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Designing Obama
September 1, 2010 4:59 AM   Subscribe

The Obama presidential campaign was an innovation in American politics and American design. For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people—capturing their voices in a visual way. The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, has collaborated with artists and designers to create Designing Obama, a chronicle of the art from the historic campaign. Funded via Kickstarter, they have created a book and an iPad app. You can download the book in PDF format for free.
posted by sveskemus (57 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how things would have gone if they'd chosen the "goatse" design on page 4. Probably the same, but with more giggling.
posted by chavenet at 5:14 AM on September 1, 2010


I voted for him in spite of that ugly campaign artwork.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:16 AM on September 1, 2010


So it wasn't the ideas, the energy, the fact that Obama can give a speech like Daniel Webster, or the fact that his primary opponent carried much of Bill's baggage or that his Republican opponent was the worst president in the history of the union. No, it was the logo. Got that. Check.
posted by localroger at 5:22 AM on September 1, 2010


localroger, why does it have to be one or the other? Could it not be a combination of all the factors you mentioned plus more? This book just happens to be about the design.
posted by sveskemus at 5:25 AM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Do or do I not want to visit the alternate timeline where McCain was president from 2000-2008 and he could have been voted in for a third term?
posted by DU at 5:28 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it wasn't the ideas, the energy, the fact that Obama can give a speech like Daniel Webster, or the fact that his primary opponent carried much of Bill's baggage or that his Republican opponent was the worst president in the history of the union. No, it was the logo. Got that. Check.

Even as someone who now feels he was suckered by it, I have no difficulty acknowledging the brilliance of the Obama campaign as a marketing effort.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:28 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


riding the coattails of the worst president ever. Gah. Too early, not enough coffee, does not alter the fact that "designers" need to get the hell over themselves.
posted by localroger at 5:30 AM on September 1, 2010


I voted for him in spite of that ugly campaign artwork.

I had the audacity to vote for him because of his politics and message!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:31 AM on September 1, 2010


Well guys, for me it was exactly one thing: The speech he gave in New Orleans to a room full of Katrina survivors that started out reminding everybody about the city's shameful legacy in the slave trade, and ended up with everyone eating out of his hand. Before that speech I was an Edwards supporter, after that I was hooked, and nothing else much mattered.
posted by localroger at 5:32 AM on September 1, 2010


Hurm. It strikes of hubris, to me, to suggest that no other campaign or candidate had previously thought of using design to communicate his or her messages effectively. Listening to the video -- is it the fact that his group worked "internally" at the campagin, as oposed to being a firm hired by the campaign -- what is so new for him? I like Scott better when he is congratulating his team on working very hard and exploring all avenues of new media in branding Obama. I fully acknowledge the "next level" of design his new media had (google me somewhere on mefi professing love for obama's web team). I guess I just have a problem with the self back slapping where he says this design was so new to politics that that's what won the election.
posted by cavalier at 5:32 AM on September 1, 2010


I guess I just have a problem with the self back slapping where he says this design was so new to politics that that's what won the election.

I don't think they're saying that it's what won the election.
posted by sveskemus at 5:35 AM on September 1, 2010


Would he still have published a book, and be presenting lectures, if Obama had lost?
posted by cavalier at 5:37 AM on September 1, 2010


We'll never know. But I don't think publishing a book and presenting lectures equals claiming that design is what won the election. At least he never (as far as I can tell) said anything to that effect in his lectures or in the book.

It feels a bit like I'm moderating the thread. Sorry about that, backing out for now.
posted by sveskemus at 5:43 AM on September 1, 2010


Page 61: BEARDS FOR OBAMA!
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 5:47 AM on September 1, 2010


Er, it says right in the Introduction (page XXI) that the design wasn't all there was to it:

We traded war stories for a while, but one seasoned designer in
our midst was silent. We finally asked him what tricks he used
to get good work published. “Well, I guess I’m lazy,” he said.
“I just make sure all my clients are smart people with unique
messages and good products. The rest is easy.”


The rest is easy. Looking back at the design work that contributed
to Barack Obama’s historic victory in November 2008, I
wonder if that was the trick. Although much has been made –
rightly so – of the ingenious and adaptable “O” logo developed
by Sol Sender’s team, Obama himself was his own best logo.
Young, African-American, charismatic – change wasn’t just a
message, it was the candidate’s very embodiment. When it was
all said and done, Barack Obama was a smart guy with a unique
message and a good product. And what designer wouldn’t wish
for that in a client?

posted by chavenet at 5:49 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people

Are you serious?

It strikes of hubris, to me, to suggest that no other campaign or candidate had previously thought of using design to communicate his or her messages effectively

It's not hubris. It's historical ignorance.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:51 AM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Even as someone who now feels he was suckered by it, I have no difficulty acknowledging the brilliance of the Obama campaign as a marketing effort.

Despite the fact he told you exactly what he was going to do and then proceeded to do it.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:12 AM on September 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


The iPad app is pretty awful. All the text pages are initially displayed zoomed out unreadably, and require a double tap to zoom in, but the app doesn't intelligently zoom in on a block of text or image, it simply zooms in to another fairly useless scale centered on wherever you tapped. It is pretty handsome, though. (And was it even made in America? Show us the invoices! Teach the controversy!)
posted by ~ at 6:14 AM on September 1, 2010


It's historical ignorance.

Obama's visual team was good. But they weren't Riefenstahl good.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:32 AM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


it's not hubris. Its political ignorance.

Agreed. This is why you shouldn't post stuff on the blue, verbatim, from commercial sites.
A superficial search on google turns these links up.

http://blog-omotives.blogspot.com/2008/05/half-century-of-presidential-campaign.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/28/arts/design/28muse.html

This post is a fail. Learn some history, and don't just copy advertising.

Obama blue. Even obama, would have a problem with this post.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:37 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Public Image Ltd.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:38 AM on September 1, 2010


So Obama had better design and (barely) successful marketing. The far right has done the more effective job of social organizing, thanks to some Tea Party shills and their fabulously wealthy support in the ever-so-tastefully discreet background.

Nice advertising, fucked politics. Politics is about building consensual majorities, something the Democrats have never even tried.

Looking forward in disgust to another election similar to 1994.
posted by warbaby at 6:50 AM on September 1, 2010


Despite the fact he told you exactly what he was going to do and then proceeded to do it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 AM on September 1


The Obama administration does not get to rely on this logic for precisely the reason that they relied so heavily on design and "innovation in campaigning", i.e. marketing.

This FPP is accurately representing the extent to which the Obama campaign relied on non-verbal and emotional appeals to voters. The design communicates as much of a message, if not a greater message, than the words that came out of his mouth. The design, like all advertising, is a statement about the future. The logo looks like a rising sun over a field, and is meant to convey renewal, a brighter future tomorrow, hope, etc. And like Reagan's "Morning in America" slogan, sending the message that those are the things that an Obama presidency would bring implies that the target voter is not feeling those things now. It is a reminder, creation, or irritation of anxiety. So what makes the Obama campaign design and marketing so successful is precisely that it is simply does what all very good marketing does--operate on an existing anxiety, highlight it, and vaguely suggest that the anxiety will not persist in to the future.

The fact that he said x or y or z is beyond irrelevant, because he didn't want or expect you to base your vote on that when he was running. We know this because these things are what we remember of the campaign, not a series of statements appealing to reason that argued a position. It was a giant poster with his face and the word "Hope." It was the O rising over the flag-emblazoned hillside.

The campaign used these designs and images for exactly the same reason that Nike sells sneakers using phrases like "AIR" or "Just Do It" instead of saying "Nike sneakers are superior to the competing brands because they are design to support your foot, legs, and body during through the entire dynamic range of motion experienced during athletic activity." That doesn't sell shoes. And this is the sneaker equivalent of saying "I'm going to pull troops out of Iraq and put them into Afghanistan," which doesn't get votes either.

What sells shoes is "AIR". What sold Obama was "HOPE".

Your frustration with people not remembering or realizing he delivered on what he stated he would do is that you are selectively ignoring all the implicit messages the campaign sent that were deliberately vague. Obama represents hope, right? That must mean he represents my hope that the war will end. For my neighbor it represents his hope he'll get a job, etc. All of those inferences are valid, because the campaign wanted people to make inferences based on whatever their particular anxieties were.

This is precisely why design, and advertising generally, in politics is a very bad idea. Not because it doesn't work, but because it works extraordinarily well. The entire system assumes that elections are a competition over rational arguments. That's the basis of thinking that democracy works. But if elections turn into the selling of yet another mass-market product, then it is going to eschew reason for irrational appeals, the manipulation of fears and anxieties, and the like. And if it does that, it will only engender more cynicism in the political process in the same way that decades of advertising has made the public cynical of marketing and consumerism.

Yes, this design is great and it should be a case study for marketing and design students everywhere. But applauding it amounts to applauding propaganda. Because that's what political advertising is, by definition. Propaganda is not a positive thing for a democracy, and it is worse when it achieves its objective better.

I'm only picking on Obama because he won. Every candidate relies on this kind of marketing. What the Obama campaign represents is the likelihood that relying on it even more is the wave of the future for all candidates.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:55 AM on September 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Obama's visual team was good. But they weren't Riefenstahl good.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:32 AM on September 1


This bears repeating. To this day people think Nazi Germany was this ruthlessly ordered, highly structured state. They believe this because of all of those history channel shows that show clips of rallies festooned with banners, soldiers marching in lockstep, etc. All of those clips come from Riefenstahl's films, and most come from Triumph of the Will. Those shots, like any film shots, were meticulously staged. Her propaganda is so good that even people who hate Nazis are convinced that Germany was the way Riefenstahl presented it.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:59 AM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


"For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people—capturing their voices in a visual way. "

No mention of the glaringly obvious examples of the marriage of politics and graphic arts?

Here's two: the fasces and the swastika.

Not such great company.
posted by TSOL at 7:04 AM on September 1, 2010


What sold Obama was "HOPE".

The only reason I mentioned my post-election disenchantment was to emphasize the depth of my respect for the subject of the post. It was not intended as a derail - and I apologize to the poster that it has been pressed into service as such.

But yeah... "HOPE" was very much the sales pitch. And I was desperately in the market.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:06 AM on September 1, 2010


Politics is about building consensual majorities, something the Democrats have never even tried.

They try it all the time. The problem is, they try it with Republicans.
posted by DU at 7:15 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Obama administration does not get to rely on this logic for precisely the reason that they relied so heavily on design and "innovation in campaigning", i.e. marketing.

Huh? So your argument rests on the 'shiny package theory' the idea that voters are relieved of responsibility for actually checking out a campaign's promises and voting on that just because he's got a nice slogan?

Really, now.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:15 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is precisely why design, and advertising generally, in politics is a very bad idea. Not because it doesn't work, but because it works extraordinarily well.

Not necessarily; like Joe Beese said: "I was desperately in the market." Propaganda only works well when you've got a lot of people that want something to begin with. Goebbels would never have been Goebbels without Dolchstosslegende. What did Germany need after WWI? VICTORY. Similarly, Obama would never have won had it not been for the massive incompetence of Bush Jr. and this country's subsequent disillusionment. What did America need after Bush? HOPE.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:22 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flipping through the book, it struck me just how important the delivery medium is in a marketing campaign. The message is important, true, but making it attractive makes it even more effective. Not groundbreaking by any means, but they definitely beat the Republicans on that front, too. I can't remember any memorable messages coming from their end, except the "lipstick on a pig" one, and it wasn't exactly memorable for the right reasons...
posted by alvarete at 7:28 AM on September 1, 2010


The other thing is this--setting aside the graphics, it isn't all that revolutionary to use the tools already in front of you. Obama's camp didn't invent the iPhone. They just used it.

To illustrate, my high point in the campaign came when I was working as a poll monitor for the campaign in Virginia. My bass player texted me at 5 PM and said that the exit polls looked good. I said the pool poll was not supposed to be leaked or released. He replied "No, the campaign's ex
it polling"

Suddenly I remembered his wife's boss served as Hillary's campaign manager. He really did have the campaign's exits. I asked for the numbers and he e-mailed them to me. Our little throng cheered as I passed the numbers along.

Note that the instant turnout reporting did not work on my blackberry and the system jammed.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:28 AM on September 1, 2010


Huh? So your argument rests on the 'shiny package theory' the idea that voters are relieved of responsibility for actually checking out a campaign's promises and voting on that just because he's got a nice slogan?

Really, now.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:15 AM on September 1


And where would this "checking out" take place? Does watching the Daily Show or reading TPM consititute checking it out? How about Bill O'Reilly and Fox News? Are those the sources of informed debate in America?

Why do you think anyone in any business uses slogans, design, and advertising generally? Because they know people won't investigate things for themselves, but more importantly7 because they know that the people are not motivated to act based on reason. Convincing someone with reasoned arguments will only convince them that, for example, Obama should win. That he is the right person. To get that person to sit in traffic and wait in line at the polling place to cast their single vote requires an emotional appeal because you need to overcome the inconveniences and discomforts present in the act of voting.

In advertising the emotional appeal is called ego involvement-the context of the product can be your context if only you act to buy. This is why when Obama won, so many people felt that theywon. In that brief moment--and only for that brief moment--the implied future of the campaign becomes the present. This is same thrill of shopping, the actual tangible physical response that accompanies a purchase. I can't remember the exact quote, but in Clinton's first inauguration, Maya Angelou said something in reference to the fighters that flew in formation over the inauguration to the effect of "these planes are ours now." She knows they aren't really "ours," but that doesn't change the feeling.

That this emotional appeal is necessary for getting out the voters has been understood at least since Washington's campaign, but it probably goes back to Athens. What is happening now is that people realize if you can get people to vote on slogans, why bother with statements like "Read my lips, no new taxes" that will only come back to hurt you later? And besides, the public has already been so programmed to respond to marketing in this way, that it may be the case that they can't act on the basis of reason or judgment, because they've been conditioned to act against their better reason and judgment.

So Obama kept his promise in Iraq, right? He stated clearly what he would do and he did it.

And if Iraq falls apart, do you really think the people are going to celebrate his decision to withdraw because he did what he said? Do you think the voters are going to assume the responsibility for wanting him to do something that was in fact the wrong thing? Do you think that they should? Isn't the more appropriate response from the voter "
"You're the President, you know things that we don't or can't, we expect you not to make bad decisions even if those are the decisions we wanted, because you are supposed to know better?"
posted by Pastabagel at 7:49 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Americans have political designs, surely not!
posted by unliteral at 8:05 AM on September 1, 2010


What did Germany need after WWI? VICTORY. Similarly, Obama would never have won had it not been for the massive incompetence of Bush Jr. and this country's subsequent disillusionment. What did America need after Bush? HOPE.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:22 AM on September 1


In the market for what? In the market for victory? Over whom? It doesn't say. On purpose, because "VICTORY" implies the fight never ended, or that there is a new fight. The German who thought the war was over would see that and realize that someone is still at war with him and he didn't even know it. That's the anxiety I'm talking about. The ad talks only about the future to recontextualize the present in a way that is different from how the message's recipient thought the present world was. VICTORY plays on every inferiority complex, every sense of bruised ego or wounded pride in the post-war German psyche. VICTORY meant victory over the jew next door just as much as it meant victory against the French.

What did America need after Bush? HOPE.

You are explaining why the ad worked. I know why it worked. I'm saying that it is bad because it worked in exactly the way that all good ads work. By not saying anything real. By taking an anxiety the target of the ad has that relates only to his very local, personal situation and expanding it--literally making the anxiety worse--and offering to relieve it to as part of a transaction.

The message of the poster is not "With Obama, you can hope for a better future." Because that doesn't exclude also hoping for a better future with McCain. The message is "OBAMA IS YOUR ONLY HOPE." That is the message consistent with his image above the word in the context of an election in which he wants you to vote for him. Obviosuly this is not the explicit message of the poster, but it is the meaning that needs to be conveyed to do its job. "Hope is only available from an Obama presidency." Feeling more anxious now?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:12 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Despite the fact he told you exactly what he was going to do and then proceeded to do it.

Except that stuff about restoring the Constitution.
posted by mattholomew at 8:23 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


this emotional appeal is necessary for getting out the voters has been understood at least since Washington's campaign, but it probably goes back to Athens. What is happening now is that people realize if you can get people to vote on slogans, why bother with statements like "Read my lips, no new taxes" that will only come back to hurt you later? And besides, the public has already been so programmed to respond to marketing in this way, that it may be the case that they can't act on the basis of reason or judgment, because they've been conditioned to act against their better reason and judgment.

Ah, the core of contempt for the electorate which is the basis of the Chomskyist left. 'Nobody agrees with us, so they must be brainwashed.'. Such contempt for democracy--such contempt for the common man. They do not agree because you have not convinced them. Obama ran on ending the war because it was the right thing to do. He believes it better to choose the path he thinks is right, execute it and let the chips fall where they may. That's called leadership. That's called doing what is right. Over and over again he has said he would rather be a one-term president that did the right things.

In short, the American people are canny. They aren't going in for wholesale change of a massive nature. So you have to actually use small-d democratic methods. You must convince them. And the representatives will not move until the people do.

There's a reason Glenn Beck draws silly lines on a chalkboard between Obama and Saul Alinsky. Because Obama, like Alinsky, knows that a skeptical, free public must be first convinced before real change can occur. And Beck knows that the GOP doesn't have the actual arguments to win this battle long-term. That's why they're running such a risky strategy. Imagine, such a large lead in the congressional generic yet they are so desperate! They are throwing away hispanics for good and playing race and religion cards like they are going out of style. You'd think with such a cushion, they'd play it safe.

But they know, long-term, they have no arguments against this. They can't run away from the crazy, overly racist positions they are taking. And the one thing Americans do is tire quickly of gimmicks, as quickly as they thought they were great. Obama's taking the long bet that doing the right thing will pay off big in the end. Its a bet I'll gladly take.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:33 AM on September 1, 2010


By not saying anything real. By taking an anxiety the target of the ad has that relates only to his very local, personal situation and expanding it--literally making the anxiety worse--and offering to relieve it to as part of a transaction.

The message of the poster is not "With Obama, you can hope for a better future." Because that doesn't exclude also hoping for a better future with McCain. The message is "OBAMA IS YOUR ONLY HOPE." That is the message consistent with his image above the word in the context of an election in which he wants you to vote for him.


Pure fantasy and projection. There are a thousand possible interpretations of that message, nay a million. Where is it written that yours is the only one?

I've always personally taken that single word to be aimed at whiny defeatist dems.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:40 AM on September 1, 2010


How the hell did I ever miss Beards for Obama? That's the heart of the campaign right there.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:46 AM on September 1, 2010


McCain's campaign slogan was "Country First". An equally meaningless phrase designed to push the buttons of his target demographic with its implication that the dreaded Other of the foreign name and background would naturally put the country second.

But for an illustration of how hopelessly outmatched McCain was in the media savvy department, Google "lime green monster mccain's speech widely panned".
posted by Joe Beese at 8:47 AM on September 1, 2010


Also: This post is a fail.

Can we please phase out the usage of 'fail' as a noun?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:53 AM on September 1, 2010


And the one thing Americans do is tire quickly of gimmicks
O.K.
heh

im loving this farcical debate

Old Kinderhook
i say
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on September 1, 2010


The message is "OBAMA IS YOUR ONLY HOPE."

That is without a doubt the weirdest interpretation of those posters that I've ever seen.

It's like watching a Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" commercial and leaping to the conclusion that Wendy's burgers are made by nightmare race of fleshless cattle from the grey and decaying flesh of elderly women, and Wendy herself is a terrible cannibal goddess from the nether realms. Sure, you can get that from the source material, but it requires a very active imagination and a lot of hard work.
posted by Shepherd at 9:00 AM on September 1, 2010


for an illustration of how hopelessly outmatched McCain was in the media savvy department, Google "lime green monster mccain's speech widely panned".

It was terrible. the worst.

A better strategy would have been to do what McCain did at the Joe Smith dinner in October 2008. Obviously speaking from the heart, McCain paid tribute to Obama and his skills and said no matter what happened, Obama's destiny was to provide great service to the country. Had he praised Obama while saying "he's not ready yet" he could have won.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:01 AM on September 1, 2010


O.K.

You gotta put a reference of some kind because apparently nobody knows shit about anything historical and truth these days equals memory hole a Wikipedia link.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:36 AM on September 1, 2010


Ah, the core of contempt for the electorate which is the basis of the Chomskyist left. 'Nobody agrees with us, so they must be brainwashed.'. Such contempt for democracy--such contempt for the common man. They do not agree because you have not convinced them. Obama ran on ending the war because it was the right thing to do. He believes it better to choose the path he thinks is right, execute it and let the chips fall where they may. That's called leadership. That's called doing what is right. Over and over again he has said he would rather be a one-term president that did the right things.


First, I am simply explaining how it works, I'm not endorsing it. I'm criticizing it.

Pure fantasy and projection. There are a thousand possible interpretations of that message, nay a million. Where is it written that yours is the only one?

Jesus Christ. It isn't written that's the point of advertising: to say nothing and in so doing communicate a million different things to a million different people.

The objective of the poster is to get you to vote for Obama. That is the poster's function in the context of the campaign. The only message that the poster could send that would lead you to vote for Obama, and not to do something else, is "Obama is your only hope" or equivalent statements. "Only Obama can deliver hope", etc.

It's like watching a Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" commercial and leaping to the conclusion that Wendy's burgers are made by nightmare race of fleshless cattle from the grey and decaying flesh of elderly women, and Wendy herself is a terrible cannibal goddess from the nether realms. Sure, you can get that from the source material, but it requires a very active imagination and a lot of hard work.
posted by Shepherd at 12:00 PM on September 1


What the hell are you talking about? "Where's the beef?" means the other restaurant's burgers don't have a lot of beef in them, and because it's a Wendy's commercial, that means Wendy's burgers do have beef.

The poster has a picture of Obama over the word HOPE. What in the world do you think those two things together in the context of Obama's campaign for presidency is supposed to mean other than "Obama is the only hope in this election for improving whatever you are anxious about."

It seems like every other interpretation people give is some equally vague and ambiguous marketing slogan that itself needs to be interpreted.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:16 PM on September 1, 2010


McCain's campaign slogan was "Country First".

Joe Beese- you interpreted this slogan correctly, except in emphasizing his demographic, you imply the poster is operating on Obama's. If you want to put the country first, vote for McCain. It fails because the first part of the message is not universal. Not everyone cares about putting the country first. Some people put their family first, or their religion, or Brooklyn. Second, and worse, some people think this attitude is what got us into the mess, and that we should be a better global citizen.

Obama's message is for everyone, not just his target demo. Everyone of every political stripe hopes the future will be better. And all people have hopes about the future that are often not at all political but loom large in their own minds. The word HOPE operates on the hopes of all these people. If you hope that your future will be better than it is now, then vote for Obama. Everyone agrees with the first part. The disagreement is over the second part, i.e. "I don't agree that obama can deliver what I hope for." etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:28 PM on September 1, 2010


Also: This post is a fail.

Can we please phase out the usage of 'fail' as a noun?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:53 AM on September 2 [+] [!]


Language evolves, man. Your love of the figure your username alludes to should demonstrate that pretty well.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 PM on September 1, 2010


Happily marketed to, here. I bought the message, because I thought it was true, and I got what I thought I'd get. And I'm actually still feeling hopeful and glad President Obama is our President, particularly in these challenging times.

One of the things I respect about Barack Obama is his ability to use things like good marketing well and intelligently. I'm struck by the contrast with someone else's rather bizarre current effort to embody the North Star.
posted by bearwife at 1:02 PM on September 1, 2010


Language evolves, man. Your love of the figure your username alludes to should demonstrate that pretty well.

I'm not arguing against language evolving, I'm arguing against its being annoying as fuck.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:06 PM on September 1, 2010


their true, although secret and cabalist reference, was to Van Buren's residence

-from "a Wikipedia link".
posted by Civil_Disobedient

that's why, in a political sense, Van Buren seems the correct origin.

cabalist...?

HATFLAG

nobody knows shit about anything historical and truth these days

invites C_D over to chase kids off lawn.

of course I live in Flint and the kids do shoot back in stolen open door mini-vans with automatic weap...oh


posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on September 1, 2010


Everyone of every political stripe hopes the future will be better.

...not unless your chaotic evil.

come now
we all cherish our children's future...
posted by clavdivs at 1:42 PM on September 1, 2010


What in the world do you think those two things together in the context of Obama's campaign for presidency is supposed to mean other than "Obama is the only hope in this election for improving whatever you are anxious about." (bolding mine)

"Obama has ideas and vision; he hopes to make things better."

or

"This is a candidate that exemplifies a common hope for the future."

You've got a strange determination to cast the campaign as "Vote for Obama OR ELSE." Nothing about the design indicates that. If "Obama or certain doom" were the message, it would be a nice piece of art followed by "OBAMA OR CERTAIN DOOM."

There are lots of things that give us hope in the world. Obama is a presidential candidate that fits within that set. That's the obvious message.

"Obama is the only hope" is... well, it's a weird, paranoid read. It says more about the person that chooses to see it as a threat than it does about the message itself.
posted by Shepherd at 1:55 PM on September 1, 2010


Whereas "Obama offers hope for improving whatever you are anxious about" seems like a very reasonable take on it. The emphasized "only" is really where things get bizarre.
posted by Shepherd at 1:56 PM on September 1, 2010


> If "Obama or certain doom" were the message, it would be a nice piece of art followed by "OBAMA OR CERTAIN DOOM."

If Palin manages to be the frontrunner for the GOP in 2012 (and according to the latest Vanity Fair article about the Palins, she may just announce her candidacy on 9 freakin' 11 of all days), then that actually is a pretty valid message.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 PM on September 1, 2010


Obama's vague, undefined offer of Hope was a refreshing change after eight years of the Republicans telling us to be afraid and go shopping and be afraid.

The far right has done the more effective job of social organizing, thanks to some Tea Party shills and their fabulously wealthy support in the ever-so-tastefully discreet background.

How many people were at the Obama inauguration? 1.8 million.

How many people were at Glenn Beck's I have a scheme speech? Thousands. Maybe tens of thousands. That's a rounding error.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:28 PM on September 1, 2010


How many people were at the Obama inauguration? 1.8 million.

Man that was such a great night. Walking around downtown Chicago, feeling like I lived in the biggest small town on Earth.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:10 AM on September 2, 2010


For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people

I'll say this. Despite how miserable Obama's turning out to be, no one -- not no one -- will ever be able to match the overwhelming arrogance of him and his campaign staff.

For the first time? Uh... Yeah. Right.
posted by rulethirty at 7:14 AM on September 2, 2010


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