August 14, 2005

Held At Pen Point


As the deadline for a new Iraqi constitution expires today, I was looking at posters showing support for the effort. 

Although reading in to a picture is always a subjective matter, my first glance at this image left me somewhat startled.  Before I realized I was looking at a pen, the black object with the pointy steel head — and the blue and yellow elements slanting down from the sky with the tracer lines — made me think of missiles. 

If that association "misses the mark" for you, however, there are other more pragmatic aspects that seem a little curious.  For example, why is the pen lined up with the very bottom of the left hand page?  Is that any kind of place to begin a new chapter?  And, why in the middle of the book?  (Or, is it past the middle?) 

Also, given the perspective, is the pen even lined up with the book, or is it actually in the foreground?  And, if that’s the case, is it possible the book is intended to remain blank? 

Then we have the two sweet girls.  In real life, they are intertwined.  At the same time, though, each is framed by a different pen and a different
book.  Whether the former Iraq dissolves as the function of a
constitutional process, or the country just splinters apart in reaction
to a Bush-mediated "bum rush" democracy fantasy, is there any doubt
that many, many bonds like these will be torn apart?

In earlier days, the BAG would have left no visual element on the
table.  (For example, those lollipops would probably have been taken up
in some tall way.)  As the BAG matures, however, it finds virtue in
restraint, as well as the value of leaving room for the insightful
analysis of the readership. 

So, I hand this over to you.  I didn’t touch the baby or the torn
poster or any of the geometry.  If you didn’t see projectiles, I just
hope these children didn’t either while their independent-minded elders
have been hard at work finessing their autonomy.

(Note: According to the caption, the posters read ‘We will make our future constitution.’)

(image: Hadi Mizban/AP.  August 14, 2005 at YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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