Friday, February 6, 2009

Wannabamamania

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The 2008 election season (which started in 2006) brought us merchandise plastered with images of all the main players, including Sarah Palin action figures and John McCain hot sauce, but Barack Obama mania is still sweeping the nation long after we could have stopped campaigning. Here are just a few of the products we've found to be... interesting, listed in order from mildly strange to downright creepy.

First up, the Obama bobblehead. While bobbleheads are a common item in American pop culture, the Obama model is so popular it comes in more than just one style. You can take your pick from suit and tie Obama, Superhero Obama, or, for $150, four Hawaiian Obama bobbleheads from Ebay. Sure, they’re cute, we guess, but let’s not put too much pressure on the new president by thinking he’s Clark Kent, okay?

Next up, an item marketed toward the younger generation of voters (you know, the ones Obama was trying to reach by sending out text messages and posting things on YouTube.) The Obama skateboard comes in a variety of styles. Some are imprinted with messages, but most just have a giant picture of the president himself. We find this a bit odd considering that the last time we felt like stomping on someone’s face, it wasn’t to show support.

If you don’t skateboard, but still want the president near your feet, here’s your perfect pair of shoes. There are 35 pages of these bad boys, so there’s no way you couldn’t find a pair to match each outfit. The shoes come in multiple colors, multiple pictures, and one pair even offers the president’s “Yes We Can” speech. So if you really don’t prefer to step on his face, you can just walk peacefully in your new shoes with his face on your feet.

And what about adding an Obama-rama air freshener to your car to go along with your bobblehead? The website selling this one of a kind artwork states that, “yes, he is vanilla scented” and that it sold out quicker than the Hillary Clinton air freshener during the campaign (she’s vanilla, too).

Or maybe you’re not one for wearing Obama clothing, dressing up your car, or skateboarding. As long as you celebrate Christmas, these Barack and Michelle Obama Christmas cards should be your perfect fit. They feature the president in a Santa hat and the first lady in lingerie-like Mrs. Clause outfit. Something tells us Mrs. Obama probably doesn’t appreciate being photo-shopped into a Victoria’s Secret Christmas gift.

The Obamas probably don’t appreciate this one either: their wedding photo on that most useless of items, a mouse pad. It can also be found on mugs, calendars, shirts, and bags. A few of the items are even inscribed with their wedding date. While not quite the creepiest item found, WB wonders…WTF? While it is normal to put your own wedding photo and date around your house, it’s a little stalker-ish to use someone else’s, unless you know them personally.

While we were unable to find a place to actually buy this one, probably because it’s caused a wee bit of controversy, there’s no doubt they exist. The last and creepiest piece of Obama merchandise we discovered is two dolls named Malia and Sasha. Ty Inc., the company responsible for the Beanie Babies craze, created the dolls and swears they have nothing to do with the Obamas. However, their spokeswoman, Tania Lundeen, also told the Chicago Sun-Times, “They’re such adorable girls. How can we resist?” Either way, it creeps us out, and apparently the first lady as well. Her press secretary, Katie McCormick, stated, “We feel it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes.”

With this ongoing demand for Obama merchandise, we're glad that the president is sticking to his word of helping out the economy, even if he doesn’t realize he’s doing it — or have any control of the situation, for that matter. Like all good things in pop culture, he and his family have become a fetish commodity, infused with special power, animated with the hope and change they symbolize, their images replacing the real people since the real can't be had no matter how strongly they're desired.

And of course, they haven't been asked for licensing permission, either. Public figures, public domain, private profit. God bless American enterprise.

Now, where did we leave our Visa card?
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