The two parody music videos shown in this exhibit, “Hott4Hill” and “I’ve gotta crush…on Obama,” draw attention to issues of sex and race that were often off limits during the Democratic Primary. The video “I’ve gotta crush…on Obama,” uses the hip hop music genre to address the candidate’s connection to the black community and plays up sexual references and innuendo common to hip hop music videos. Lyrics like “so black and sexy, you’re so fine” draw connections between Obama’s race and his sexuality. This depiction of the candidate blurs the line between Obama as celebrity and Obama as politician. In the mainstream media discussions about Obama’s racial identity and celebrity status were often met with accusations of racism. The parody video, situated in the carnivalesque atmosphere of YouTube, brings the conversation down to a level where viewers can address taboo topics without fear of violating social conventions.
During the Clinton campaign, the candidate was often cited as saying that she “was not running as a women.” This quote was routinely used to avoid addressing issues of gender that are so often associated with the presidency, and it became a way for mainstream media to circumvent accusations of sexism in their coverage of the candidate. The video “Hott4Hill” brings the candidate’s sex to the forefront. The producers of the video juxtapose references to Clinton’s policy choices and experience with images of phallic symbols, comments on the candidate's sex appeal, and the use of a jet stream as a thinly veiled innuendo for male ejaculation. Lyrics such as "I know you're not gay, but I'm hoping for bi" and offers to be the candidate's French maid, eroticize the candidate in a way that makes discussions of gender issues difficult to avoid. This video was posted as a response to the Obama Girl campaign, which raises some question about the contrasting depictions of the two candidates as sex symbols.
The Democratic Primary was a tense time for most members of the party, with a tremendous amount of in-fighting taking place. In that environment, conversations about sex and race were often filled with accusations of sexism and racism. The online carnival became a space for voters to shout statements they might not have whispered in public. These videos provide interesting examples of the burlesque performances of political participation that seem to characterize much of the 2008 election cycle.