April 24, 2006
Super-Sizing The Reflecting Pool
You can boil down yesterday’s lead
NYT Week In Review article to one question: How important is fear in mobilizing concern for global warming?
As it turns out, the
April 3rd TIME cover (with the polar bear floating on a block of ice) seems to have contributed one of the central metaphors running through the recent anxiety-tinged environmental discussion. The NYT piece, for example, has many references to polar bears, and even begins: “Polar bears are drowning.”
Because I’m an advocate for the visual
and for the planet, I would be hard pressed to argue for less affect when it comes to “enviro-images.” Still, there are emotional pictures and there are emotional pictures. Frankly, I’m not crazy about the TIME/polar bear shot. It locates the problem too far from home. What I like far better are John Blackford’s photo illustrations accompanying the story “ ” in the latest “green issue” of Vanity Fair. The specter of While Washington Slept New York in the drink is compelling, but the most potent conceptualization, I thought, was that of water-logged D.C.
What is so symbolic in this mock-up is not Washington’s
physical vulnerability, however, so much as the political exposure. If it seemed the environmental issue really could dampened a few personal prospects, one might expect action pretty fast.
(photo illustration; John Blackford/Vanity Fair. photo: Jason Hawkes. p. 200-201. Vanity Fair. May 2006.)
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