Martha’s Vineyard prepares for Barack Obama/Scott Feschuk bromance

Our columnist predicts that he and the president will totally hit it off this week


Yes, I am away again. On holiday, man. Living la vida pantless on Martha’s Vineyard, vacation playground of many, many famous celebrities such as Michael J. Fox, Spike Lee and Meg Ryan, and also the ones we’ve actually seen, such as the guy who played Mr. Bentley on The Jeffersons. Also, two years ago my car got rear-ended here by Walter Cronkite IV. Does that count?

Barack Obama arrives here Sunday for a one-week vacation, and I’m finding it difficult to envision a scenario that doesn’t end with the President and me meeting by chance and totally hitting it off. I’m talking movie-montage-worthy male bonding, complete with awkward half-hugs, non-sexual shirtlessness and the requisite sharing of nuclear launch codes. Don’t say I didn’t predict it. In fact, look for me and Mr. Bentley to fill out the foursome when Obama plays golf next week with Tiger Woods, which is supposed to be a big secret, so shhh…

In the meantime, I’ve been fascinated by the traditional American welcome that’s being prepared for the Obamas: dozens of different novelty T-shirts bearing the President’s name and image. This is U.S. capitalism at its most made-in-Chinaness! Here’s a quick photographic tour through the shop windows and souvenir stands of Martha’s Vineyard (mostly the town of Oak Bluffs, the island’s traditional African-American enclave).


The T-shirt itself is unremarkable, but this cardboard cutout of Joe Biden actually improves on the original by flashing the same smile but without the hassle and aggravation of possessing vocal cords. (Also, no matter what you think of Biden, you simply can’t pass up getting a second Vice-President at half price. That’s just common sense.)


Hey, look, it’s America’s first couple – and my Dad! This is not only a cutline for this photograph, it’s the full content of my next sitcom pitch to CBC.

cap and shirt

Two common themes here – the invocation of the term “Summer White House” (on the cap) and the reworking of Obama’s campaign symbol, this time to place Martha’s Vineyard at its centre. A third common theme – the belief that tourists will buy anything. (Full disclosure: I am a tourist and I will buy anything.)


This shop has the early lead in the sweepstakes to determine who can make the President look most like Brainiac’s half-brother.

Here’s a tip: when making a T-shirt that depicts the image of your President, try to make the image look at least something like your President. To judge from this design, it’s 1965 and Martha’s Vineyard is about to visited by Sammy Davis Jr.

vacationed with

This is the shirt that seems to be the biggest seller on the island right now. A lot of people are wearing it. These people are all liars.


Bill Clinton was here earlier this week for a round of golf and an ice cream cone. I seriously considered buying the Hillary mask and following him around, shouting, “This man is NOT the Secretary of State! I AM THE SECRETARY OF STATE!!”


If this works, tell me the insurance companies won’t feel dumb for having spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying to fight health care reform.


There’s something I enjoy about the display in this shop window: Obama merchandise, Obama merchandise, Obama, Obama, more Obama merchandise, additional Obama merchandise, Obama, Obama and a starfish for some reason.

It wouldn’t be America if you couldn’t enjoy your President in food form.


Not a bad shirt at all. I kind of like it. But – and I guess I’m just curious here – was it completely necessary to make the President look quite so stoned?


A T-shirt not enough for you? Could I interest you in a watch that looks so flimsy that the words “lifetime warranty” should appear in quotes? Also, I had no idea the “Seal of the President of the United States” was a photograph of a black man standing with his arms folded. That must have been somewhat contentious back in the 1800s.

My to-do list looks similar to this, but includes an afternoon nap with Mr. Bentley.


Not many stores here catering to the anti-Obama crowd. If I were braver, and bigger, and unable to perceive potential consequences to my actions, I would throw on one of these and stroll up and down the main street of Oak Bluffs, just to see what would happen. By the way: Can you read the words through the reflection in the glass? It’s Sarah Palin saying, “I can see Martha’s Vineyard from my house.” Now THAT is a T-shirt I would buy.

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Martha’s Vineyard prepares for Barack Obama/Scott Feschuk bromance

  1. I'm still trying to figure out if "citizen movement" as found on the watch display is advocating a revolution…

    And whose head was that Obama mask before they repainted it?

  2. I don't know – the green T-Shirt looks more like Mario Dumont (if his dad was Kenyan) than Sammy Davis Jr.

    • So true!

  3. Tell your Dad to "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

    Larry David rarely smiles.

  4. So, rumours were going around that Chelsea Clinton was getting married at Martha's Vineyard and is one of the reasons Obamas will be there, which have been denied ……….. so what's the scoop?

    • What? The Tiger Woods scoop wasn't enough for you people?! I haven't really asked around about Chelsea. I did see Vernon Jordan, who's rumoured to the hosting the affair, in the parking lot of a drug store driving his sweet red convertible. But the subject of the wedding never really came up in the conversation we never had because he frightens me.

  5. Where's the "My President went to Martha's Vineyard and all he got me was a lousy stimulus" T-Shirt? Or the hat with the seagull poop on it that says "Damn Wall Street Execs"?

  6. Is it just me, or is a chalkboard sign celebrating America's first black president while at the same time offering *watermelon* drinks in absurdly bad taste?

    • Plus – and I debated mentioning this – it looks like someone may have just taken a leak on the sign. If you've been to Oak Bluffs, you know this is definitely a possibility.

  7. The guy who played Mr. Bently died last December. Is there an imposter?

    • We encountered him here last summer at an outdoor shakespeare thing. He sat down in front of us and immediately cracked open a bottle of wine, winning my heart forever. That very same day, i saw alan dershowitz at a flea market. Clearly, a tough day to top.

  8. Is Wells down there with you as well? We haven't heard from him lately. I just assumed he was visiting his Aunt down in New York due to this recent G&M story:

    Arlene Horst, a 67-year-old reader from Geneva, N.Y., calls The Budget's [119-year-old Amish weekly ]office often to complain about delivery problems. She likes to read her newspaper on Sundays, before the news grows “stale,” she says.

  9. A half-price Vice President does sound pretty good, but I need to be sure that the savings will outrun the shipping cost from The Vineyard to Toronto. And what about customs? ("Anything to declare?" "Yes – a Joe Biden") .

  10. hi, Scott Feschuk
    Just finished reading Aug.24th issue on recession..were you kidding about Apple making seven "trillion" dollars from downloads of Michael Jackson's trillion???

  11. On holiday again? When did you stop holidaying?

  12. great pictures, scott. amusing, really, what people are selling in the name of obama these days.

  13. Considering who frequents Martha's Vineyard, why not T shirts with "Tax me harder Mr. President, I'm rich"?