Over the years, The New Yorker cover has consistently managed to sense, mark and incisively articulate key moments in political time. Of course, this Administration has been operating “without a head” for years now. What this illustration commemorates, however, is the sudden spreading-like-wildfire recognition of the fact.
Francoise Mouly’s devastating illustration is about the loss of face, credibility, authority. But a great image never plays just one note. In taking an imperial approach to governing, its become very difficult (especially for the rest of the world) to maintain a distinction between George Bush and Uncle Sam. To The BAG, what is interesting is how the finger points at us. On one level, it evokes the physical gesture Bush has milked for years to intimidate and ward off scrutiny. What makes this a critical point in time, however, it that Sam is forcing a comeback. In that light, the gesture is a directive to every patriot to recognize his appropriation.
(revised 6/2/06 10:06 am PST)
(illustration: Francoise Mouly. “Losing Face.” May 29, 2006. The New Yorker.)