On January 20, 2009, I wrote in this blog about the “Rise of the Obama Zombies” that dealt with the silly photographs of new Obama Staff members who were made to look, for some reason, like the undead in the pages of the NYTimes:

There is a delicate line between Art and Politics that must never be crushed:  Mocking politicos for aesthetic profit.  The New York Times, for some reason, decided to publish 50 crushing images of those working for the Obama Administration and, for some reason, the Obama campaign agreed to this public humiliation of their employees.  The published images cruelly, and purposefully, make these good people look like Zombies.  Let’s call them “The Obama Undead” — with their blank faces and ghoulish eyes — and we are left to feel terrible for them because they have been manipulated and mocked for paper profit.  We know their uncomfortable skins.  Only the glassy look in their eyes, and the familiar “thousand-yard stare,” gives away the fact that, at one time, they were human, and not the joke of the day.

Well, the NYTimes is at it again, and again, for some reason, the Obama administration is playing right along and allowing its staff members to be memorialized again as the undead in the official newspaper of record:

Four years ago, on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, this magazine devoted nearly an entire issue to a photo essay by Nadav Kander, “Obama’s People.” Here, we revisit those top advisers and aides, four years later.

I still find it odd and curious that professional staff members in the Obama administration would want to so willingly fall on their dignity for a moment of fascination in the newspaper.  Is there no shame to be had for fame?

Sure, some of this year’s images are a bit more human than the first time around — but not by much — they all look like Wanted Posters or Mugshots:

Odd and angular and uncomfortable can be powerful and persuasive ways to contain and define an aesthetic, but to pose these ordinary people so extraordinarily only serves to heighten the risk factor for ridiculousness — and who pays that ultimate price for public humiliation?  Not Obama.  Not the NYTimes.  The people who work for us pay.  The Return of the Obama Zombies live to be mocked yet another day.


  1. A lot of the photographs look like bad prom photos — quite silly! I wonder if the people feel like they are getting their special moment in the sun by getting “immortalized” in the famous New York Times. I particularly love the one photo with the gentleman wearing a scarf staring off into the distance, making it quite apparent that he really does not want to be there!

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