Quoted (WTF Edition): Frances McCaffery on Obama

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

What was so beautiful about this? Well, although Obama has all the “presidential” characteristics – the capacity to inspire, the sonorous, soaring voice, the cool, soothing nature – we were all able to create him in the individual image we all needed him to be: someone who refused to be victimized, took control of his life and became self-realized; someone who lost his way and then regained his footing spectacularly; someone who was an insider-outsider, both simultaneously smooth and authentic.

To everyone saying we were swilling the Kool-Aid, charmed by his very image, I say this: this image was ours. It was ours! The idea of racial inequality being righted in our lifetimes somehow realized our American Dream.

—Frances McCaffery, “How Obama Carried Me Home,” in this month’s Adbusters.

Latoya’s Note: I don’t know if I can express how I felt reading this seemly innocuous passage on the metro yesterday. The rest of McCaffery’s article talks about feelings of alienation and reconnection, all from this one person. I’m not sure if the feelings started because I was reading this piece in Adbusters. I enjoy reading the mag and their overall message, but years have passed and they seem completely and totally disinterested in anti-racist, feminist, or anti-colonialist thought. They will occassionally publish criticism in their letters section asking why Adbusters is full of white images or why Adbusters didn’t quote radical feminist economic theorists, or why Adbusters is enamoured with the idea of “noble savages” unspoiled by our consumerist Western ways, but seem to have no desire to change these things – or even engage critically with these critiques within their pages. So, with that context, these specific words of hope and targeted praise seem a bit chilling.

Do they (McCaffery and Adbuster’s editors) really think that casting a vote “righted” racial inequality? Really? With that line, the ones before it talking about “refusing to be vicitimized” took on an ugly sheen. Like the neo-boostrap argument. Sounds like the same old bullshit and it Smells Like Teen Spirit. – LDP