Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
August 12, 2009

Underlying Shame?

Specter town hall crowd.jpg
Even if the majority of the people showing up at these health care meetings are furious at their Congresspeople and Senators, I’m noticing an interesting trait in the photos. I’m not sure how widely this holds, but it seems — when one person takes the floor and makes a particularly virulent attack on the representative — the people around them either look down, avert their eyes from the speaker, or check out the speaker with concern. Overall, they seem to particularly avoid look at the representative/prey.

My admittedly nascent theory is that, in spite of the anger, most people actually feel embarrassed or ashamed by the violence/inhumanity/ambush.

Are you seeing this in other images, at least at the point of a one-on-one attack? What do you think of the theory, and what are you seeing in the way of other examples? Perhaps you might post an image to verify or contradict the effect.

(image : Bradley C. Bower/Associated Press. caption: In one angry confrontation, Craig Anthony Miller, standing two feet from Senator Specter, shouted into his face during a Town Hall meeting Tuesday , Aug. 11, 2009 in Lebanon, Pa.)

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