Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 16, 2010

God Bless Dubya’s Library (and What’s Left of Cheney)

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 16:  Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney introduces Former U.S. President George W. Bush as Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and Former First Lady Laura Bush look on during the George W. Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony on November 16, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. The George W. Bush Presidential Center is a state-of-the-art  250 million dollar complex that will include Former U.S. President George W. Bush's presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It’s a little strange looking at a stock Bush event two years down the road.  I forgot just how intensely ordered things were and how every moment was candy-wrapped in the flag. (We’re treated to three of them here.) Besides the perfect adulatory balance between the two women in Bush’s life, almost identical as shining red (as well as black and white) beacons, from this distance at least, we have the jarring appearance of Cheney. Dick’s a jarring presence, though, not just because Bush fell out with him, but because his illness has so wasted him this year.  Clearer we’re not in neocon-Kansas anymore.

Still though, the most interesting feature of this image was pointed out by my good friend, Phil Perdue, who has a far keener eye for religious imagery than I. As Phil writes: “what really jumps out at me is the way the American flag takes on the shape of standard Bible graphics. Google image ‘bible’ and you’ll see what I mean.”

The fact that the logo of the Bush Library (sort of a paradoxical concept in itself – 1, 2), represents a melding of the flag and the bible is something of a parting shot for all posterity.

(caption: Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney introduces Former U.S. President George W. Bush as Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and Former First Lady Laura Bush look on during the George W. Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony on November 16, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. The George W. Bush Presidential Center is a state-of-the-art 250 million dollar complex that will include Former U.S. President George W. Bush’s presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation.)

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