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They're so divisive. (And gorgeous)


The official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, and by god we like 'em. Some people are griping because they aren't photorealistic depictions of Barry and Michelle, but that's exactly what we like about them. Kehinde Wiley's painting of President Obama actually puts him in a fairly traditional, if somewhat casual pose, no tie, but sitting in a chair looking like he's thinking of ... destroying America probably, or perhaps trying to figure out how he's going to save it, more like. Or maybe he's trying to recall the name of the bad guy in a Conan the Barbarian comic. He really is such a nerd.

Oh, but all that greenery! This is the president in a garden (or, strangely, hovering in one?), a president whose first lady was famous for her garden at the White House. Put him in the garden, then, in a green place that's as lush as his native Hawaii. We won't Freshman Art it to death, but damn, it's nice.

The New York Times artsplains:

From the greenery sprout flowers that have symbolic meaning for the sitter. African blue lilies represent Kenya, his father’s birthplace; jasmine stands for Hawaii, where Mr. Obama himself was born; chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, reference the city where his political career began, and where he met his wife.

We loved this tweet, too:

And then there's Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, which at first seems muted, but then you start noticing the colors in the dress (a design by Michelle Smith, the NYT informs us couture dolts) and that pose that's as serious as a presidential portrait. More artsplaining:

Ms. Sherald also starts with realism, but softens and abstracts it. She gives all her figures gray-toned skin — a color with ambiguous racial associations — and reduces bodies to geometric forms silhouetted against single-color fields.

Yr Editrix, who IS an art critic, had this to say:

They're both gorgeous paintings, and we don't mind saying half of that is because we're taken by their subjects.

Not everybody loved 'em. Fox News had a little difficulty settling on a headline for its story. Originally (we love the Wayback Machine) it was "Michelle Obama portrait faces social media mockery after unveiling." That actually got meaner after a while, morphing into "Michelle Obama portrait faces brutal mockery after unveiling." Apparently that was TOO mean, since, as of right now, it's "Michelle Obama portrait faces brutal mockery, some praise after unveiling." Isn't that nice of them? The piece noted that several people on Twitter insisted it wasn't even really a painting of Michelle Obama, possibly because they only remember her from Twitter memes and Ben Garrison cartoons as a screaming harpy shoveling junk food in her face while making YOUR kids eat cardboard.

Ben Shapiro was classy as ever:

To be fair, the Fox piece also included some people who really liked the portraits, plus some from Obama fans who thought Michelle might not have liked the portrait, which strikes us as nuts.

Noted aesthete Rush Limbaugh was thoroughly disgusted by the paintings and by liberals' reactions to them, because like a bunch of sheeple we're all saying we like them because we like the Obamas:

The conservative host zeroed in on CNN and “some guy named Fallon” — former Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. Limbaugh claimed that Fallon stopped just short of crying. And in a highly mocking tone, the host mimicked the Clinton staffer’s remarks.

“Oh my God this is so wonderful!” A highly sarcastic Limbaugh said. “To have braininess back. To have intelligence, to have people we could be proud of!”

By way of counterpoint, Rush Limbaugh is a fucking idiot.

One more and we're out:

They are just saying, racist white people, THEY ARE JUST SAYING!

It's now your OPEN THREAD! Talk about art if you want! Or about something else! You know how this works.

Update: We would be remiss if we failed to include this essential Chicago perspective from Chris Hayes:

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to send us money, like a genuine patron of the arts. With dick jokes.

[NYT / WaPo / Fox News / Mediaite]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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