Thunderbirds are go...

Submitted by admin on Sun, 11/01/2009 - 00:00

A recent advertisement promoting cheaper fares to London on Virgin Atlantic has clearly been designed to appeal to the younger hip black british traveller but there's something suspiciously stereotypical about the way its imagery has been handled. As smart as this couple look with his cool shades and her trendy bob, they remind us that race is a system of shifting signifiers marked by skin tone, bulging eyes and boobs. I have stared at these images trying to place their visual pedigree in a lineage of  posters for commodities that range from pancake syrups to luxury soaps, and their source is surprisingly not black but white. With their big heads and rubberized complexions they resemble the intrepid Thunderbirds; those rocket flying puppets who commandeered the skies and our image of the future on television back in the 1960s. How clever of Virgin Atlantic to make this link between their airline and the space travel that must have been every child's aspiration back then. Presumably, its our turn to be on the go...