Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Obama as Jesus, or Hippocrates?

The picture above was originally used to illustrate the following NYT article (As Health Vote Awaits, Future of a Presidency Waits, Too, 03/14. ) Conservative bloggers and commenters were not amused.

Reaction ranged from seeing it as more liberal bias (naturally), a deification of Obama, a spit in the face of Christians, etc. The Althouse link is representative of the reactions we came across, albeit less vitriolic than what you can find, say, at the Free Republic. ("Low life Marxist, Muslim Bastard" anyone?)

Others have noted the even-armed cross is a reference to the medical profession, featured as it is on hospitals and pharmacies across the nation and indeed, the Christian world. This would be our assumption.

But still, the photo is not a trick of reflections and light, the photo is an illustration by Nola Lopez on a photo by Damon Winter.

What strikes us is this: why are some conservatives, especially Christians, so quick to strike a victim pose? Isn't that what they hate about liberals?

Secondly, why do they say liberals think of Obama as some sort of messiah, the "One"?

Are they simply offended because that slot's already filled, by Ronald Reagan?

The hubbub seems to have had an effect. If you follow the link, the photo/illustration has been removed....


  1. "...why do they say liberals think of Obama as some sort of messiah, the 'One'?"

    Cause it's true.

  2. Holy shit, Terry, you got on this fast! Before I had a chance to make a slight addendum: when I saw the picture I was bit taken aback and thought wtf is this? (hence the wtf? tag).

    After "This would be our assumption." I wanted to add, "We don't entirely discount this as a superliminal propaganda pic."

    But, thanks for the link. That Jesse Jackson quote is over the top. I think these quotes don't represent the majority of Obama voters and that they need to be considered in light of the amazing emotions people felt seeing a black man elected President, some of these people having been born into a vastly different, segregated world.

    There was bound to be some hyperbole. I don't think the mainstream press is trying to cast him as some kind of new age messiah, though, and these quotes don't represent all of liberaldom, just as the "Marxist Muslim Bastard" quote doesn't represent the conservative world.

    I actually enjoyed the Althouse take on it.

    Anyway, thanks again for the comment and the link. Your website looks very good, at first glance; I expect to visit there quite a bit.....

  3. We'll if you're talking left vs. right or conservative vs. liberal - as much as I hate even going there - liberals are more ripe for a demagogue of messianic proportions. Conservatives may respect certain political figures, even idolize them to a certain extent; but Christian conservatives, due to scripture, will not be easily hoodwinked down that road (as they'll see it a mile away; and, indeed, are admonished by Jesus to watch for it).

    I agree that the comments from people on the day of his election are not representative of all "liberals." But it does represent a real phenomenon that occurred all throughout the campaign and climaxed on election night.

    That such a "liberal," charismatic personality, will be the "leader of the free world" on the day they - the secularists and "new age" spiritualists - have adopted as their very own end of days (2012/12/21), is more than significant in my view. A bible-thumping conservative would be totally out of "synch" in the coming pagan spectacle.

    Prediction: As 2012 approaches, the fact Obama is there in office for the significant date will be underscored and philosophized upon ad infinitum. What effect these "synchromystic" congruences will ultimately have, however, is another story.

    Regarding the photocomp: the religious/spiritual allusions are plain to see. Artists and photogs at the NYT - when it comes to Obama - are known for such artistic manipulation. One could teach a whole graphic design class utilizing nothing but the published photos and comps of Obama alone (in the last 3 years or so).

    Bush had some similar treatments over the years, but not nearly as many overt halo-ized/angelic/messianic portrayals as far as I recall.

    Graphic designers know what they are doing, and everything is intentionally put there for a reason. Nothing is accidental - from the choice of which pic or pics to use, down to every detail of its combination and manipulation for whatever desired effect.

  4. Thought-provoking comments. I should be more careful using labels conservative and liberal, I suppose, but people do use them to identify themselves and I think they do represent a pair of mindsets. These may be more or less precise, probably less, but we go to Huff Po or Drudge or the Washington Post, we know the spind. Quite frankly, this doesn't bother me. I know where they stand.

    And perhaps you're right about Christian conservatives. You probably know better than me. They have a standard of comparison and the devout won't let anyone come between them and their savior. And I say this without being facetious.

    There was a certain adulation of Obama, but it passed quickly as the reality set in. I don't think the NYT is trying to continue this or to create an aura of sanctity around the man. This photo is bizarre and surprising, but not without precedent.

    Photogs play with these images all the time. I've seen Bush and McCain in a nimbus, before a cross. My hard drive has a few examples. Harry Reid under a cupola, a halo radiating like a sun. Twilight language, or photogs being snarky? I think the latter.

    The difference here of course is that this is an artwork. Its intention? I think it evokes the cross of medicine, but you're right in that it can't but evoke the Christian cross. Perhaps linking the two? A repudiation of Beck? The Fox guy I mean! :)

    Clearly editorial, but isn't this a right? Should it have been better labeled?

    I agree this was no accident and a message was being sent. I just happen to disagree with some of the interpretations of that message I've seen posted.

    Finally, I'm not sure I understand the 2012 thing. Isn't it based on the supposed end of the Maya calendar? Are you suggesting this has been appropriated as an event, beyond the Hollywood film, that is, as some sort of sacred date upon which to pull over some kind of massive mindfuck?

    Y2K panic, manipulation of dates for nefarious designs? That the election of Obama was orchestrated to have him in office at this particular time?

    Or is it something altogether less concrete, one of many plans for many potentialities, that years of priming have lead us to point where all the pieces are in place?

    Or, no plan at all.

    It's a pretty weird "photo", after all.

  5. I wouldn't characterize it as "an artwork." It is but a photoshop comp, utilizing three separate items (Obama pic, the pattern of the Red Cross, and a haphazardly position little white house), and not very good if you ask me.

    The 2012 meme has been growing in influence since the 1980s. It has long since been taken over by the uber-esotericists (at one time called "New agers") and has become a veritable industry. Hollywood took notice because of its successful segue from counter-culture to mainstream. This isn't surprising since in many ways the spiritual cornucopia that is the "new age" has similarly gone mainstream.

    It has truly become a sacred date, yes. A sacred prophetic date upon which to express hopes and fears. A date which is totally bereft of judeo-christian influence; and thus the mass appeal.

  6. "Artwork" in a wide sense. A composition then, to send a message. Art, no? Maybe not very good, a simple photoshop collage, but something beyond documentary.

    I'll have to look into 2012 before I can make any comments. But as for sacred dating, one must assume one dating system is better than another, one true and one false before casting any sacred date as a villain. It would all be rather silly if so many people didn't take it seriously--one way or the other.

    You say: "A date which is totally bereft of judeo-christian influence; and thus the mass appeal."

    No more mass appeal than Christinity, given the staggering number of churches in the US, self-identfied Christians, the TV shows, books, the swearing in on the Bible, the fact very few politicians can be blatant atheists and get elected--even Obama is a Christian.

    Let's say just for argument's sake he is just giving lip service. Telling enough.

    Given the demographics, I don't think Christian have much to fear from secular culture. Maybe as you say, they're less susceptible.

    Respectfully, as ever.

  7. 2012 is off topic from your particular post, but it would be worth it to investigate. Millenarianism is far from a jewish or christian phenomenon. Occultists in all ages were susceptible to it, even secularists, socialists and marxists. Millenarianism is even inexorably linked - some scholars claim - with the conspiratorial mindset. (If you want to learn more about the 2012 significance, I cannot recommend highly enough this scholarly thesis on the matter, from a student of Hanegraaff.)

    I have no idea what your spiritual or political persuasions are but I am not "in fear" nor "casting villains." I'm merely reporting things as I see them. Perhaps they are from a vantage point different than others. So be it. It doesn't make it any less valid. Further, I think I'm a pretty intelligent person, and my facts are usually sound.

    I get the feeling as if you're annoyed by my comments or that, in some manner, I'm attempting to preach something to you.

  8. Terry, I've been lurking on your site, which I admire, for some time now; and Daurade, well, you're already aware of my admiration.

    Nonetheless, I'm going to respectfully disagree with some of the commentary here.

  9. I do agree that the distinction between conservative and liberal does collapse a lot of important nuance. I also agree that these are convenient labels, especially when used to refer to self-described "liberals" and "conservatives".

  10. OK--now for my respectful disagreement.

    I think, respectfully, that US religious conservatives (USRCs) are actually more likely than US liberals to identify leaders as saviors.

    USRCs may be less likely to mistake a leader for a piece of the Trinity, but they are, I think, more likely to mistake a leader for someone leading a nation to salvation.

    Basically (and I don't think that this is too terribly nuanced), I can see the point that USRCs may be less likely to conflate leaders with the second coming of Jesus, but I suspect that USRCs are more likely to conflate leaders with John-the-baptist and with Satan (or his hearkeners).

    See for example:

    Whether I'm right or wrong, I appreciate the commentary here. Lemme know your thoughts...

  11. Potog:

    POV: from below, elevates the subject in the eyes of the viewer

    Sun postion: Behind the head, creates a glowing, "halo" effect

    Background: nothing but blue, evokes a "heavenly" feel

    Subject: offset from center, to focus what the real subject is

    Interjection: add symbol of real subject

    ... wait, is it a cross, or health care?

    Givin the other specific compositional aspects of the photograph...

  12. Well, the dominionists are a dangerous lot. They would enact a fascist dictatorship in the US if they had things their way. I live in Canada, so I'm close enough that it would affect me as well. The whole network called "the Family" is indeed a scary and powerful lot, and as conspiratorial as any secret society in history.

    What is happening with 2012, however, is a confluence of new age ideas finally having their day in the sun. Apocalyptic, millenarian fervor may rear its head again. Something will definitely go down, and there are people who have an interest in making something spectacular happen whether the so-called prediction is a dud or not. Perhaps it will in someway be cop-opted by the evangelicals. That's possible as well (but the mythos already accrued would have to be tweaked somewhat). In an end of world scenario, Cui bono?

    One thing is indisputable: Obama will be at the helm of the "free world" when the shyte hits the fan.

  13. Terry, I can tell from your posts you are intelligent and thoughtful, at least from what I've seen from your website and your comments here. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

    I think I just come off as a bit abrubt sometimes. Also, not knowing exactly where you are coming from, spriritually speaking or otherwise, I'm a bit guarded, maybe overly defensive to the point of being offensive.

    So no, your site on the Illuminati is top notch.

    I suppose that with the link you originally sent me to with other commentary on the subject (not by you!), exhorting me to accept Christ as my savior as the only way to save me from Obama, etc. I kind of conflated you with all that and reacted.

    Too much info too fast with too many Guinnesses in me!

    BTW, I just realized your link is to the site where you've put an article about Masonic Parlante in Manitoba. This is a fine article I've really enjoyed reading. Another website seems to have appropriated its images and and ideas without attribution.

    So, hope you continue to look through our articles from time to time.

  14. Gid...perhaps the fact that Christians are expecting a Seconnd Coming, they're more on the lookout for signs and wonders, thus more susceptible. Just throwing that in.

    Terry, I'm gonna read this article you linked to and get back to the topic after I have some more information.

    Anonymous (Jello again?) I think you have a good point and I was too dismissive of the "cross" interpretation. Which is a serious failure because it's madness to think a cross can be used in an image without evoking that of Christianity.

    My theory, just tossing the idea about, is that Lopez wanted to link the health care fight to a "social justice" Christianity and that this may have been prompted by Glenn Beck's recent comments. Maybe not. Thoughts?

  15. No worries. Thanks for the compliments on the site and stuff. I like your site as well, and always look forward to your posts.

    That's Frank Albo from Manitoba. I've been communicating with him for a while. He also helped me out on a few things while writing my book on the Bavarian Illuminati. He gave me that article to post. Albo's an original, and has a unique theory on the building that is wholly his own discovery. He's working on his PhD at Cambridge right now. Before that, he was in Amsterdam studying with Hanegraaff at the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. Hanegraaff et al. have almost singlehandedly legitimized scholarly study of esotericism and the arcane. What Hanegraaff, his peers, and his students have accomplished, is unprecedented.

  16. The University of Amsterdam looks like a dream come true. I've been thinking about going the distance to a doctorate, but I'm not sure if it's possible given that I have a family to support, a house to renovate, etc. etc. I'm going to contact them though and see what is possible as far as distance learning goes....

    I'm going to call the Center for Hermetic Philosophy, however, and see what they say.

    Albo is a sharp cat. I linked to his article without detailing the content in some of the fllow ups to the "Illuminati Pyramid" post. Architecture parlante and all that.

    Have you run across the Vigilant Citizen website, btw? This is the site I was referring to that seems to have posted a redaction of Albo's work without any attribution. I don't know the story there.

  17. Oops. I got mixed up on posts. In your newer post I included the following in my comment: "I wouldn't mind studying in such a place as well. I mean I'm hooked already, and if I were to try for a degree, any dissertation I would write would be about initiatic groups or esotericism anyway."

    I commented about the Vigilant site here before. I was the guy who recommended you go to the officials who are in charge of the pyramid and get some official statements.

    I'll have to look more closely at Vigilant's post. As a rule the guy doesn't link to anyone; it is almost a sickness with him. This exhibits poor "netiquette" for sure, but maybe there's more going too (i.e. perhaps he's not even putting things in his own words).

  18. From Sept. 2009, "The Art of Obama Worship", "...there is something unsettling about images that offer little more political commentary than an uncomplicated adulation that borders on power worship. By showing the subjects removed from all political context, and in a beatific reverie, such art produces images that are aesthetically indistinguishable from the “dear leader” effigies that delighted the dictators of the 1930s or of our own day..."

    I stumbled across this today while reading

  19. Terry, ahh, I see. I actually do want to jump on the interviews. There is the architect, of course and then the city of Blagnac. It will be difficult unless I do it by phone. In the hooper, promise.

    And why not do a disseration? Then again, from the reviews I've read of your book, you've pretty much already written one. How have sales been for the book, btw? I imagine interest is quite high?

    Gid, fine links, once again. But I'm deluged.
    If only I could manage to become a full-time itinerant intello!

  20. Thanks for the links Gid, especially bookforum.

    Re Perfectibilists: Interest was pretty high in the beginning. The movie based on Dan Brown's Angels and Demons came out a few months after and generated interest because of the Illuminati theme. It's a specialist offering and will be valid for quite some time as there is nothing comparable in English that has been produced in at least a hundred years. Academia on this side of the pond dropped the ball, and I gleefully picked it up and ran with it. Scholarly research on the Illuminati had continued unabated in Europe, which produced a mountain of material heretofore unknown to the Anglophone audience. I guess you could call it the "everything you wanted to know about the real Illuminati but didn't know that such information even existed" book.

    In fact, the explosion of legitimate scholarly study into hermeticism, esotericism and Freemasonry, owes a great debt to the works of René Le Forestier, whom I utilize judiciously throughout my book. His PhD thesis was on the Bavarian Illuminati: Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie Allemande (1914), a standard treatment still unsurpassed in any language. He continued to expand the field, by leaps and bounds, with books on the Strict Observance or Templar stream, and occult Freemasonry in general: La Franc-maconnerie occultiste au XVIII siecle et l'ordre des Elus Coens (1928); La Franc-maçonnerie templière et occultiste aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles (1970). The last one was published (and edited) posthumously by Antoine Faivre, a second-generation academic involved with studying esotericism, and a colleague of Hanegraaff's.

  21. I need to read your book. What's your preferred outlet? Amazon....

    I have only skimmed the articles Gid linked to.

    But I've printed them out, along with the 2012 thesis. Busy nights ahead!

  22. Ya, I would say Amazon. Or perhaps Ebay. There's dealers in England who are selling the book, but maybe in France too.


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