Tuesday, December 17, 2013


There's a story at Fox Nation right now titled "Creepiest Obama Story Yet Just Got Creepier." Really? We're being told something is the "creepiest Obama story yet" by Fox? It's got to be staggeringly creepy! What's the story?

The story (via American Thinker) is this:
Rick Moran called the hanging of a huge Barack Obama portrait at the US Embassy in London the "Creepiest Obama story yet" yesterday. But it gets worse. Check out the size and placement (hat tip: Weasel Zippers) of the portrait, a tapestry by renowned Chuck Close, a government-approved (National Medal of Arts winner) artist. Ladies and gentlemen, we are well into Dear Leader territory:

Following along so far? There's a large portrait of the president by Chuck Close -- one of the best living portraitists in the world. But because he's won a National Medal of Arts, he's a "government-approved" artist. And because the portrait has been hung at our embassy in London, and Obama's head is bigger than the heads of nearby photos (because, y'know, that's Chuck Close's style), this is morally equivalent to something one of the Kims would do in the totalitarian hellscape of North Korea.

This became a brouhaha on the right over the weekend, when Twitchy posted this:

and this (photo credit: U.S. Embassy, London):

That, by the way, is the same embassy outside which you'll find this Ronald Reagan statue, unveiled in 2011:

Here's the whole thing:

Yeah, nothing creepy about that.

So why do right-wingers think this sory has become "even creepier"?
Here's the kicker:
"The tapestry is one of 10 that will be made available for sale (at $100,000 each) as part of a fundraiser supporting the Obama Victory Fund." [italics in original]
That's right: our Embassy to the United Kingdom is displaying a propaganda portrait created for the purpose of raising a million dollars to propel President Obama to a second term.
Um, no -- our Embassy to the United Kingdom is displaying a portrait made by a serious artist. Yes, he made ten such tapestry portraits and sold them to benefit Obama. But this is his art. It's not something you wheat-paste on a wall.

That Reagan statue? That was connected to a campaign, too -- the permanent campaign, on both sides of the Atlantic, to sell conservatism as the ideology to which (as Margaret Thatcher would have put it) there is no alternative. Here's some information about that statue:

"The Conservative Way" is actually the Conservative Way Forward, which, according to The Telegraph, was described by Prime Minister David Cameron "as the largest and most effective pressure group within the Tory party." The statue is clearly part of Reagan/Thatcherism's ongoing propaganda efforts. No complaints from the right about that.


Unknown said...

They twist themselves into such knots now that they can't just come out and say "n!&&@r."

Ten Bears said...

Penis envy.

No fear.

Victor said...

What Rick and Ten Bears said.

Danp said...

How can you look at that smile and not think of Kim Jung Il?

Glennis said...

There's nothing creepy about either of them. They're normal. Get over it, idiots.

Danp, if you think that, there's something wrong with you.

Leah said...

I'm sure that Danp was being sarcastic.

Terrific post, Steve.

Of course if Obama had humbly suggested that Close do a standing figure of him to better fit in with the Washington and Lincoln paintings, and to avoid Obama's head overshadowing theirs, wouldn't the twitchers still have concluded that Obama was the moral equivalent of a North Korean despot; look, he made an artist change his style to serve Obama's own ego, oh and look, he's comparing himself to Washington and Lincoln?

We all know the answer, and many thanks to you, Steve for keeping track of all the nonsense they produce, the sheer volume of which has a much larger impact on the national dialogue than it deserves, and from which your blog is a welcome retreat.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the few times when I find myself agreeing, a little bit, with the right-wing reaction*. It does seem quite big-brotherish in its oversize appearance. Maybe this is the photographer's style, and it wouldn't look as out of place along with his other work.

Unless they start pasting them up all over the place there's no actual problem, but I don't like the photo.

(*I also agree with them that incandescent light bulbs look better than the alternatives. That's about it)

Anonymous said...

"Maybe this is the photographer's style, and it wouldn't look as out of place along with his other work."

The artist is named Chuck Close. Immense, meticulous, close-up paintings / prints / photos / tapestries of faces is WHAT HE DOES. Try a Google image search.

Better yet, try going to your local art museum and see if they have one of his pieces. The AGO in Toronto has one and it's breathtaking.

Look, I'll make it even easier for you with a link and the opening sentences:


"Charles Thomas "Chuck" Close (born July 5, 1940) is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. Though a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, he has continued to paint and produce work that remains sought after by museums and collectors."

Steve M. said...

Here's a room full of his work:


Anonymous said...

My point is, Close's style looks out of place among the much more classical portraits. The print would look fine in the other gallery.

There is visual dissonance and it serves to make Obama look "bigger" -- this is bad curation. And his grin is a little creepy.