While the media obsess over Rick Warren’s prayer minute, no one seems to notice the sexualized oeuvre of Obama’s appointed Inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander. Her well-known poem “The Venus Hottentot” is about black female exploitation, specifically a Cape Town slave and her naked exhibition for audiences in London and Paris in the early 19th century. It contains the line, “her genitalia will float inside a labeled pickling jar.” And: “Since my own genitals are public I have made other parts private.” And: “I am a black cutout against a captive blue sky, pivoting nude so the paying audience can view my naked buttocks.” Then there’s this passage:
In this newspaper lithograph, my buttocks are shown swollen and luminous as a planet.
Monsieur Cuvier investigates between my legs, poking, prodding, sure of his hypothesis.
I half expect him to pull silk scarves from inside me, paper poppies, then a rabbit.
Can’t Obama select a poet who doesn’t seem like such a faddish favorite at the National Endowment for the Arts? (See the poem read on YouTube.)