December 30, 2010

January Throwdown: A Preview

As the newswires dig deep for content on this New Years Eve, this colorful good luck ritual — performed by Shamans in Lima — offers perfect holiday fodder. In fact, hardly a week goes by without some celebration or demonstration somewhere earning a big fifteen minutes just by including a poster of Obama.

In this instance, though, what’s unique (and maybe mystical, who knows?) is how the Shamans managed to bring together two of the biggest icons of the political world these days.  Going by the caption, it seems the ceremony is about goodwill, harmony, world peace, that kind of thing. Still, though, what makes the photo an object of interest is mostly the tension involved in seeing Assange and Obama side-by-side as if being paraded into a boxing arena, each with his own entourage.

With Assange, offered with a dove off his shoulder (the more furtive presentation notwithstanding) and Obama in that happy pose, the ritual — with the gourds and the flowers being shaken at the posters — does convey the transmission of good vibes to each of the men, as if in a New Year admonition of: “Can’t we all get along?” Mindful of the way the conflict-hungry media works, however, paralleling the war starting to boil and bubble between the Pentagon/State Department/Justice Department and Mr. Assange, however, what stands out here, as much as a conciliation wish, are the heads shots for the poster for the big mano-a-mano premiering in DC come January.

(photo: Karel Navarro/AP. caption: Shamans perform a ritual for good luck in 2011 as they hold up images of the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange, left, and President Barack Obama, right, in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010.)

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Michael Shaw
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