The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interpretation of the Redecoration of the Oval Office

By: Katie Getting

The first thing that I noticed when I looked at the picture of Obama’s speech was the multiple pictures of his wife and daughters in the background.  I think that that is supposed to scream to the American public that he values family and would never do anything to jeopardize family values.  It also makes him human in the fact that he has a family that he needs to care for and also provide for like so many other Americans do.
The second thing that I noticed was the fact that his desk was completely clear of any clutter or even any papers whatsoever.  I think this portrays to the public that the President isn’t messy in either his politics or his work.  It seems like everything is kept in order, and there are never any random problems arising.
Behind the President’s desk, there are both of the American flags that convey the message of the importance of our independence and the freedom that we have come to expect as citizens of the United States.  The fact that his office has multiple windows all around it also gives a feeling of security that no one at the White House is worried about people breaking in or shooting through the windows, and that he is not kept in a windowless room to increase his security.  It portrays confidence in the American public and the multiple agencies providing us with protection.
The fact that the couches and the curtains are all covered with a velvety material also symbolized something for me.  Velvet in Medieval times symbolized wealth which is what the decorator of the Oval Office may be trying to portray to the American people.  It’s like he’s saying America is still wealthy and rich, and we don’t have as many money troubles that all of us know that we do have.  This also gives us faith in our government and what we hope it will be able to achieve. 
Finally, the fact that the color combination of the redecorated Oval Office is mostly different shades of taupe means something to me.  Taupe seems like such as safe color.  We would all probably freak out if the President decided to paint the Oval Office lime green because it is so loud and “dangerous” as compared to taupe.  The fact that they chose such as passive and safe color shows that the President is “safe” and won’t try to attempt anything too risky when it comes to his job and policies.  If the color of the room had been something louder, we might all start to wonder what crazy ideas he would come up with for our country.  It definitely conveys some kind of message to the American people.

1 comment:

  1. I also agree that the pictures say that Obama values family and family values. I found it interesting how you pointed out how the desk was full of clutter and clean. I think maybe they are trying to saying something about the way he is. The colors were interesting too because I did not notice them until you pointed them out. --- Alex Kaster