Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
February 26, 2016

The GOP Texas Debate Showdown in a Picture

Informing the debate in Houston on the 25th,, signs directed Donald Trump supporters toward his campaign's Victory Party at Treasure Island in Las Vegas on Feb. 23rd, 2016.

Treasure Island, indeed!

The Nate Gowdy photo captures the grimy grist of the GOP debate/slugfest in Houston last night. (Yes, the pic from Trump’s Vegas casino hotel on election night in Nevada was taken three days before. Still, the photo, leading off TIME’s recap of ‘”the most surprising political photographs this week” speaks to what’s in the air right now.)

If you missed it, the two Cuban-Americans wailed on Trump like … well, a piñata. As Rubio and Cruz viciously attacked The Donald on his budget and, health care “plans,” his taxes, and his fidelity to party, details or substance, the bleating message was: Trump is not who he purports to be.

…Of course, another way to read the photo, as a commentary on the speech that comes out of Trump, and his Twitter feed, everyday, is: “sleazy mouth.”

Variations on a theme, I came across this a week ago by dcpapergirl, or Lesley Clark, on Instagram.

It’s not straight-forward, the way the photo of a casino lounge, the rear view of a cocktail waitress and the candidate’s name undermines his late conversion to faith and fidelity. You have to really read into this one. Still, it grabbed me for similar contradictions the God-fearing Cruz and Rubio slammed over and over. Though citizens seems to stick to him, largely in defiance of substance, I laughed when I saw the word “RUM”… and (if either Rubio or Cruz break through), the potential “RUMP.”

By way of the thefreedictionary, British slang adjectives for rummy or rum include:

Deviating from the customary: bizarre, cranky, curious, eccentric, erratic, freakish, idiosyncratic, odd, outlandish, peculiar, quaint, queer, quirky, singular, strange, unnatural, unusual, weird. Slang: kooky, screwball.

(photo: Nate Gowdy via TIME. caption: Signs direct supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toward his campaign’s Victory Party at Treasure Island in Las Vegas on Feb. 23, 2016.)

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