October 2, 2012

Obama – Romney: The Heavyweight Championship of the World


What I’m appreciating about many Instagram “debate prep” photos is how much they capture the spectacle of the political campaign. Far in excess of just a democratic exercise, the American presidential election process now is as much an extension of the sports or entertainment industry. Given the trappings, what we see here is the set up for a heavyweight championship or a mini-Super Bowl. (Note the Denver build up featuring Mitt and former Denver football legend and now car salesman extraordinaire, John Elway.) At the same time, people I’m sure are expecting “there will be blood.”

The rows and rows of journalist tables are indeed impressive, J David Ake’s photo of the set up looking like a cross between a Soviet party congress and NASA Mission Control.


And then, Getty’s Win McNamee gives us a creatively blurry long shot of the set and the stage (Ake’s clear version here) to more thoroughly convey the feel of a movie set, a hot-colored edifice rising in the distance like a space ship, gladiator ring or a temple.

Spin Alley Presidential debate.
Finally, Ake brings us Spin Alley, allowing us to overlook the sight of that bizarre ritual in which public reaction is distracted by the process of media analysts inside a gauntlet of surrogates reformulating what just got formulated so the media can reconstitute the candidates’ performances into some new amalgam.

(image 1 & 3: J David Ake/Instagram – AP on the Trail. caption 3: The Romney campaign sets up their broadcast location in Spin Alley at the 1st Presidential Debate site at Denver University. image 2: Win McNamee/Getty Images.)

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Michael Shaw
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