November 20, 2005

Your Turn: In Which President Seinfeld Meets The Wall


I was interested in your interpretation of this latest cover of The Economist. It is set at the Meridian Gate at the entrance to Beijing’s  forbidden city.  I think there’s a lot going on here.

And while you are at it, I also invite your comment on the series below.  A number of you sent me links to the “wrong door” image (below, upper right).  Initially, I saw it as a trivial swipe.  I reconsidered, however, when I saw it featured in what is tomorrow’s NYT on-line story detailing Bush’s intimidating encounter with the hard and unrelenting President Hu Jintao.  (By the way, given the way Hu put a political lock on Bush, could you see Cheney lasting even five minutes trying to play his little games under this guy?)


NYT caption: “After meeting with reporters in Beijing, Mr. Bush tried to exit through a locked door. Realizing the mistake, he made a mock grimace, and an aide pointed the way. He joked: “I was trying to escape. It didn’t work.”

Of course, in the single photo of the “door incident,” Bush was able to contain his bonehead maneuver by turning the joke on himself.  In creating this four panel narrative, however, the NYT turns it around again in a rather devastating way.  With the screen wall functioning almost like a stage prop, The Times montage seems to simultaneously evoke the presidency as a slapstick TV show and a cartoon strip.

(Really, I can’t wait to wake up and see if The Times dares put the “bonehead image” on Monday’s front page.)

As one other point, I did a write up on HuffPo right before Halloween (The Return Of Pumpkin Head – link) warning to expect more instances of Bush playing the fool.  As an old strategy, it’s a way Bush/Rove try to lower expectations — especially when Bush’s incompetence becomes a little too obvious.

(Wearing my shrink hat for a moment, however, I really wonder how much more failure the thin-skinned Bush can actually  take.)

(image 1: Cover Photo/Illustration unattributed.  November 19th 2005. Economist Magazine.  image 2: Charles Dharapak/Associated Press.  November 21, 2005. Beijing.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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