Yesterday, the NYT Art Section featured these digital prints by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese at the NY Library. This diptych is part of their “Line Up” series (viewable at YouTube). Since I was wondering how and when I would have my first Cheney sighting following his repudiation via the NIE report, this imagery seemed relevant for that alone.
Frankly though, I’m not quite clear on the strategy of the Line Up series. The most lightweight players, Bush and Condi, receive a more clownish treatment in both panels. Cheney, however, along with Rumsfeld, Powell, Perl, Wolfy and Hughes, seems to come off mostly straight in the right panel, as if the mug shots are supposed to contrast with a more characteristic photo.
None of these pairs, however, appear to convey just as wide a contrast as Cheney’s. So the question — unless there just isn’t that precise a strategy to all this — is why?
Beyond the Washington Post “Angler” series last June, it seems the press has been paralyzed when it comes to taking Cheney on. And while comedians and editorial cartoonist continue to knock themselves out, did you see how Lynn Cheney completely disarmed Jon Stewart in October — especially after she planted that Darth Vader action figure on Stewart’s desk? And, in light of the NIE report, the radio silence was deafening yesterday in the NPR Democratic debate when Kucinich, in a challenge near the end, demanded to know from his colleagues why Cheney and Bush should — without any consequence – be allowed to lie their way to war.
One conclusion here is that, between outlandish parody and an unfitting level of respect, Cheney continues to defy a more revealing, critical look.
Update 1: As more evidence of going soft on Cheney, also consider the chosen audio clip. Whereas they could have picked any number of damning snippets (there’s a treasure trove here), the artists picked a vague passing denial, alluding — I guess — to Halliburton.
Update 2: No Caption Needed also takes a read on this series, also pointing out how the “post-surge” press has let the Iraq story drift away.
(image: Ligorano/Reese via Jim Kempner Fine Art. 2007)