Suddenly colored television

Today Show-network now African AmericanImmediately after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the term “Nine Eleven” was already tripping off the tongues of TV talking heads as if it was more natural than saying “last Monday,” or “last week Monday,” before even we knew the attack was not going to last several days. The day after the election of Barack Obama, a suddenly large proportion of the TV talking heads were black, overnight, like it had become some sort of costume party theme.

Television has become colorized, and much more vigorously than Ted Turner might have ever intended.

Have you noticed? On post-Bush television, Black is the new focus of equal-time. When pundits are summoned, now there’s a black person among them. Nothing wrong with this development. Whatever years of seasoning these new African-American faces may lack, they make up for by being visibly brighter than the vacuous white-breads they replaced. There must be an entire class of Anglo-Saxon communication majors who are lamenting the great lost entitlement of 2009.

It’s a fine development, though certainly limited in its generosity. The proportion of African Americans to the total population, is vastly smaller than the new TV ratio. Conversely, over half the US public is progressive. But still almost zero percent of the corporate media personalities reflect that.

Where did all these colored faces come from? Had they been training in the wings, for just this contingency? It’s a wise move on the part of the networks. President Obama and his family would be looking pretty dark against the sea of white Washington DC. Someone could confuse him for security or kitchen staff, but for the media framing of black commentators to remind White America that there is no cause to panic, the new American lens is colorblind.

It should be, but is it? White man still looks upon dark-skinned people as requiring domination. American urban blacks are to incarcerate, African blacks are to rescue, and insurgent/Muslim/pirate blacks are to lynch. I’m not sure we don’t really long to lynch the bunch of them, if AIDS isn’t thinning their number fast enough for our taste.

Hitch your horse to this manservantObama meanwhile is the black man we invite to dinner. And these colored teevee folk too. They’re not poor blacks after all. They’re the Thomas Sowells, Uncle Toms, educated reformed black people. Rich black people are the new lawn jockeys.

Okay, so the corporate media wants to project an urbane sophistication about integrating racial harmony into its facade. We hope, I suppose, that by portraying it so, they can make it so. I think we have to wonder if that’s the real manipulation.

The day after September 11, the term “Nine Eleven” was coined before most of us knew what even happened. Flights were grounded anticipating more attacks. How curious that the experts were calling it “9/11” when it might still have turned out to be 9/11 – 17 or other. They’d gotten the memo about how to frame the “world-changing” development, complete with its catchy catchphrase.

Obama is just such another media campaign, to assuage the darker-skinned world that the Great White West comes in peace, see look, we love our Darkies. We respect them, we ask their advice, we put them up in the White House.

This year’s Clio Award, the advertising world’s Oscar, for best campaign, went to Barack Obama. What does that tell you about the collective effort involved, and the focused objective of the marketing?

Clansmen hold a rally in Washington DC

1 thought on “Suddenly colored television

  1. AvatarTony Logan

    ‘Television has become colorized, and much more vigorously than Ted Turner might have ever intended. Have you noticed? On post-Bush television, Black is the new focus of equal-time. When pundits are summoned, now there’s a black person among them.’

    Eric, you are mistaken! Those people are not Black at all. What you haven’t figured out is that the art of applying Black face onto Plastic White people’s faces has just improved a whole lot in the last decade or two. They’re still no Black people allowed on American TV at all. Heck, Brown people are not even allowed either! Except maybe late night when the White church people have gone to bed?

    The cardinal rule is that plastic rules. And silicone.

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