Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 23, 2005

Target Hillary

Fullconfettipagesmaller

At the risk of lending more thought to the thoughtless anti-Hillary assault that Ed Klein has just published, I wanted to take a look at one more photo page from the book — if just to better understand some of the dynamics of the Hillary assault.  (This doesn’t imply I’m a Hillary fan — but it does further the BAG’s agenda of becoming more skilled at reading non-verbal forms of right-wing signals, strategies and codes.) 

If you can fault Klein for nearly everything in this book, you can’t say his photo selection in uninteresting.  I particularly like the bottom shot — which I’ll get to after the jump.  (I promise to keep this brief, though, considering my analysis yesterday of "Bill’s Kiss" — which was then exposed by the photographer as not a kiss at all — seemed almost novella length.) 

This time, I’ll give you the images, the captions and my quick impressions, and then I’ll be happy to see where you go with the interpretations.

1.  TOP IMAGE: Pointing Fingers

Caption:  Hillary schmoozing her fellow senators.  She knew she had to dispel the notion that, as a former First Lady, she would try to dominate the Senate.  She also knows that her fellow senators were not going to give her a long honeymoon.

My take: Of course, the "schmoozing" comment doesn’t make sense.  The picture says that Hillary is giving orders (in a decidedly undiplomatic way), but nobody is taking notice.  Given the two "fraternal clusters," I’d say the image was selected not just for the authoritarian pose, but even more to allege she can’t make genuine connections with others.  (By the way, the counterpoint is that much stronger because the collegial groupings — Byrd/Warner and Kennedy/Hutchinson — depict bipartisan or cross-party hook-ups.)

 

Confetti370

1.  BOTTOM IMAGE: Confetti Face

Caption: Hillary with presidential candidate John Kerry.
Hillary’s future depended on George W. Bush’s remaining in the White
House. But she could not afford to be seen by here fellow Democrats as
wobbly or disloyal. She had to appear as though she were doing
everything in her power to advance the cause of John Kerry.

My take:  I have to admit, I’m quite taken with this picture.
It’s really loaded. My gut says that Klein was drawn to this shot for
at least two (perhaps subliminal) reasons. First, the fact Hillary
seems to punch Edwards in the face reinforces Klein’s argument that
Clinton is consumed by ambition, and is also a hypocrite when it comes
to team play. Second, I think he was attracted to the confetti
obscuring Hillary’s left cheek. When I first saw the shot, I didn’t
make out the confetti and I thought for a instant that Hilary must be
facially disfigured. If you look at the cover
of Klein’s book, you’ll see how invested her critics are in making
Hillary look bad (fat, tired, wrinkled, angry, etc.) even in the most
literal way.

Just to call out a couple more remote associations (again, from Klein’s perspective): Because Hillary is lined up
with Kucinich, is this supposed to associate her with an also-ran?
Also, because Dean has his back to Kerry and Clinton, does this suggest
one more critical player Clinton supposedly can’t get along with?

(page Image: The Truth About Hillary :
What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become
President by Edward Klein. Sentinel Books. photo 1:
Douglas Graham/Polaris;  photo 2: John Gress/Reuters/Landov)

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