February 25, 2005

Schwarzenegger From Below

Is the Gov slipping? 

If you’ve been following the BAG, you know I’ve been keeping tabs on the Arnold show. 

From the latest visual coverage, however, I sense something is wrong.  Until recently, the press had been happy to follow the director.  Lately though, it seems a revolt is  taking place — possibly even a backlash. 

The other day, in the halls of Congress, Arnold repositioned a woman he was greeting.  While NPR mikes were recording, Schwarzenegger explained that the spot where the woman had been standing could cause them to be photographed from a low angle.  He add that he didn’t look good from below. 


Well, it seems the press can’t get enough of those low angles lately.  And, it does make the actor look, well, sort of monstrous.  And, heavy handed.

(I might add, it’s not just Arnold who is getting the harder look these days.  Apparently, Maria is catching a glare, as well.)


Low angles and unflattering moments aside, however, the image that has to be the most distressing to Arnold lately is this one:


If you caught my take on Arnold’s helicopter ride while surveying the first wave of California storm damage (“Winning By A Landslide”link), you can see the lengths he goes to stage various scenes.  The big problem with this photo, however, is not just that the scene didn’t come off, but that his game was exposed. 

As a result of the long view, the subject matter here shifts from the scene to the set.  What the Gov seemed to be aiming for was a tight shot of himself with all the Brinks action over his shoulders.  Instead, what he got was an ugly expanse of parking lot; a piece of equipment in the foreground telegraphing the fact that something was being constructed; a version of himself in which he’s been miniaturized (“Honey, I shrunk the Terminator!”) and overshadowed by a couple of trucks; and a perspective in which it’s unclear whether he’s a live person standing on the ground, or a little figure mounted on a platform which might be swept up at any minute, and blown into the harbor.  (And, that’s not to mention the kind of associations one is free to make about California’s Fundraiser-in-Chief and those big bags of dough.)

Because of the time I’ve spent recently looking at pictures, I wasn’t that aware of the latest non-visual Arnold news.  This afternoon, however, I did come upon this entry on DailyKos.  Apparently, the pictorial cracks in Schwarzenegger’s PR wall coincide with new fissures in the opinion polls.

(image 1: REUTERS/Jim Ruymen; image 2: REUTERS/Jason Reed; image 3: AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi — all in YahooNews)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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