European and American medical communities and such, which are much better funded and can thus afford to be more informed and cutting edge. This obviously makes breakthroughs difficult.