February 15, 2007

Link Collage #2: Defining Lines

The "collage" is a round-up of recent political visuals The BAG couldn’t let go by.  Feel free to discuss whatever strikes you, and if you have recommendations for the next installment, please forward to: Openbag AT Bagnews DOT com.

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1. What’s the value of one more photo of Condi Rice?

Last week’s TIME cover, and this shot leading the on-line article — reveals the latest progression in the mood and temperament of the SOS.  Our last view of Condi was January 12th, capturing her first real challenge from a Senate committee.  In that shot, what we saw was anguish for being held to account for the Iraqi meltdown.  Now what we have is the further development and hardening of that attitude. 

It’s a wonderful take on a person who knows she’s being photographed (during a Bush photo op with the new U.N. Secretary General), and feels not at all self-conscious about the open anger and defiance.  What’s remarkable is that the attitude goes so much against type.  The line on Condi, before her reputation went into the woodchipper, is that she could have been photographed on the deck of the Titanic, water up to her ankles, and you’d still get a big smile and an "everything is going swimmingly" wave.

2. Foot of the problem

The NYT recently offered a story/slide show about Rio’s race-and-class divided beaches.  The story ("Drawing Lines Across the Sand, Between Classes") didn’t run deep, and seemed more comfortable drawing class, rather than race distinctions, but the images were telling, including the one above, and the lead shot of "the poor kid" jumping off a cliff.

<em>3. Lost In A Crowd</em>
<p><em>[I]n spite of the extensive psychological testing astronauts go through, &quot;we don’t track the personal lives of the individuals that work for the agency.&quot;</em>&nbsp;

<p>– Space agency spokesman James Hartsfield, as quoted in wikipedia.
The more freakish and attention grabbing visual of obviously disturbed <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Nowak">Lisa Nowak</a> was this recent <a target="_blank" href="http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=4&amp;f=/n/a/2007/02/06/national/a120852S35.DTL">juxtaposition</a> (from SFGate).&nbsp; Ultimately though, I would think the more embarrassing image is the one above, demonstrating the intense level of care and attention our astronauts receive.&nbsp; I wasn’t aware psychologist drew such a distinction between the personal and the psychological.
<em>4. Product placement </em><br /><br />It’s hard to understand where Mitt Romney is going with this &quot;candidacy announcement&quot; backdrop.&nbsp; In front of an exhibit at the Ford Museum in Detroit, Romney appears to be pandering to populism, evoking the factory worker, and pumping corporate America at the same time.

<span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Condi image: Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME. White House, September 14, 2006. time.com; Rio images: André Vieira for The New York Times. published February 6, 2007. nytimes.com; Nowak image: castfvg.it via spaceflight.nasa.gov; Romney image: Carlos Osorio/AP via </span><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/romney-makes-it-official/">thecaucus</a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">)</span>

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Michael Shaw
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