Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 28, 2017

Grinch Parade: Our First Trump-Era Holiday Roundup

Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP Caption: The Grinch balloon passes by windows of a building on Central Park West during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, November 23, 2017.

We hope you had a peaceful Thanksgiving. Surely, you had to work extra-hard at it. That’s because, in the age of Trump, political destruction does not take a day off. Even the turkey pardon was joyless, with the news and social media photos conjuring visions of authoritarianism, wealth redistribution upwards, the dismantling of the government and the free internet, the latest sexual abuse scandal, and the deepening of the climate crisis. (Even the NYT chipped in by normalizing the fascists in our midst.) Sorry to be such a downer! All we can say is, it’s a time to year to truly appreciate what is meaningful and life-affirming to each of us, and to double down on grace as well as activism.

The instant I saw this, I hoped against hope it was simply the shadow of a cloud, if an ominous one knowing the administration had finally pushed the Keystone Pipeline through. That hope (or denial, or self-bargaining) is what made the caption so crushing: “An aerial view shows the darkened ground of an oil spill that shut down a TransCanada pipeline in an agricultural area near Amherst, S.D.” It’s literally beyond imagination. (-Michael Shaw)⠀ ⠀ (Handout/ @reuterspictures) https://buff.ly/2zZKnAf #environment #oil #oilspill #aerial #aerialphotography #ecology #fossilfuels #midwest #nature #damaged #keystone #keystonexl #circles #southdakota #transcanada #pipeline #ground #earth #spoiled #politics #energy @350org

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The colors, shapes and textures make this photograph beautiful, yet it also evokes a certain sadness. As it hunts, the polar bear struggles to leap between ice sheets. The changing climate is stretching nature thin. At least that’s what I saw at first, until I read what the photographer, Florian Ledoux, saw:⠀ ⠀ “I was able to witness many scenes of wildlife and I can guarantee you this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” he wrote. “Here the polar bear might be interpreted as holding back the sea ice melting.” ⠀ ⠀ Ledoux’s explanation makes the moment even more powerful. He suggests that animals, which are often victims of humanity, share with us a sense of agency that demands respect. (-@SamanthaBrandyClark)⠀ ⠀ Photo: @florian_ledoux_photographer for @nationalgeographicpictures . Story link: https://buff.ly/2B52sMu #polarbears #globalwarming #climatechange #climate #icesheets #ice #cold #blue #animals #nature #wildlife #quotes #agency #respect #humanity #melting @world_wildlife @nature @nature_org @350org

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Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP Caption: The Grinch balloon passes by windows of a building on Central Park West during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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