Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 5, 2013

That Giant Laser Messaging in Tahrir Square: It's Not a Coup

It s not a coup Tahrir

Have you noticed the pithy Arabic and English narrative broadcast billboard-style the past few days by the anti-Morsi military/modernist alliance? Like a physical derivative of an electronic tweet (and effectively the same, given the rate pics of these statements have been tweeted), phrases in laser light have been projected onto the face of a large government building overlooking Tahrir Square.

Game Over Tahrir Getty

I can’t verify just how many phrases have been “published” and in what sequence. What I can attest to, however, is that at least two English phrases have garnered significant attention from the Western visual media over the past few days — the “Game Over” phrase on Wednesday, the night of the overthrow (video), and “It’s not a Coup” last night.

The state of e-grammar being what it is, I’m not sure what to make of the second phrase lacking initial caps except for the “Coup.” What I do find interesting — in contrast to the confidence and definitiveness of the first phrase — is how defensive this second phrase is. As if naming the elephant in the Square, the utterance is positively Shakespearean. As in: me thinks the victors doth protest too much.

(photo 1: Twitter Trends Map. photo 2: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images. caption: Laser light directed at a government building spells ‘game over.’)

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