September 30, 2006

Your Turn: By The Book


(click for full size)

A few questions:

1.  Beyond the Chavez personality, the U.N. back drop and the Chomsky name, how much more thought might have gone into the staging of this image, down to the book edition (with the presence of the globe and the U.S. flag), as well as possible physical references to Bush, including the power suit, the lapel pin, and the red-for-Republican (as well as “revolutionary”) tie? 

2.  To what extent are figures like Chavez romanticized by the press (and thus, used for entertainment) for their radical chic?  (See NYT article and accompanying slide show.)

3.  To what extent was this stunt effective in leveraging the American left?  And if the left didn’t bite, did the media partly jump on the image (as expected by the Chavez people?) for the idea that they would?   

4.  How much is this image about the (potentially growing) influence and political role of books? 

Just looking at the last week of BAG posts, books have played a significant underlying role in making, shaping or even impeding the news.  Musharraf, for example, refused to back up a charge against Bush so as not to compromise his book coming out.  (Bush’s response?  “Read the book.”)  Newsweek dropped its Afghanistan cover story in the U.S. in order to promote the new Leibovitz book.  And just in today’s headlines, the White House is scrambling to respond to charges arising from “State of Denial,” Robert Woodward’s new book. 

(By the way, this image turned into a huge boon for one of Chomsky’s lesser sellers.)

5.  Having looked at this pic off-and-on for about a week, I kept wondering: Why did the photo editors run it so wide?  I find the effect very powerful, but can’t really say why.

If you’re a regular reader but haven’t commented before, I would especially encourage you to jump in! 

(hat tip: VR)

(image: Raimin Talaie/Bloomberg News.  New York.  published September 23, 2006.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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