January 30, 2007



So, is Giuliani running or isn’t he?  And, if so, what does the camera have to say about it?

Assuming he is, the NYT offers us a video report accompanying an update of Rudy in New Hampshire.  The quick opening section, with the Star Spangled Banner, is almost too saccharine to bear. In the middle portion, we encounter “America’s Mayor” speaking in a hall, doing his schtick, followed by feedback from party locals.

Finally, we come to Rudy as his more gregarious self, entering a local lunch spot and chatting up potential voters.  In the voice-over, however, the reporter seems to have a specific intent, calling out how Judith Nathan, Rudy’s wife, is by his side, and how (in contrast to Rudy’s solo style) she’s been visibly apparent throughout the trip.

What’s interesting, if brief, is what happens next.  Following Rudy joking with some diners, there is a quick snippet capturing the Mayor and his wife — from long distance, through a glass partition — sitting for lunch.  Set up by the reporter’s comments, this footage plays like the ethical opposite of a “gotcha photo.”  Candidate Rudy, who has made a disaster of his relationships, and (as we’re reminded) hardly ever appears with his wife, seems busted for being with her.

If today’s camera lens is particularly trained for truth-telling, what is happening here, I believe (playing off the visual norm of capturing a man for infidelity), is that a mundane picture of fidelity is now significant for the reverse, this time trapping the guilty man out of character.

(image still: new york times multimedia. Manchester, New Hampshire.  January 27, 2007. nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
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