August 31, 2010

Change and Taupe

President Obama has redecorated the Oval Office, and it turns out to be just as scintillating and individualistic as we've come to expect from Mr. Excitement:
"The look is angular and modern — it evokes the feel of a den — and tends toward neutral hues of browns and taupe ..."  

42 comments:

headache said...

Yes he also declared the end of combat operations in Iraq. Didn't we have that before? Didn't he get the Nobel Peace Prize for this, or have I got something mixed up?

Anonymous said...

There is a far, far better version of the story at the UK Daily Mail:

Churchill out, Martin Luther King in: First glimpse at President Obama's revamped and thoroughly modern Oval Office

I actually thought of you [and e.g. your theories about golf-courses-as-works-of-art] when I read that story this morning.

The Obamas have atrocious taste in interior decorating - but does that really surprise anyone?

And I wonder what 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is smelling like these days?

PS: Check out this above the fold screamer at Yahoo - "Obama address stumbles in significance ; A cautious president awkwardly marks an important milestone for the country's mission in Iraq ; Words that he avoided".

The vultures are circling...

Anonymous said...

No mention of an ashtray. It'd probably be in poor taste to use Willy's cigar ashtray. How's dear leader's habit coming anyway? It looked like he could have used one tonight, especially at the beginning. I'm curious not so much because I begrudge him of it, there's nothing wrong with smoking, although it is getting to be a rarity for youngish politicians. The press probably leaves him alone about it lest he be emmulated by the youth. I'm curious because no matter what happens in this election, when he leaves office he will be fairly young. I just want to know the odds of hearing the words Justice Obama.

Anonymous said...

I just want to know the odds of hearing the words Justice Obama.

For my own mental health and for the good of the country, I hope the odds are low. Very, very, very, low.

Anonymous said...

i think if Obama were more schintillating or individualistic, you'd accuse him of being a muslim or a hippie.

truth is, he can't win.

he's black and you don't trust him.

his attempts at being "mainstream" and "boring" are derided by you as fakeries.

he can't win.

you can't overlook his color.

Kylie said...

Steve Sailer said..."President Obama has redecorated the Oval Office, and it turns out to be just as scintillating and individualistic as we've come to expect from Mr. Excitement."

Actually, it is quite individualistic--but not in a good way. Other presidents have put their own stamp on the room but generally kept to the formal, traditional look in keeping with its Federal style.

Obama, though, has grafted informal, modern elements more suitable to a den or business office onto what is, after all, a ceremonial space of national significance. His additions look out-of-place and discordant. I imagine he's not unaware of that. He does enjoy thumbing his nose at his non-fans.

Big bill said...

It's the Jimmy Carter Aw Shucks Down Home Sweater Look writ large. At least Jimmeh could take the sweater off and wear a suit if he wanted to look adult. Hard to dress a room every morning. So does he have a 42 inch TV hidden in the credenza and a built in beer cooler for watching the Super Bowl in comfort with his budz?

Hesper said...

"i think if Obama were more schintillating or individualistic, you'd accuse him of being a muslim or a hippie.

truth is, he can't win.

he's black and you don't trust him."

Even as an Australian who saw his first Negro in the flesh only two years ago, I can tell a black American from his prose and the mildly snarling tone of it.

Anonymous said...

More pics soon in "Better Homies and Gardens".

Anonymous said...

The Oval Office looks like a 'community room' in a nursing home.

Cordelia said...

I thought it could've been a lot worse and was quite relieved to see all the taupe.

The coffee table and the blue table lamps are awful ... and no comment on the MLK quote on the carpet (not to mention sending Churchill back to England) ... but at least there's no zebra stripes on anything. Or (God help us) Yoruba figurines.

jack strocchi said...

I didnt know there were that many shades of beige out there.

dearieme said...

1) The chair: everyone should use an office chair that he finds comfortable. If the old one was uncomfortable the new chair should have been charged to the taxpayer.
2) The sunburst carpet: I'd have changed it too. If the change were just a matter of taste, it should not be charged to the taxpayer.
3) The rest: oh come on, he's just a bloody politician. What in God's name was the point in claiming to give up monarchy and then obsessing over your Presidents as if they were monarchs? It's childish. And you should give up all this "First Lady" idiocy as well; it's worse than childish.

Anonymous said...

More pics soon in "Better Homies and Gardens".

Better Homies and Altgeld Gardens - the asbestos issue.

Baloo said...

I think of him more as PUCE.

jimbo said...

I'm actually somewhat surprised he kept the Remington sculpture in there - he doesn't seem like someone with particular affinity for the Old West...

Anonymous said...

We can only hope the recession prevents them from imposing the "audacity of taupe" on the rest of the White House.

The comments on this act of historical vandalism at the New York Times are interesting. A fair number are appropriately negative, but then there are those that reflexively gush about how "classy" the room has become.

Anonymous said...

"Modern" is not a problem, but that adjective doesn't describe what I saw--it's pure casual. I like beiges and browns (with some accents, of course); I like them in my family room, and I like casual, but not in the Oval Office which, whether any President likes it or not, is not just his office, but the office of the People. The Oval Office is highly symbolic, and it seems to me that he should have realized the American people have a connection that requires respect. (Why doesn't it surprise me that he doesn't give a damn about what the American people think?)

The casual sofas and the coffee table do not suggest the dignity or tie to tradition and the historical past that most would wish to be displayed there.

The Obamas can do anything they'd like to their private quarters, but this place is different. What's next? Painting the White House something other than white?

Anonymous said...

schintillating?

and people make fun of bush and palin?

-bushrod

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder how deep blacks resentment towards whites runs. I suspect it is deeper than we are willing to believe.

Blacks have always been a junior partner. Prior to 1865 they had no in put at all. After that, their influence has grown, albeit slowly and only in certain areas. One area they have had almost no culturial footprint in is in architecture and interior design. In this country, what was not borrowed from whites in Europe was created by dead white males.

I am sure that somewhere deep inside, The President and Michelle Obama have a "chip" on their shoulder, which is why they hate the old and embrace the new.

Brent Lane said...

he's black and you don't trust him.

Those are actually two mutually exclusive thoughts. Except that one of them is only half right.

Tell me this, if everything else about Obama's history was exactly the same, with the exception that his father had been, say, this radical activist from Africa instead of this one, do you think he would have still been elected President?

For that matter, would he have still been elected to represent the 13th District in the Illinois State Senate?

As far as his reboot of the Oval Office decor, it's pretty much what you would expect from someone raised from childhood by an elderly white couple from Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Hesper. you never saw any Australian Aboriginals?

Rick Darby said...

The New York Times headlines:

"President’s Office Takes On New Neutral Tones," and then, as if to reassure us, "but Keeps Its Familiar Shape."

So it's still oval.

Who says Obama's a radical?

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."More pics soon in 'Better Homies and Gardens'".

Yes, along with a feature article titled, "The Obamas Bring Much-Needed Color to a Too White House".

Sheila said...

Kylie - good comments re the awkward grafting of modern den elements into what is a "ceremonial space of national significance." The Won and the Wookie like pomp and pageantry (ebonics translation: bling) but are utterly lacking in respect for tradition and formality.

Hesper - I, too, was able to instantly discern the comment's provenance. While there are lazy and ignorant whites who think it's cute to use all lower-case letters, it's more often a black who does so, having been taught it's "literary" a la bell hooks.

Anonymous said...

The vultures are circling...

What was Obama's Oval Office address about, exactly?
By Richard Cohen
August 31, 2010; 9:18 PM ET
voices.washingtonpost.com

Was it about Iraq, as we were led to expect, or was it about Afghanistan, as we were not led to expect? Was it about the economy, which the president mentioned, or education, which he also mentioned? Could it have been directed at Iraqis, whom the president praised in terms they would not have recognized, or was it about our troops, whom the president praised over and over again -- a kind of rhetorical tick that suggested he had run out of things to say? As a speech, Obama delivered a version of the pudding once served Winton Churchill. “Pray, remove it,” he supposedly said. “It lacks theme.”

An Oval Office speech is supposed to be an important event. This was only Obama’s second, after all, and if he asks us all to interrupt our schedules and listen to what he has to say, then he at least ought to say something. In this, he dismally failed...


Isn't "miserable failure" the Google bomb that the left worked so hard to plant against George W Bush?

Kylie said...

Sheila said..."Kylie - good comments re the awkward grafting of modern den elements into what is a 'ceremonial space of national significance.'"

Thanks, Sheila. Interior design is one of my passions so you can imagine my dismay at seeing the Obama redo. From a political aspect, it's offensive; from an aesthetic aspect, it's horrid.

And: "The Won and the Wookie like pomp and pageantry (ebonics translation: bling) but are utterly lacking in respect for tradition and formality."

Exactly. Or put another way, pride but no dignity.

Anonymous said...

I like some modern architecture and decor:

http://tinyurl.com/28pt56b

And the Oval Office has sometimes looked pretty bad:

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/west-wing/oval-office-history.htm

But I think the new decor is ugly. You could renovate the office and make it a beautiful modern room. But then it wouldn't look like the Oval Office anymore. So don't go halfway by just changing the color scheme and putting in a new coffee table. Putting in beige carpets, sofas, wallpaper, and drapes doesn't make the room modern. It just makes it beige.

Anonymous said...

"i think if Obama were more schintillating or individualistic, you'd accuse him of being a muslim or a hippie.

truth is, he can't win.

he's black and you don't trust him.

his attempts at being "mainstream" and "boring" are derided by you as fakeries.

he can't win.

you can't overlook his color."


Ah, one of Twoof's less educated and more typographically challenged "brothers".

We have been making similar complaints about white politicians for centuries, but when we try to do the same to a black politician, it's "racism".

Playing the race card: it is your one and only tactic.

Truth said...

"i think if Obama were more schintillating or individualistic, you'd accuse him of being a muslim or a hippie."

He does have a point, Steven.

Curvy said...

"He does have a point, Steven."

Well, yeah, but if he comes his hair just right, maybe no one will notice.

Anonymous said...

I like how the commenters alternate between "Obama is a bloodless SWPL yuppie masquerading as a black man" and "Obama is ghetto trash debasing the integrity of the White House." Stay classy, iSteve commentariat!

Silver said...

Hesper. you never saw any Australian Aboriginals?

They're Australoids, not Negroids.

Anonymous said...

why do u do nothing but attack president barrack obama, mr sailer?

if white people is so great why does they have a problem with giving up some of their power to black ppl? do u have a problem with being historicaly fair?

answer me that, mr sailer. why are u so afraid of ideas?

Alex Kurtagic said...

How weird this is. In my dystopian novel, Mister, I have a race-obsessed police inspector, "Obama" (based on our friend Barack), who, as it happens, likes to wear beige and brown suits, shirts, and ties. I had no idea when I wrote those chapters in early 2008 that the gentleman who would eventually end up in the White House would betray identical tastes in with his furniture. Evidently, Obama is enamoured with brownness in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

why do u do nothing but attack president barrack obama, mr sailer? if white people is so great why does they have a problem with giving up some of their power to black ppl? do u have a problem with being historicaly fair? answer me that, mr sailer. why are u so afraid of ideas?

PLEASE tell me that this is a parody of a troll, and not an actual troll.

[The fact that "their" is spelled correctly, - and is not either "they're", "there", or simply "they" - suggests to me a parody.]

Truth said...

"PLEASE tell me that this is a parody of a troll, and not an actual troll."

Well it's written in all lower-case, that should be hint enough.

Anonymous said...

Well it's written in all lower-case, that should be hint enough.

Yeah, but a hint which way - actual or parody?

Sorry, I'm clueless.

Truth said...

Send Steve an E-mail. I think he'll let you in on the joke.

Anonymous said...

Should that be taupe, or red taupe? There's a lot of that coming out of Washington these days!

CuChulainn said...

I think all of this "Obama is a Muslim" controversy recently is a red herring by the Democrats to try to sway the public away from the hemmorhaging in the polls Obama is doing to the Democrats before the upcoming elections. Obama screws up with the public in one decision after another- Officer Crowley, bowing to overseas heads of state, health care reform, illegal immigration stalling, etc.

So the Dems decide- lets bring up a diversion that some of these same America people suspect- that Obama may be a Muslim. (Nevermind that most of the populace didn't think he was). Now we can publicly shame the American populace for something - bad racist, bad Islamophobe. With the overarching theme that you must be a bad person if you think badly about the president or Dems, and you should ignore what they have actually done.

Anonymous said...

Oval Office rug gets history wrong
By Jamie Stiehm
Saturday, September 4, 2010
washingtonpost.com

..."The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

Except it's not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama...