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Of course Obama is Satan.

[ 183 ] March 18, 2013 |

Whether you believe that Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, the man portraying Satan in the Hitler Channel’s adaptation of The Bible, looks like President Obama depends on a number of factors, foremost among them your familiarity with people of other races. If, like many white conservatives, the majority of your interaction with people darker than you occurs when you watch the evening news, you see this image and are shocked by the similarity:

Just look at his skin! The deep set eyes! The wide nose! His ears aren’t visible but surely they’re identical too! Except they aren’t. This is why I force my students to pay very close attention to the actual frames they’re analyzing instead of relying on an uncritical sense of what’s being represented on screen. To wit:

I chose this comparison because it’s the one in which the likeness, such as it is, seems greatest. It’s important to note that it’s from the conservative Newsbusters site, meaning that it’s been selected in order to heighten the featural similarities between them. The President’s lips aren’t always pursed, and choosing an image in which they are creates some features that wouldn’t otherwise be there, but for argument’s sake I’ll pretend this is how the President always looks.

We’ll start our comparison with the forehead: not only is Ouazanni’s deeply furrowed, the muscles above his eyebrows are far more defined. Moving down to the glabella — the bit between the eyebrows — Ouazanni’s contains both vertical and horizontal furrows, whereas the President’s is smooth. Both have deep-set eyes, but Ouazanni’s are hooded and appear almost rectangular, whereas the President’s are almond-shaped. Beneath both of their eyes is a pronounced lower eyelid furrow which combines with an intraorbital furrow to create downward facing triangles on their cheeks. In this image, they both also have well-defined nasolabial furrows descending from the tips of their nostril wings out and around their lips to their chins, both of which are squarish. There are significant differences: Ouazanni’s cheeks are sunken, whereas the President’s are puffed; the shape and presentation angle of their nostrils is completely different, etc.

In other words, a simple description of the features of their face makes it possible to believe that they look somewhat similar — or that, as many on the right are arguing, Ouazanni looks like an older version the President. Except they don’t. The number of specific features a viewer needs to overlook — or be race-blind to — in order to claim a holistic similarity between the two is just too high.*

If you want to see a connection, enough featural similarities exist for you to do so, but only if you make a conscious decision to equate an image of Satan in a hoodie with the President. The number of distinctions you must overlook is equaled by the number your cross-racial identification bias prevents you from seeing. Factor in whatever intuitive model of aging you use to crease the President’s forehead and wrinkle his cheeks and it’s clear that quite a bit of cognitive processing has gone into the “intuitive” association between these faces. Which means you ought to ask yourself:

Why do I want to overlook these distinctions and age him in this way? The answer, obviously, is that you want to see what you think you see, and are probably upset that I’ve demonstrated how your “plain observation” has been filtered by political and racial recognition biases. So much so that your rebuttal will amount not to a refutation of the features I’ve identified, but by linking to the image again and insisting that anyone with eyes agrees with your holistic judgment. As Allahpundit admits, he now has “a new front-page thumbnail for when Obama pushes an especially terrible policy.” That’s all he really wanted in the first place.

*I’m not saying there’s no resemblance. Only that judgments about human faces are highly susceptible to suggestion, as analyzing them in detail, feature by feature, demonstrates.

Comments (183)

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  1. DocAmazing says:

    It’s the hoodie that makes it work.

  2. Daniel says:

    It’s probably more problematic that they chose to represent the devil using a dark skinned actor with an Arab (I think) name but went with a White European to represent jesus.

  3. commie atheist says:

    I think the devil looks more like Old Spock than anyone else.

  4. c u n d gulag says:

    Dominionist Christian POV:

    Jeez, everyone knows that Jews around the time of Christ were all white, and blond-haired!

    And, of course Obama Satan was “Blah” – he represents the Arabs the blond-haired Jews were all fighting for centuries.

    It just said so on “The History Channel,” didn’t it?

  5. Chesternuts says:

    Obama sure is a demon, but he’s not a fallen angel. Satan hates Christ, but he’s incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable: he fully acknowledges both the Divine Personhood of Christ and His Suffering on the Cross. Obama is just a slack-jawed imbecile — a power hungry, money-grubbing indifferent man.
    Obama clearly has no clue of what he’s saying; he’s reciting mechanically from the teleprompter; he’s utterly unable to talk sense extemporaneously. I mean — he’s hardly familiar with the English language !!.
    In short, being a complete idiot, Obama is far far from being the incarnation of evil !!
    But yes, the Obama Regime is satanic, nefarious and must be overthrowned.

  6. Alan Tomlinson says:

    For years I thought that Satan looked like this.

    Cheers,

    Alan Tomlinson

  7. Murc says:

    To me, Ouzanni looks like Obama would IF Obama got his face melted a little by force lightning. Not the full Palpatine melting. Like, if some Sith Lord pumped a couple rounds into him just as a warning.

    When it comes to the eyes, never underestimate how eyebrow shape and sculpting can make people look more, or less, similar. Ouzanni not only has different-shaped eyes than Obama, his eyebrows ride high, OVER the eyesocket, so they look even deeper than they otherwise would because of the bone structure. Obama’s eyebrows, by contrast, help to actually make his eyes look LESS deep in his head.

    Apropos of nothing: dang, Ouzanni has some amazing cheekbones. I know his cheeks are a bit sunken, making them look more pronounced, but I wouldn’t mind some of the definition he has.

    • Careless says:

      Yes, when I saw the picture just now (not having heard of this before coming here and not having read the text here), I figured some right winger had photoshopped Obama to make him look like a Sith who’d had a bad encounter with the force.

  8. Decrease Marher says:

    I’m not really sure why conservatives would want this guy to look like Obama, I could easily see this going the other way, with liberals arguing that there is a resemblance and it is an example of conservative bias infiltrating The History Channel.

  9. ruviana says:

    I was certainly struck by the resemblance but I also saw the picture AFTER I’d been reading links about it so I was primed to see it. Don’t know if I would’ve if I’d just seen the picture.

  10. Chesternuts says:

    Why did they let Obama’s mole slip down to Satan’s chin ??

  11. J. Otto Pohl says:

    Well racially Ouazanni as a North African is White according to the US Federal Government. While Obama with a White mother is considered by the US Federal Government to be 100% Black. So technically Ouzanni is not a person of another race with regards to White Americans. He like every other Arab, Berber, Persian, Kurd,or other Middle Easterner or North African is 100% White according to the racial divisions of the US census and affirmative action programs. So any similarities in racial phenotypes with Obama would have to be because of Obama’s White mother given the legal construction of race in the US as it currently stands.

    • arguingwithsignposts says:

      WTF are you even going on about?

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Go look at the US census form or any affirmative action form using the Federal Government’s definitions of racial divisions. It clearly states that White includes any of the native groups of North Africa and the Middle East including Arabs. Ouazanni is Moroccan and hence is White according to the legal racial construction existing in the US. Therefore any similar phenotypes he shares with Obama would have to be related to the president’s White mother not his African father. Now in other countries with other constructions of race this would not always be true. For instance in Ghana Obama is 100% Obruni (White). But, in the US Ouazanni is legally 100% White and Obama 100% Black.

        • Pohl-Bot says:

          *beeep boop*

          GHANA GHANA GHANA
          GHANA GHANA GHANA
          GHANA GHANA GHANA
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          GHANA GHANA GHANA
          GHANA GHANA GHANA
          GHANA GHANA GHANA

          *beeep boop*

        • Malaclypse says:

          Where does it say race is passed down from one’s mother? Because it seems clear that Obama would simply check two boxes.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            It does not. But, in the US the one drop rule still applies for the most part. So Obama is almost referred to in the US media as Black. However, there is no argument that Ouazanni is legally White in the US. So he is not somebody of a different race than White conservatives.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              oops that should be almost always referred to in the US media as Black.

              The US census includes as white:

              “people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.”

              Hence legally Ouazanni as a native of North Africa is White.

              • arguingwithsignposts says:

                The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as “American Indian” and “White.” People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.

                The 1997 OMB standards permit the reporting of more than one race.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  This does not contradict anything I stated. Race is not really so much a social construction as a legal construction and the US census is part of that legal basis. Arabs including those from North Africa are legally defined in the US as White.

            • Hogan says:

              But, in the US the one drop rule still applies for the most part. So Obama is almost referred to in the US media as Black.

              Yeah, it couldn’t have anything to do with how he self-identifies.

              • I don’t know the last time J Otto filled out a US Census form, but I do remember the one I filled out in 2010, and it did contain provisions for multi-ethnic background, and even allowed the questionee to write a short description of their own as well as all the others printed on the form.

                I’d like to see a Bloggingheads with J. Otto and Manju, the latter of course, needs a parental release before he can participate……….

              • Murc says:

                Yeah, it couldn’t have anything to do with how he self-identifies.

                True story; my father’s wife says that Obama shouldn’t self-identify as “black” because it’s dishonest, on account of him being a mulatto.

                Yeah. Okay.

            • spencer says:

              But, in the US the one drop rule still applies for the most part.

              I’m reasonably sure that this is not the case.

              • CJColucci says:

                And where would this “one drop” rule “apply”? Not in general society; a “one-dropper” who wished to pass as white would surely get over. If it came out that the “one-dropper” was, indeed, a one-dropper, almost anyone this side of Steve Sailer would still regard him (or her) as white. There aren’t any laws I am aware of that make “one drop” racial ancestry relevant for any purpose. If there are, they are certainly vestigial organs of some former slave code and utterly unenforceable. So in what sense is there a “one drop rule” anymore?

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Somebody who is half Black like Obama or quarter Black or even less will usually identify as Black in the US rather than as mixed race or White. True, if there are no visible phenotypes this is unlikely. But, that still leaves a lot of mostly White people by ancestry identifying as Black. This is an internalization and legacy of the one drop rule and it is still the general social perception of most people. No it does not literally mean one drop anymore. But, people who are mostly White say one eighth Black like Pushkin was will generally self identify and be perceived by others as Black in the US. In Ghana all Blacks from the Western hemisphere are considered White because they have absorbed the White man’s culture during the last couple hundred years.

                • Hogan says:

                  people who are mostly White say one eighth Black like Pushkin was will generally self identify and be perceived by others as Black in the US.

                  And you know this how?

          • DrDick says:

            May I point out that race is socially constructed and imposed. It does not “pass down” in any biological sense from anyone, as humans simply do not have biological races. We are actually one of the least genetically diverse animal species. Most of the little diversity we have is concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              I never said it was biological. I said it was officially defined by the US census which has racial categories and definitions of those categories. This is a construction, but it is an official government construction not so much a social one.

    • The federal government does not classify individuals’ races by percentage. What the hell are you talking about?

  12. The Kenosha Kid says:

    Dude totally looks like Obama.

  13. socraticsilence says:

    Ouizanni, looks nothing like Obama normally- the problem (well one of, I mean the other obvious one being that only Satan and the Big angry guy who is defeated initially due to his inability to control his own libido are represented by people of color) is that he’s been made up in such a way as to make comparison inevitable.

  14. ploeg says:

    The focus on fine features is entirely misguided, shaped by your realist expectations. Everybody knows, for example, that Mary wears a blue dress, and any other features are entirely beside the point. And Jesus looks like a guy that Officer Obey would be sorely tempted to haul in. And the devil looks like Max von Sydow. And Obama totally looks like Max von Sydow, except insofar as he does not. So the comparison is spot on, if by spot on you mean close enough.

  15. Sharon says:

    Obama looks a bit like my dad at that age, and the Satan guy looks like my friend Cordell after the Ravens lost a late season game.

    Shorter:

    All black people do not look alike.

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      Except Ouazanni is legally White under US law.

      • rea says:

        This stuff about the law is pretty meaningless, but I suspect that if you passed the man on the street, you wouldn’t identify him as black. He rather resembles Omar Sharif . . .

      • spencer says:

        Nobody goes around asking people for their papers to clarify their race in the US, so I don’t really know why you insist on going on about what US law says about anything.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          Because the social construction of race is largely built upon the legal construction of race. If the US government had always insisted that people whose mother’s were White were also White I am pretty sure Obama would not call himself Black. It is in large part because of the legacy of the one drop rule in American society that he considers himself Black rather than mixed race or White. If he had grown up in another country, say Brazil he would identify his race differently. A huge part of the reason for different racial constructions in Brazil in the US is the legacy of US and Brazilian laws regarding racial classification.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Because the social construction of race is largely built upon the legal construction of race.

            How much more exactly backwards could this be? The answer is none more exactly backwards.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              Really, so racism today in the South today has nothing to do with the legacy of Jim Crow Laws? The reason racial discriminatory laws are enacted in the first place is because social racism is often insufficient to maintain racial borders. They tend to dissolve quite fast without official laws and force to maintain strict segregation. If everyday prejudice were enough to separate the races then there would be no reason for such laws. But, for instance it became necessary in South Africa to arrest and incarcerate quite a few White men to enforce the ban on interracial sex. It also became necessary to have laws preventing the hiring of skilled Black laborers because even racist mine owners were interested in saving money.

              • Malaclypse says:

                So, you don’t actually know what “social construction” means, do you?

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  It means that race is not a biological classification and that racial categories change depending upon different social circumstances. But, those categories and social circumstances are largely defined by the state not some Zeitgeist of prejudice that has no organized structure to enforce its will. Absent the power of the state to enforce racial borders it is impossible to maintain something like apartheid in South Africa or what exists in Israel today.

                • SEK says:

                  I think what Mal’s saying, Otto, is that the state typically codifies the unscientific definitions of race that are current in the culture. You’re putting the cart before the horse to say that the culture takes its cues from pre-codified laws.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  SEK is correct.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Those cultural prejudices are generally too weak without the state to sustain a full fledged system of racial segregation or domination. The borders of racial policing quickly decay if left only to social pressures without institutional backing. Can you point to anything like South African apartheid that was sustained without the backing of the state? You are confusing individual prejudice with racism which requires an ability to enforce those prejudices. This is why we do not talk about Black racism against Whites. There are prejudiced Blacks, but they lack the institutional power to deprive Whites of rights and opportunities.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Can you point to anything like South African apartheid that was sustained without the backing of the state?

                  The entire Book of Joshua would like a word with you.

                • Hogan says:

                  Those cultural prejudices are generally too weak without the state to sustain a full fledged system of racial segregation or domination.

                  But apparently they’re strong enough to get the state to act as their enforcer.

                • chris says:

                  Those cultural prejudices are generally too weak without the state to sustain a full fledged system of racial segregation or domination.

                  Unless people invent non-state organizations to do the enforcement. Sometimes they wear hoods too.

            • DrDick says:

              It is not possible to be more backward than that. Indeed, racial categorization often exists independent of law.

              • J. Otto Pohl says:

                It can but individual prejudice is not racism. Because racism is not merely disliking people because of their skin color even though liberals think that is what it is. It is the denial of rights and opportunities to groups of people based upon ancestry and lineage. That requires institutions of power. The most common of which is the state. If there are merely amorphous individuals (society) hating people of color with no institutions of power to deny them rights and opportunities it is not racism as I understand the term.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              Mal:

              Racism as I understand it historically did not develop until the Spanish reconquest of Iberia in 1492 and then spread out from there. It is thus a fairly modern development and one that is distinctly European in its origins. Much of the spread outside Europe was due to colonialism which was a state supported project almost everywhere. In other cases like in Thailand the education of indigenous leaders in Europe led them to adopt racist beliefs. The book of Joshua predates the development of racism by many centuries and takes place outside of Europe.

        • DrDick says:

          US law in fact only legally defines Native American identity. Louisiana (and perhaps a few others) has state laws defining “colored”.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            Now, but there used to be lots of state laws defining racial categories. Maybe it is not a law, but the census has official racial categories with specific definitions of who belongs to what race. That is the construction of race in the US is codified in the census.

      • CJColucci says:

        What is this “U.S. law” of which you speak? Can you point me to some section of the United States Code? The statutes of a significant number of states? A Supreme Court decision from the 20th-century on?

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          Okay, perhaps law is the wrong term. According to the official racial classifications of the US Census Department Arabs are White. But, the important thing here is that the government in the US does officially classify people according to race and it defines who belongs to what race.

          • Malaclypse says:

            No, it asks people to identify their race. Having compiled info for EEO-1s, you are not allowed to tell people they are wrong.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              Then why does it provide racial definitions at all? By telling people that they are White if they are of Middle Eastern or North African heritage it is clearly defining the category of White. They are providing an official categorization.

              • CJColucci says:

                The government has reasons to maintain certain statistics for research purposes, and even bad statistics are better than none at all. And they’re likely to be bad statistics, since, for example, mixed-race persons can fill out the form a number of different ways. The classifications tend to track not biological or social realities — let alone legal realities — but the types of inquiries such statistics will be used for. If, someday, the government becomes interested in questions that make it useful to, for example, have North Africans broken out separately, they will cease to be lumped in with “white.”

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Like when the US used the census date to separate out Japanese-Americans so it could “relocate” them?

                • CJColucci says:

                  I didn’t know you could leave a post without a “reply” button. Nice way to assure the last word.

                • SEK says:

                  Just hit the last available reply button and the last word can be yours too.

                • The government has reasons to maintain certain statistics for research purposes

                  Like when the US used the census date to separate out Japanese-Americans so it could “relocate” them?

                  No wonder you can’t get a job in this country.

                • The Census Bureau is forbidden by federal law to release census information about individuals to any other federal agency.

                  And pretending not to understand why collecting racial data is useful (analyzing patterns of discrimination, allocating funds for programs designed to address problems that disproportionately affect people of certain races) so that you can call the people who do actually give a shit about combatting racism “the real racists” is typical of the asshattery and ignorance of the “I don’t see race” crowd.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Are you liberals denying that your great hero FDR used the ethnic data collected from the US census to find where Japanese-Americans lived and then intern them? How are you any different than Michelle Malkin?

  16. Sharon says:

    Looks like my dad at that age after I told him that I needed help with my college phone bill.

  17. Warren Terra says:

    Liz Hurley doesn’t seem to be working much these days; why didn’t they get her to do it?

    More generally, and less snarkily, making Satan look both human and ugly (by which I mean warty, unhappy/unfriendly, a bit old, etcetera; I suspect this actor cleans up extremely well) is an obviously dumb move. The Satan you make is going to resemble someone, after all, and is likly to be of an identifiable ethnicity. Far more sensible to make Satan inhuman, or to make Satan pretty.

  18. in Waiting For The Galactic Bus, Satan was just a guy. The human race projected all their anger and destructive tendencies onto him.

    Amusingly enough, one of the funnier bits is when one of the later evangelists keeps on insisting to have an audience with Jesus, while completely ignoring the short, dark, Jewish guy named Yeshua sitting right there. So he goes around looking for a blue-eyed blonde guy.

  19. OhioDocReviewer says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6OKLgLZHFk

    Evil explains why he is better than the Supreme Being.

  20. [...] playing Satan looks a lot like President Obama. Everyone denies any intentional resemblance, and there’s reason to question whether there’s that much resemblance at all beyond “neither of them is white.” [...]

  21. That guy looks not completely dissimilar to Obama, I guess, now that they mention it.

    He probably looks more like Obama than 98% of the people out there. If he was in a classroom full of random people, he’d probably be the one who looked the most like Obama.

    But I can’t see yelling OMG, HE LOOKS JUST LIKE OBAMA! I probably wouldn’t have put it together if I saw that guy on the street.

    Why do I want to overlook these distinctions and age him in this way?

    Well, now I want to because this post made me think of it. Judgments about human faces are highly susceptible to suggestion, indeed.

    • Jameson Quinn says:

      A classroom full of white people? Sure. A classroom full of black people? Maybe, if it was a smallish classroom.

    • Jon Hendry says:

      “He probably looks more like Obama than 98% of the people out there. If he was in a classroom full of random people, he’d probably be the one who looked the most like Obama.”

      Sure. But if it’s a room full of *non*-random people, selected for their appearance and fit for certain roles, and there are only two non-white people, and one of them is playing Satan, and he happens to have a bit of a resemblance to Obama…

      Nobody would have made much of it if he were playing “Galilean fisherman #5″. But it’s Satan, a figure that fascinates people, so people would be guaranteed to be curious about what he looks like in the show. So when he turns up bearing a resemblance to Obama, people are going to notice.

      I’m also reminded of the prop George W. Bush people spotted on a pike in Game of Thrones, even though it was on screen only briefly, and had a long brown wig on, and I think was only seen in profile. (In that case they explained that they rented prop appendages in bulk and hadn’t intended it to represent Bush in any way.)

      If people noticed that foam head, and made a stink, it’s no surprise that they pick up on this resemblance.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Again Ouazanni is not “non-white” in a US legal context. Please go read the US census form regarding the definition of white and see that it includes all people with North African origins.

      • Acting Director Thomas L. Mesenbourg, U.S. Census Bureau says:

        Dear Mr. Hendry,

        It has recently come to my attention that you have referred to the actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni as “non-white”. I must inform you that as Mr. Ouazanni is an individual of North African descent, the United States Census Bureau cannot recognize this claim as correct. As you are doubtless aware, the form for the 2010 United States Census is the sole legal arbiter of race and ethnicity in this country and your assertion of a “non-white” identity for Mr. Ouazanni stands in direct contravention of the full power and majesty of the United States Census Bureau and carries no legal standing. Please correct this reprehensible and egregious act of illegal ethnography at your earliest possible convenience.

        Yours sincerely,

        Thomas L. Mesenbourg
        Acting Director, U.S. Census Bureau

        • spencer says:

          Whoever did this is my new favorite commenter.

        • Medrawt says:

          Maybe y’all don’t wanna call this actor “white”. It’s certainly true that a great many people in the US wouldn’t think of him as “white,” although I wonder how true that would’ve been a few decades ago. (I think of him as “white” because a significant percentage of North Africans, including maybe this guy from the one non-Satanish photo I’ve seen of him, look like my family, and we’ve been “white” for USA purposes for 100 years.)

          But he’s not black, which is really maybe the point that I think Pohl is trying to make. The shade from the hood doesn’t entirely obscure the fact that his skin is much paler than Obama’s, and his facial features alone are much less like Obama’s than, say, Obama’s white grandfather. You wouldn’t see him on the street and think “that guy is black,” let alone “that guy looks like Obama.”

  22. As Allahpundit admits, he now has “a new front-page thumbnail for when Obama pushes an especially terrible policy.”

    I don’t think I would have gotten it.

  23. owlbear1 says:

    That’s not a bubble, it’s a cast iron diving bell.

  24. Jon Hendry says:

    IMHO it looks like Obama-made-up-to-look-like-the-devil, not Obama-as-he-is-normally. The resemblance is stronger than the resemblance between Mark Ruffalo and the CGI-Hulk-based-on-Mark-Ruffalo.

    • Jon Hendry says:

      Additionally: if you wanted to hire an actual actor to portray a Satan who looks a bit like Obama, and you didn’t want to hire some 2-bit impersonator, and you didn’t want to use CGI, you could hardly choose someone better for the role.

      Especially if you didn’t want it to be a blatant anachronistic sight gag (“Satan is a skinny black guy in mom jeans”), but rather a role that fits the context even for viewers who miss the joke. (ie, plausible deniability.)

  25. Informant says:

    I find it weird that the first paragraph of this piece strongly suggests that it is conservatives who are seeing a similarity between the appearance of this actor and Obama when it has so far exclusively been my liberal friends on Facebook that have been posting about the issue.

    • NonyNony says:

      And yet SEK included links from Newsbusters and Allahpundit – both known liberal bastions on the Internets.

      This tells me that you either don’t have many conservative friends on Facebook or they don’t watch much History channel or they’re smart enough not to post “OMG The History Channel thinks that Obama is the Antichrist” anywhere that you might read it.

      And honestly the scorn anyone would get if they tried to use the History Channel as a credible source for anything should be enough to keep people from bringing this up as anything but something worth mocking.

    • I find it weirder that you didn’t notice the link in the first paragraph that goes to a right-wing site making the claim that the actor in question looks like Obama. Or the one a few lines down that goes to Newsbusters, yet another right-wing site.

      Context, how the fuck does that work?

    • SEK says:

      I find it weird that the first paragraph of this piece strongly suggests that it is conservatives who are seeing a similarity between the appearance of this actor and Obama when it has so far exclusively been my liberal friends on Facebook that have been posting about the issue.

      You use the word “exclusively” to mean something very different than I do. That said, my argument cuts both ways: if liberals are seeing a resemblance to Obama, it’s because they want to too. So, despite the hostility of your comment, my point stands either way.

    • I find it weird that the first paragraph of this piece strongly suggests that it is conservatives who are seeing a similarity between the appearance of this actor and Obama when it has so far exclusively been my liberal friends on Facebook that have been posting about the issue.

      Your liberal friends who came across the story making the connection, and then looked at the two photos having already read about it.

      As opposed the exclusively-conservative people who first wrote those stories, after having seen the character on the screen and thinking he looked like Obama, without being steered in that direction.

      As SEK writes, “judgments about human faces are highly susceptible to suggestion.”

  26. Julia Grey says:

    SEK, I was surprised that in your careful examination of the facial similarities/differences, you did not directly address the eyebrows. Structures around between and above the eyebrows, and the eyes and eyelids, but not the eyebrows themselves.

    Contrary to others’ perceptions here, I see a lot of similarity in the shape, placement and size of the eyebrows between these two men. Since strong eyebrows are very potent symbols of manhood, I think they must also be important “identifiers” in our system of recognition for male faces.

    The brows drew my attention when I first saw this pairing in the UK’s Daily Mail (I think), and caused me (along with the “upside down triangles” on the cheeks, etc. that you noted) to agree that there WAS a certain resemblance.

    Whether that “certain resemblance” was intentionally emphasized, and/or by whom or how, is another set of questions entirely. Seeing a similarity in the first place and then publicizing it, as the conservatives apparently did quite quickly, is one way of emphasizing it and convincing the world at large, but the resemblance could also have been deliberately enhanced by the producers of the program, and they could have even whispered something about it into some right-blogger’s shell-like ear in order to generate this little controversy (and increase viewership).

    If what I’m hearing is true, it IS interesting that the devil seems to be the only character depicted as non-white in the cast. And the “hoodie” does seem to be just a TEENY bit gratuitous as well.

    All this reminds me of the way that the Persian Bad Guys in 300 were largely depicted as some sort of black African tribal type rather than anything like their actual ARYAN ethnicity.

    • Julia Grey says:

      P.S.

      Take a look at how Bloomberg Businessweek chose to age Obama, and see how many of the features of the older man (the folds between the eyebrows, the sunken cheeks, etc.) are similar to the current “Satan.”

      Old Obama

      Of course, this depiction also shows that the eyes and eyebrows are more UNLIKE each other, so….

  27. mch says:

    SEK, I really enjoy your posts, but this is, well, kind of reactionary (classical sense). Sure, conceptual framing is all, so forth and so on. How’s about the obvious, big-picutre conceptual framing here? Devil is black, Jesus and his followers white. (When we have a black president under assault from the right for, well, being black.) ANY further, possible resemblance to that president is “enough.”

  28. SpaceSquid says:

    Coming to this rather late, but can’t you play a similar game with any number of pairs of people some think look alike? I always thought Scott Foley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan look similar, at least in/at some lights/looks/ages, but would that impression hold out any better if one were to go through their facial details one by one?

    I think the question “do these two people look alike to you” includes so large a degree of subjectivity that arguing specific differences demonstrate one’s holistic impression is in any useful sense “incorrect” is too strong a statement. I’ve no doubt that race-blindness and priming are both at play here in many cases, but that’s some distance away from claiming they are the primary/only motivator in every case. There’s just too many white people my white girlfriend and my white self argue about over perceived similarities for that position to stand.

    Unless such an extreme position has been taken for the sake of what I think is called “rhetoric”? If that were the sort of thing SEK was into, though, you’d think he’d have the decency to mention it from time to time.

  29. Obama is not my fauther nor is be me. If you don’t beleve me ask mr.star my dads layer.

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