Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In Shocking Move, Annie Leibovitz Photographs Little-Known Junior Senator from Illinois

The visionaries at Men's Vogue have chosen to grace their October cover with an obscure junior Senator who's earned the respect of his peers via his dogged advocacy of, um, and his resounding success at, um, something, or whatever. But look how cute he is:

I'm gonna go ahead and be the first to say it: he just looks so presidential.

In conjunction with a Biography Channel program about the parallels between Obama and JFK, photographer Annie Liebovitz has not so subtly positioned the Obama family as our 21st century Camelot. The photos are, of course, absolutely gorgeous. I will leave it to our readers to supply their own commentary about celebrity culture and electoral politics, about the inevitability of Katharine McPhee's presidential bid announced the day after she turns 35 (but will that be her birth certificate age or her showbiz age?).

It's also worth reminding ourselves of this anecdote, a meditation on Obama's profound vacuousness:

One of the finest scenes in the book, a scene that has haunted me since I read it, is set at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, where BHL comes face-to-face with Barack Obama, who has just given the speech that made his a household name:
“Bernard-Henri Lévy,” he repeats, mocking me a little ... “With a name like that, you would have been a big hit at the convention.” ... I ask, “And what about ‘Barack Obama’? With a name like that, and with the success you had last night, you should be able to become president of the United States in five minutes.” He laughs. Thumps me on the chest, pulls away a little as if to gather momentum to land a better punch, gives me a hug, laughs again, and repeats, like a nursery rhyme, “Barack Obama, Bernard-Henri Lévy ...”

The embrace is paranoid, the familiarity grotesque. The two unheimlich homeboys, two mere names hugging like boldface refugees from Page Six, seem captured for a moment in a celebrity feedback loop. It portrays vividly the eerie absence in American public life that for Tocqueville was our specialty, the lack at the heart or the head that makes us so carefree yet so potentially scary.
Oh, America.

But what really mortified me in the same issue was this article:

(I think that's actually a stock photo of a certain Lebanese-American pseudo-cowboy from Deep Springs in 1994, but anyhow)

Talk about political cynicism. This is a guy who grew up in suburban Florida (when he wasn't in the DC corridors of power). What the hell is he doing striking a cowboy pose? Coul he more blatantly be positioning himself as his uncle's successor (right down to marrying some ditzy Texas sorority girl)?

Worst of all, I worry that the following might slightly endear Neda Cole to the familia Bush.

When the family assembles for sundowners on Gampy's porch in Kennebunkport, what do they argue about? Abortion? Gay rights? Iraq? Actually, backgammon. "It's really serious," P. intones. "One of the most read books in our family is Backgammon for Blood."

Are you sure you want to come here for graduate school, Neda?


  • At 6:41 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…


    I put so much effort into finding the pretty pictures... But I guess no one is feeling this post...


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