April 25, 2005

What on Earth


How far has the environment fallen as a political priority? 

This is the shot in the NYTimes commemorating Earth Day.  The headline?  “Bad Weather Forces Change in Bush’s Earth Day Plans.” (What could be more degrading than an article about Earth Day that isn’t about the day, and isn’t even a contrived photo of Bush against a nature backdrop, but is about the fact Bush had to cancel plans for his pseudo-compassionate photo op due to bad weather?)

  If I was Mother Nature, I’d be looking to fire my entire p.r. staff and all my lobbyists.

From the image, it seems like the Times perceived this event as something to be taken quite lightly.  In depicting just a couple people milling around, the implication is that the issue isn’t a draw, and that there is not much of a constituency either for the event or the cause.  The fact that several of the people that are present are obscured; the main figure in jeans has his upper body cut off; and the guy in the distant center looks like he’s walking away, is just that much more negating.  Of course, the bear reinforces the idea that enviros are just a bunch of wackos.  The capitol building — so tiny in relation to these other non-entities, particularly the half-a-bear — just takes the whole thing down even further.

(Caption:  While President Bush spoke in Tennessee of the need to expand the economy and “at the same time, be wise stewards of the land,”  opponents of oil drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including one dressed as a polar bear, held an Earth Day event in Washington.)

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.  April 23, 2005 in The New York Times, p. A8 )

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Michael Shaw
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