The Iconic Obama, 2007–2009

Essays on Media Representations of the Candidate and New President

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About the Book

How is Barack Obama represented in popular culture? More than the United States’ 44th president, he is also a lens through which we can examine politics, art, comics, and music in various contexts. The essays in this collection focus on the buildup to the 2008 election as well as Obama’s first year as president, a brief historical moment in which “Obama” was synonymous with possibility. The contributors represent a variety of scholarly fields such as film, journalism, mass communication, popular culture and African American studies, each adding a unique perspective on Obama’s relationship to American culture.

About the Author(s)

Nicholas A. Yanes is a Ph.D. graduate candidate (ABD) in the University of Iowa’s Department of American Studies and a Dean’s Graduate Fellow. He has published multiple pieces on popular culture. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
Derrais Carter is an American Studies doctoral candidate at The University of Iowa where he also teaches rhetoric. He has previously published essays on black masculinity and feminism. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Nicholas A. Yanes and Derrais Carter
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 2 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4602-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9269-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      xi

Introduction

DERRAIS CARTER      1

ONE—Forging a Brand: Introducing Obama-Mania

Popular Culture in the Age of Obama

ANGELA NELSON      9

The Modern E Pluribus Unum Man: How Obama Constructed His American Identity from His Global Background

ETSE SIKANKU AND NICHOLAS A. YANES      16

Myth, Symbol, and the Branding of an American Presidency

PATRICK B. ORAY      28

TWO—Film and Television: Change Televised

Character-in-Chief: Barack Obama and His Pop Culture Predecessors

JUSTIN S. VAUGHN      45

Barack Obama or B. Hussein? The Post-Racial Debate in Boston Legal

JENNY BANH      63

THREE—Hip-Hop Culture: Remixed Response to Obama’s Popularity

“The Audacity of Dope”: Rap Music, Race, and the Obama Presidency

TRAVIS L. GOSA      85

The Politics of Tagging: Shepard Fairey’s Obama

ERIKA SCHNEIDER      97

FOUR—Comic Books: Obama’s Popularity and the Original Superhero Medium

Obama and Spider-Man: A Meta-Data Media Analysis of an Unlikely Pairing

ROBERT G. WEINER AND SHELLEY E. BARBA      113

Comics and Politics: An Interview with Larry Hama, Creator of Barack the Barbarian

NICHOLAS A. YANES      128

FIVE—News Media and New Media: The Impact of Presidential News Politics and Digital Social Networks

Change That Couldn’t Happen: News Media’s Commitment to Hegemonic Masculinity through Collective Memory in the 2008 Presidential Election

ROBERT E. GUTSCHE, JR., JAMES CARVIOU, AND RAUF ARIF      133

The President Speaks to America’s Schoolchildren: Outline of a Brouhaha

JOHN T. “JACK” BECKER      151

Obama Jungle Fever: Interracial Desire on the Campaign Trail

CAROLINE A. STREETER      167

How to Understand Obama’s Election News Coverage: An Interview with Daniel Berkowitz

NICHOLAS A. YANES, WITH DERRAIS CARTER AND ROBERT E. GUTSCHE, JR.      184

New Media’s Impact on Elections: An Interview with Obama Girl Creator Ben Relles

JAMES CARVIOU      189

SIX—International Responses: Obama’s Popularity Goes Global

Obama for Obama: Barack Obama in Japanese Popular Culture

YUYA KIUCHI      197

Obama-Mania in Turkey: Popular Culture and the Forty-Fourth President of the United States in a Secular Muslim Nation

ZAFER PARLAK AND TANFER EMIN TUNC      213

France’s News Media and Obama’s French Popularity: Interview with Sébastian Compagnon

NICHOLAS A. YANES      231

Conclusion: What Happened to Obama-Mania?

NICHOLAS A. YANES      236

Appendix: A Bibliography of Obama in Comics

NICHOLAS A. YANES      245

About the Contributors      251

Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating text”—Journal of American Culture; “fascinating”—American Studies; “a well-done project”—Journal of Communication Inquiry.