1. For a discussion of cinematic apparatus theory, see Jean-Louis Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Apparatus,” Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology, Philip Rosen, ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). For a discussion of suture, see Oudart, Jean-Pierre, “Cinema and Suture,” trans. Kari Hanet, Screen 18 (Winter 1978). This issue of Screen, with submissions by Jacques Alain Miller and Stephen Heath, takes up the question of suture in detail. See also Silverman, Kaja. The Subject of Semiotics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), chapter 5. [return to page 1 of essay]

3. For pictures of the two young men, and articles on the incident, see, for instance,

4. In the United States, on the other hand, the gas chamber has been considered a more humane alternative to its predecessors, hanging or the electric chair. My thanks to Chuck Kleinhans for pointing out this distinction.

5. YouTube has removed the link to Wright’s 9/16/01 speech, but an audio version exists at
Another representative blog defending Trinity Church may be found at
(These sites are provided for access to relevant material; the author and editors take no position on or responsibility for other content on them). The YouTube video of Wright’s April 2003 sermon is at
[return to page 3 of essay]

6. The Middle Passage refers to the capture and enslavement of African peoples by Europeans and Americans.

7. The speech may be found at

8. Kiely, Kathy and Jill Lawrence, “Clinton Makes Case for Wide Appeal.” USA Today 7 May 2008.

9. Thrush, Glen. “Clinton Apologizes for RFK Remark.” Loa Angeles Times, 24 May 2008.

10. The whole sermon has since been removed from YouTube, but audio versions still circulate freely. See note above. This essay makes no judgment about the totality of Reverend Wright’s thought. It is concerned solely with his sermons of 2001 and 2003, and with Barack Obama’s response to him.

11. For a more detailed discussion of the use of race and of language in relation to Reverend Wright in the 2008 campaign, see Herman, Edward S. and David Peterson, “Jeremiah Wright in the Propaganda System.” Monthly Review (September 2008).

13. This essay was prepared with support from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto. Thanks to Chuck Kleinhans for his detailed and very constructive criticism, to Anna McCarthy for her supportive and constructive feedback on early versions of this piece, and to Aubrey Anable for close reading and very valuable comments on later drafts. Thanks also to Christopher Heron for his keen eye and invaluable assistance in obtaining and organizing the images for this essay.

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