“I think we are really being played if — in analyzing “Celeb,” the McCain Obama-attack video — we go so far as unearth the racist sexual stereotypes but overlook the possible allusions to violence itself.” writes Michael Shaw in today’s Huffington Post. He’s right of course – the flash bulbs obscuring Obama’s face in a video gloomily contrasting his face against the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton suggest an almost savage attack on the politician – though to be very specific about it, the violence captured in this video is a pre-existing message within the material itself. Certainly, Paul Pfeiffer’s Four Horseman of the Apocalype (7), [above] indicates as much, an image the artist similarly culled from media footage of a completely different nature. Here, the athlete’s exuberance seems more a violent public crucifiction than it does an exultation. On the one hand an argument could be made in both cases that the material taken out of context, reads differently than it does in the footage, though after watching the effects of constant media scrutiny on celebrities, it has to be said, that such depictions are sadly, not that far off from the truth.
On a related note, I wonder whether its possible to pen the argument that convinces the general public that the violence captured is actually there. Not to belittle the importance of the spot by the following comparison, but this question mostly comes from finding it impossible to convince people Peter Jackson used a giant flaming vagina eye to represent the evil villain Sauron in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Like a lot of subliminal imagery, my thoughts were dismissed as “reading too much into it”, a phrase I’m sure we’ll see quite a bit of in response to Shaw’s critique.