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The Power To Impress - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The Power To Impress
I've written before about how reporters and editors at publications like The New York Times seem to go out of their way to avoid giving George W. Bush the courtesy of cleaning up quotes. Instead of making him sound more Presidential by covering over the hesitations that almost everyone makes in spoken discourse or fixing the syntactical infelicities that he is particularly prone to making, they often appear to opt for direct transcription. I'm all for making the President look as bad as his policies, but I do think such deviations from standard quote handling are worth noting.

Today I came across this Joshua Roberts photo of Vice President Dick Cheney from a few days ago:

The caption informs us that it was taken during Cheney's speech to the Frontiers of Freedom Institute 2005 Ronald Reagan Gala in Washington, D.C. on November 16, 2005. Although the image is powerful on its own, the fact that it derives from "the sharpest White House attack yet on critics of the Iraq war" gives it added force. As much as I appreciate it, though, I have to lump it together with newspapers' decision not to clean up Bush's quotes. The angle, the tight cropping, the stars in the background all make Cheney look like the villain in a Frank Capra movie on acid. And I don't think it was an accident either that the photographer took this particular shot or that Reuters distributed it widely in the internet and print media. The fact that Cheney sort of is the villain in a Frank Capra movie on acid doesn't alter the fact that the objectivity of this photograph is about as objective as the objectivity in Neue Sachlicheit portrait paintings from the Weimar Republic. That's fine with me, provided we acknowledge that, at least in instances like these, the supposed bias of the "liberal media" isn't totally the invention of the right-wing talk show and weblog circuit.

Mode: trockener Sekt

7 comments or Leave a comment
From: wondrousbeauty Date: November 22nd, 2005 09:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agree with you about this particular photo (and also that this isn't an isolated or even rare kind of representation). Though I don't think I've ever seen a good photo of Cheney, even when it's not framed this way.
From: catfishvegas Date: November 22nd, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The thing is, does Cheney ever look different?
Bush can beam with (false) compassion, or smile charmingly. At his absolute best, Cheney looks grumpy.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: November 23rd, 2005 02:14 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
GW tries to looks like he's worth getting to know but, Cheney... gawd, he's always looked evil. Acutally, I wouldn't want to know either personally. I've often though what I would do if GW was in a line for handshaking and I was in it. I would like to think I'd be civil enough to shake his hand but, I know I wouldn't have a chance to say anything to him. So, my choice would ultimately to be to not shake his hand so that some communication was there that he could understand. I would reach out to shake then, withdraw it before he reached it. Sounds stupid that I would think of something like that but, that's been in my thoughts more than several times.
dlowestanimal From: dlowestanimal Date: November 23rd, 2005 06:26 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think I'll actually swipe this picture from you and use it when teaching rhetoric in the future. It clearly shows intention. My students have had a hard time looking at deliberately placed images (or image juxtaposition or even brazen image omissions) and seeing them as designed to elicit specific responses. I don't see how you can miss the purpose here.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Some people are just smarter than others. For example ... I really don't have any idea what you're talking about. I missed the purpose, there was no response. Maybe if I worked at it, I could figure it out. Or perhaps I just don't want to. Like symbolism.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 7th, 2005 01:19 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Where did this come from?
katieengl From: katieengl Date: November 23rd, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


"Did it just get evil in here?" I have to agree with your other posters, he always looks evil. The man is arguing that we should be allowed to torture people (it would shock you to know how many attempts were made to spell the word "people" and it still doesnt look right). Honestly, he should look like a villan in a frank Capra movie.

PS i'll have you know that one of your readers has come to my coffee shop before you did. Dave, the guy who commented above me. He had some tea, a salad and a mocha that i made incorrectly. =)
7 comments or Leave a comment