Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Black History Month Heroes: David Palmer from "24"

Mein Obama is tanking. Were it not for the monolithic support of Black people for President Barry Obama, we could be witnessing the greatest catastrophic meltdown in approval for an individual since… well, Tiger Woods.

At SBPDL, we have discussed how Black people don’t like the portrayal of Black Presidents of the United States in film and television, for when a Black person is cast as the Commander-in-Chief, a disaster of epic proportions is soon to follow.

Oddly, fact followed fiction as Mein Obama inherited numerous problems from his predecessor and only enhanced those difficulties during his first year as president. It wasn’t a geological disaster – like in 2012 – that a Black President had to deal with, nor an object from outer-space that threatened our way of life – Deep Impact – that another Black President saw during his fictional tenure, but a continuous disaster of personal choices that afflicted Mr. Obama.

No, Mein Obama is a byproduct of his own charisma and inflated expectations that Disingenuous White Liberals placed on his post-racial shoulders. Problem is, Barry Obama’s charisma is on par with that of a TV News Anchor, whose primary ally is a teleprompter and a good copy-writer.

He is an empty-suit and though he is the first Black President of the United States, he is likely destined for a one-term presidency.

Though he will be celebrated as yet another first in the nearly infinite list of Black people breaking the seemingly insurmountable “color” barrier put in place by evil white racists, in time most people will consider Mein Obama as important a president to remember as Martin Van Buren or Franklin Pierce.

Significantly, being the first Black president is important – as being the first Black person to do anything is important – but it must be remembered that a fictional Black President is considered by many to be a more accurate representation of what Americans hoped Obama might represent.

And worse, the actor who played this president dared to say Mein Obama’s election rests in his “safe hands” as Dennis Haysbert stated that his portrayal of Black president in 24mainstreamed” the thought of a Black president:

"Yet, actor Dennis Haysbert, who played one of the most high-profile black presidents during two seasons on the hit television show "24" before his character was assassinated, believes they have been influential.

Haysbert told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview that he was in no doubt his character had helped change mainstream attitudes.

"Frankly and honestly, what my role did and the way I was able to play it and the way the writers wrote it opened the eyes of the American public that a black president was viable and could happen," Haysbert told the paper.”

Most interesting, that same article discusses the process of “mainstreaming” positive images of Black people through fiction and the medium of film or television and how individuals can be greatly influenced by the thespians they watch flaunt their craft:

“John W. Matviko, author of "The American President in Popular Culture," believes that Obama's overwhelming popularity amongst young voters may be partially explained by the Hollywood factor.

"One of the functions of popular culture is that it introduces ideas that are a just a little bit on the edge of what we traditionally find acceptable, so that after a while, it becomes acceptable," Matviko told AFP. "It's a very subtle form of persuasion…

But Todd Boyd, an expert in African American cinema and culture at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, said he was skeptical of the influence Hollywood may have on the 2008 election race.

"I'm a bit hesitant to say that because James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert played a president on a TV show or in a movie, it means Barack Obama can be president," Boyd told National Public Radio.

"I think that's a bit of a stretch."

However Boyd concedes that the portrayals "may have unconsciously made some things in society seem less troubling."

(An interesting analysis of film, fiction writing and television and how these mediums have dealt with Black presidents can be found here).

Haysbert played David Palmer on 24, the first African-American president and a man diametrically opposite from Mein Obama in every way, shape and form:

“David Palmer, J.D., was a two-term Democratic Congressman, a one-term Senator, and then the first African-American President of the United States of America. Uncharacteristic for a politician, David Palmer had built his political career on integrity, honesty, commitment, honor, and a deep concern about the welfare of the American people. His home state was Maryland.

On Day 5, David Palmer was assassinated by Conrad Haas, a hired gunman, to prevent him from exposing a conspiracy within the U.S. government. He was 55 years old.”

Loved by the American people – and not just Black people – Palmer helped guide the United States out of major crises and captured the hearts and minds of his opposition as well. During his first and only term, Palmer dealt with the threat of nuclear terrorism, a conniving Vice President and eventually a virus that forces him to take a medical leave of absence from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Still, Palmer won the hearts and minds of the American people and will always be remembered as what future Black presidents should aspire to replicate.

Interestingly, David Palmer is the top fictional president as well, beating out SBPDL’s favorite, President Thomas Whitmore:

24 star Dennis Haysbert has been voted Favourite On-Screen President for his portrayal of President David Palmer in the hit action series.

The TV star beat off stiff competition from Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen in Commander in Chief and Martin Sheen's West Wing character, President Josiah Bartlet, to take the title with 17 per cent - just one per cent more than Davis and Sheen, who came joint second in the Blockbuster poll.

Harrison Ford took 12 per cent for his role as President James Marshall in 1997's Air Force One, landing him in joint fourth place with Bill Pullman's President Thomas J. Whitmore from 1996's Independence Day.”

The Palmer Effect is yet another reason why Black people have any heroes worthy of remembrance and Stuff Black People Don’t Like proudly includes David Palmer into the vaunted list of fictional Black people worthy of remembrance during this Black History Month at SBPDL. We were in good hands with David Palmer, and with Obama in charge, those hands are shakier than a drunk pulled over for speeding.

Hey, without David Palmer it’s pretty clear there wouldn’t be a Mein Obama. Maybe all Obama needs is his own Jack Bauer.


TheGheyOracle said...

I don't watch "24", but this person is the mouthpiece for all those Allstate commercials, right?

Anonymous said...

Black people and white people better prepare themselves because when we take over you both will be kiss our asses. We will reclaim our homeland and take back what you stole and pillaged. Black people clearly cant hang with us in LA and San Diego and your little pale asses and your pathetic little signs protesting hasnt done anything. Your women chase after latin men thats why you will be a minority in 2050 which will be in my life time. Whites will be totally out of power in America and blacks will be back on the cotton, tobacco, and fruit fields where they belong. Latinos will live in mansions drinking fine whine amoungst the most educated elite. We will be leaders of this nation and finally the world will love America.

Vamos a recuperar nuestras tierras y recuperar cuál es la nuestra de que ladrones chupadores de sangre.

Anonymous said...

Fine whine? Haven't "latinos" been whining for
years already?

BTW cabron, latino is a "brown pride" euphemism for "half-breed". There is no such thing as the "latino race".

Anonymous said...

anon 2/3/10 1:38pm,

In the 2000 census 47% of Mexican Americans self identified themselves as white. I believe a take over will be a little difficult if most of you are more than willing to kiss the white man's ass.

-Black guy

Silent Running said...

At least in the Southwestern part of the country, Latino conquest is one possibility. A slight one, but still a possibility.

Our Mestizo friend seems to believe that once he has conquered the White Man's domains, he will have magically also acquired the White Man's IQ, like in some myth of the wendigo. Unfortunately for him, if the Mestizos do conquer anything they'll make of it the same tiresome 3rd world hellhole that they've made of all their other nations. For all his machismo, Mexico is still ruled by the white European descendants of the old Spanish Empire. A Mestizo is the result of the union between a conquistador and an Indian woman.

Anonymous said...

Oh Black Guy. There he is again. Reminds me of that time I went to the NAACP site and wrote a fierce missive on the wrongs the black culture had perpetrated on me and then gave out some erroneous link to a site no one visited or cared about. The thing about you I respect the most, Black Guy, is you see it, you feel it, but you can't admit it lest you betray your illustrious people. Put your head down then. Put on a bandana then a sideways hat then a grill then rent boy pants with one leg higher than the other then an oversized NFL jersey then a song from Alicia Keys about New York or the joys of cruisin' in Phili then the pound sign plus 483 and we'll do the rest.