Obama Butcher Chart
About by Jonathan Duckworth
Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University and a reader for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANK Magazine, Thrice Fiction, Cha, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.
In a warehouse in Toledo are copies of a poster commissioned in 2012 by a Super PAC. Part of an abortive multi-media attack campaign, it was nixed not for being too incendiary, but because the metaphor was deemed “too complicated” for thirty second-long television spots. The poster featured a silhouette of one Barack Hussein Obama (the big, listing ears gave it away), sectioned up like a cow in a butcher chart.
In summer of 2012 the PAC’s creative staff held a meeting where the artist, gesturing at a projection of the poster using a telescoping pointer, laid out his vision:
“Here, on the left leg, from the ankle to the hamstring, is the part of Obama that’s Muslim.”
“And the right calf?” an intern asked.
“The part of him that’s Marxist,” the artist answered.
“I thought that was his left hand.”
“No, his left hand is Leninist.”
“And the midsection? What’s that zero stand for?”
“It means his gut is atheist. Also notice it’s surrounded by agnostic fatty deposits.”
“How about the area around the clavicle?”
“Obviously his fascist parts,” said the artist with a huff. “You can’t recognize a swastika?”
“Well, yeah, but I thought maybe he could be a closet-Buddhist.”
“Jerry, that would be a non-slanted swastika,” pointed out another intern. “This is a National Socialist Hakenkreuz.”
“Okay, fine. But what’s the deal with that uncolored piece around his right trapezius? Is it just ideological gristle or something?”
“Oh, that?” The artist had to rack his memory to recall what it stood for. “I think that’s the part of the president that likes sweet potatoes.”