September 27, 2013

Rise of Ted Cruz Best Captured (Fleetingly, Anyway) by Medieval Christian Iconography

So photographer and Professor Lorena Turner sussed out this picture of the fundamentalist Tea Party zealot, Ted Cruz, from the NYT yesterday. (If you’re not following the phyrric effort by Ted and right wing Republicans to cripple the government over Obamacare, Cruz was the guy who just did the 21 hour filibuster-esque Senate grandstand this week thrusting himself to the top of the heap of the most disloyal opposition.) Just a note, by the way. If you’re thinking of writing off this guy, don’t. On the basis of intellect (I didn’t say, sanity), the fanatical Cruz makes Rick Perry look like a fence post.

But back to the photo. What makes this latest Washington “halo shot” noteworthy — according to Lorena and the commenters on her FB page — is that the picture made only the briefest appearance on the NYT homepage yesterday, then pfffft!, it disappeared. That’s not to say that the Times doesn’t cycle different photos in and out, especially home page thumbnails, but it’s interesting that such a wonderfully loaded visual would barely see the light of day. One of Lorena’s readers, Bill Donnelly, said it looked “like Medieval Christian-” or “early/mid 20th Century Fascist Social realist iconography.” Tiny as it is, it’s truly impressive for the alternately Roman and Christian vibe — as if knocking Cruz over the head for the venality running through the wash cycle with the “holier than thou.”

Instead, the Times article visually retreated to the more diffuse glow of this, aligned to the in-column comment:

For now, Mr. Cruz is basking in his moment.

Variation on the theme, however, Cruz also found time yesterday for a more literal assumption of a faith posture.

Apparently inspired by the presence, and charm offensive, of the new President of Iran at the UN this week, Cruz joined the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House for a knee pad-assisted vigil in the name of an Iranian-American priest being held in Iran.

On the brink of a government shutdown, the next act of a fractured Congress, and the rise of a great right hope, it’s not like these aren’t perfect days for religious visual metaphors.

(photo 1 & 2: Jason Reed/REUTERS. caption 2: Senator Ted Cruz spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday after his marathon speech on the Senate floor. photo 3: Win McNamee/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (C) (R-TX) prays with members of the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House September 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. Cruz and members of the coalition held a prayer vigil calling for the release of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini from an Iranian prison where he has been held for over a year.)
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Michael Shaw
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