October 6, 2005

Please Pass The Danish


(click for larger version)

What I find so interesting is the persistent (visual) characterization of Harriet Miers as a secretary.  Of course, so many of the images made available by the White House emphasize Miers in a subservient or functionary role, usually with a "gal Friday" feel to them.

(My post at HuffPo has a montage of White House shots, including the one released by the White House showing HM helping GWB process personnel forms.  What’s more relevant to the present, however, are the two images taken on Capitol Hill showing her actually having to wait for Senators Durbin and Grassley.  In these examples, just like the one above, Harriet ends up being photographed juxtaposed with generally oblivious staffers or aides.)

Because she inside the door, however, how do we account for this shot representing Miers’ meeting with Senator John Cornyn?

Here’s the take that Rich, a BAG analyst-at-large, provided:

She is a bit off kilter, wouldn’t you say. Leaning back in a demure
posture. Fending off expected criticism with the palm of her hand. Not
a very confident, powerful pose. Positioning herself as
non-threatening. "Oh, excuse me, sir, I know I am just the president’s
former staff secretary… I hope I am not disturbing you." More of a
"Harriet" pose than a "Ms. Roberts." Gotta love the wardrobe (seems she
likes to accessorize as much as the former chief justice — BTW, is
Roberts continuing to use the Rehnquist-designed robe with the gold
braids?). Check out how her flag pin complements the other accessories
to create a wonderful fashion theme that says, I love the flag and I
will wrap myself in it. I think she forgot the old maxim to "dress for the job you want, not the job you have."
"Staff secretary" or "Supreme Court Justice" — I think when she got
dressed, she wasn’t so confident about whether she really deserved to
be on the Court. (Karl Rove must be really preoccupied these days!)

Oh, I just had one more thing to add. Following John
Roberts’ initial meeting with Senator Cornyn, could you imagine a
caption stating that the meeting had finished 10 minutes early! (This
one did.)

How do you read this?  Is Harriet doomed to the caricature of staff help or den mother?
And then again, when your closest colleagues describe you in terms of
"liking to serve cookies," to what extent is it actually a caricature.

(image: Melina Mara/The Washington Post.  Washington, D.C. October 5, 2005.  Camera Works. washingtonpost.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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