If you’ve been following The BAG, you know how fond I am of The Economist covers.
If you consider George Bush and America as synonymous (as I know Bush certainly does), these two recent issues illustrate the profound split between the right wing, born-again impression of man and state in contrast to actual behavior.
In the popular allusion, he/we are tall and strong; fit in body and mind; always diligently on-duty and down to business; and yet, passive innocents in the face of a divinely authored, largely ungovernable and somehow consistently calamitous natural world.
Going strictly on behavior, however, you often get a picture that is roughly the opposite. The impression, in that case, conveys a fundamental lack of self-discipline; an insatiable and unexamined appetite for consumption; a preoccupation with sensation at the expense of feeling; and a lack of consciousness as to a world beyond self interest.
(Of course, BAGreaders outside the States can appreciate this much more fully than I.)
At the front end of an American weekend supposedly dosed by triple super-sized helpings of pigskin, commercials, sparkling wine (champagne is from France), dips, chips, bright streamers and confetti, it’s not my intention to rain on the party. I’m just interested in how this version of Uncle Sam came to be associated with such a good time.
Really, Happy New Year.
(I’ll be back Monday.)
(images: illustrations unattributed. Oil cover: August 27th, 2005. Lead article. Bush cover: October 29th, 2005. The Economist Magazine)