Oxford scholar Jack Carlson thinks the rise and fall of The Obamanian Empire is all about image.
“Obama as Roman Emperor — the rise and fall of the propaganda master
– President Barack Obama’s campaign of images, emotions, and themes won him tremendous popularity – and the presidency.”
Carlson says to understand the ‘ruler cult’ cycle, we must look to the first Roman emperor Augustus, and his use of “portrait-type” images disseminated and recreated for public consumption across the empire in the form of statues, coins, and other artworks.
He was also adept at associating his image with the gods and iconic Roman heroes past, and inscribing coins bearing his likeness with lofty “buzz words” like – CONCORDIA (union); RESTITUTOR (restorer or renewer); and, most strikingly, SPES (hope). No denying Slick Barry used the image machine big-time.
While Carlson has an interesting point – there seems to be a serious flaw in this picture. Augustus Caesar reigned for life and laid the foundation of an empire that lasted for some fifteen hundred years – and his legend only grew larger over time. Augustus was a man of wisdom, character and heroic accomplishment, while “Caesar Obamus”, it would seem, is a legend soley in his own mind – who has lost his divine radiance in just 18 months. I rather doubt future generations will see the month “OBAMUS” on the calandar.
I think a key difference is that in our supposedly “advanced” culture, a guy with a
Jersey accent named Vince can sell millions of folks washrags (mockingly called “Sham” – Wow) and plastic slicer/dicers at $19.95 a pop. You don’t need to read the “Consumer Reports” evaluation to know that the majority of folks who “acted now!!” and spent twenty bucks for a dish rag that won’t do what a 50 cent sponge does, feel ripped off – and I’d bet the remainder just don’t want to admit they were so easily snookered.
Americans, regrettably comprised unanimously of human beings – and who are mostly products of dumbed-down public education (AND COLLEGES) – have a regrettable penchant to be swayed by slick rhetoric and lofty hyperbole, and to be rather easily misled by faulty reasoning. It’s interesting that the classic “logical fallacies” used and abused by our mind-numbing politicians, “pitch men” and media elite were known and understood 500 years before Augustus, yet seem even more effective today than then.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
“This was the moment the rising of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal!”
“We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity…”
The reason for [insert negative phenomenon here] is Bush. Republicans want you to die quickly. Obamacare will be deficit neutral. Tax cuts benefit only the rich. The science is settled. Economists / Geologists / Climatologists / Experts agree that [insert your opinion here]. The Tea Party is racist / islamaphobe / homophobe / hateful / dangerous. 9/11 was an inside job. Obama is not a US citizen….yada, yada.
I suspect Shakespeare knew about Obama:
[Obamaius] is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. – Macbeth
“So let it be written, so let it be done!”
– Yul Brynner / A.K.A Rameses II