Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama the Anarchist?

Germaine Greer drips with gleeful poison at the red and black dress worn by Michelle Obama on election night. Under the heading, "If Michelle Obama's such a great dresser, what was she doing in this red butcher's apron?", she wrote,
The effect of the strong contrast was to turn a mere frock into a poster in the most disturbing colours known to man, the colours of chaos. The juxtaposition of a rectangle of red on a black field is what we might expect to find on a flag or a shield. Coral snakes and venomous spiders signal their destructive potential by the display of similarly violent contrasts.
Red and black are the colours of Anarchism and whilst it might be expecting a bit much for an academic like Greer to be able to disassociate political Anarchism from a concept of chaos, she could have considered another explanation for the choice. In parts of Africa red is a symbol of mourning, just as black is in the United States. Obama had just lost his grandmother.

Remember this quote from an earlier 'election' this June?
Red rags have been tied around lamp posts that don't light and hung from bus shelters. Giant V-signs have been painted over the pot-holed thoroughfares. Bulawayo, the opposition stronghold, awakes today to find it has been painted red. As Zimbabweans turn out to vote in a one-man election, a final message of defiance was being daubed overnight on the only public space available to the opposition: the roads.

...One of the key organisers of the Movement for Democratic Change's "red campaign" who identified himself only as Thomas, said the symbolism was clear. "Red is the colour of the MDC. In African culture, it is also the colour of mourning. We are mourning the death of democracy, or the little we had of democracy."
The Obama family were mourning a personal loss, American democracy was in better health than ever. As for Germaine Greer ... words fail me.

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