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19 posts categorized "Convention '08 (RNC)"

Sep 06, 2008

There's Projection And There's Projection


You've probably already seen the picture of McCain's entrance for his RNC acceptance speech.  What it illustrates extremely well is how the Republican's, in their blunt yet effective playbook, make use of projection.  No, I'm not talking about special lighting or video effects, I'm referring to the psychological term.  In other words, hammer your opponent to death over something that you exercise over and over yourself. 

In this case, we're talking about the "celebrity" meme.  Of course, Team Obama made their own gesture to call out the double standard with their "Embrace" video, but a fundamental weakness of the Dems is that they don't do repetition -- at least not the way stampeding elephants do. 

I can't be positive, but I think it McCain's entrance was specifically designed to play off of his latest celebrity attack on Obama, echoing the dramatic final evening in Denver under the night sky.  (That's not to say, however, that you see plenty of allusions of your own.)

(image: Damon Winter/NYT.  Minneapolis.  September 3, 2008)

Sep 05, 2008

RNC Packaging


With the traditional media largely swallowing the visual propaganda of the Republican Convention, this shot by Shannon Stapleton does an elegant job of calling it out.

Either side of this image would have been compelling enough.  In the left half, you see Sarah Palin as a glossy construction appearing larger-than-life and made-for-the-screen.  On the right side, you have the juxtaposition of the veteran delegate holding up the peace sign in the name of John McCain.  With McCain's acceptance speech, as well as many of the fourth night RNC speeches and videos notable for fixating on fear and militarism, the peace sign reflecting the hypocrisy.  Of course, the contradiction is pointed at Palin too, as a new star being packaged as wholesome and maternal when in fact, she has proved almost singularly combative and warlike.

(image: Shannon Stapleton/AP. St. Paul, Minnesota September 4, 2008)

Sep 04, 2008

RNC Final Night Top 10

The Evil-Doers and Haters video

No surprise, Palin gets between McCain and the cameras after Mac's speech.
Meanwhile, McCain's gesture describes whose convention it really was.

Cindy with Mother Teresa

Use of giant rear projection images puts sickly green background
behind Mac again for first 10 minutes of acceptance speech.
(Here's the real backstory -- nailed by a BAGreader first, I believe, if you check the comments.)
(And if you haven't seen it, watch the Colbert Green Screen Challenge from the 2:30 mark.)

Continue reading "RNC Final Night Top 10" »

More Family Values

Bristol Levi

1. Still another variation on "getting it in writing?"

2. I'm just wondering how fresh the tattoo is.

3. Wingers answer to the Obama fist bump?

Call it another example of how the visual media gets sucked into the cultural politics.  This shot is fresh on the newswire from last evening.  The caption reads:

The hand of Levi Johnston (L), and his girlfriend Bristol Palin hold hands as they attend the third session of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 3, 2008. Bristol Palin is the daughter of U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate and Gov. of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Johnston has a tattoo of Bristol's name on his left ring finger The campaign has announced that Bristol is five months pregnant and plans to marry Johnston.

(image: Rick Wilking/Reuters. Minneapolis. September 3, 2008)

The Right To Be Here


Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty blamed the violence this week on a small group of "anarchists, nihilists, and goofballs who want to break stuff and hurt people."

"They need to be dealt with," Pawlenty said in an interview with WCCO-AM of Minneapolis. (via

This is a pic and an accompanying write-up posted anonymously at Twin Cities Indymedia I wanted to pass along.

Notice the horses are wearing those riot masks too.  Robo horses.  I don't remember seeing that before.  The blue line looks pretty deep on this narrow, otherwise two-way path along what must be quite a scenic view.  And then, there is something ironic to those 13 or so teeny-tiny American flags.

The post is titled: "The Right To Be Here," and it begins:

I'm not an anarchist. At least I wasn't one of the kids running around the Xcel Energy Center in black handkerchiefs during the St Paul RNC. Nor did I store my urine in a bucket for a week to throw on delegates, and I didn't break any windows either. But, I was one of the people detained by police on Monday. One of my co-workers even saw me on the Channel 11 news, zip-tied like a hog, being led away walking backwards by two riot police.  (Full text.)

(image: anonymous)

A Call For The BAG


I seriously never thought I'd do another BAG again, it being years now, but this situation is so frickin weird, it just came out of me.

Sep 03, 2008

RNC Wednesday Wrap-Up: Mothers And Forefathers

Palin Mt. Rushmore

Helping bridge Sarah Palin's self-avowed  (and clearly evidenced) pit bull role, the RNC flashed large scenes behind her evoking the American landscape. There was a soaring shot of the arch in St. Louis, another of farm fields, still another of a ferris wheel at dusk.

My favorite, though, was Palin juxtaposed with Mt. Rushmore.  Reminiscent of this classic Rove move (or this folly the NYT WIR concocted right after Bush's second inaugural), the association was meant to visually bestow a little more gravitas, a connection that much more amenable because of all the Alaska mountain imagery also ubiquitous this week.

You can never tell exactly how precisely those TV cutaways are tied to specific parts of a speech, but my tweet on this one read: Extra-long isolation shot of Palin with Mt. Rushmore on the mega-screen (while attacking "the old boy network").  If the timing was intentional, it seems that the gender contrast might have been still another part of the package.

Actually, although I didn't much evidence tonight of a Hillary comparison, the shot also brought this in mind).

Update: Rachel Hulin, the "blog stewardess" at Photoshelter, wrote me about one more Palin backdrop I happened to miss.  It's the lead one in her post.  It's a wonderful blend of allusions -- both to faith ("Old Faithful") as well as a phallic, if naturalistic expression of power.  As I read more about Palin and her temperament, the analogy to explosion (akin to McCain's own wiring) also seems fitting here.

(image:  Reuters.  caption: Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St Paul, Minnesota, September 3, 2008.  linked image: NYTimes Week In Review 1/23/05; images: Bettmann/Corbis and Paul Morse/White House via Getty Images)

RNC Wednesday Wrap-Up: Family Values



With the McCain's and the Palin's well aware of the camera's eye, Cindy taking full advantage; Sarah Palin highlighting her immediate family and extended family; and the Governor also promising an advocacy role for parents with special needs children, baby Trig (held by sister, Piper) has definitely become a central prop in this campaign.

(screen shots: MSNBC)

RNC Wednesday Wrap-Up: 9/11, 9/11

Rudy Rnc08

My twitter at 7:27 pm PST:    Mega-screen behind Rudy has mega-view of lower Manhattan. I didn't look for the Trade Towers, did you?  Five minutes later:  Prolonged mega-screen isolation shot on lower Manhattan as Rudy starts harping on 9/11.

More to follow....

(image: Reuters Pictures.  caption: Former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani speaks at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 3, 2008)

The Likes We Haven't Seen Since Terri Schiavo

Levi Mccain

Mccain Palin Airport

After a week of images of the Palin/McCain soap opera, the ante rose even higher today at the airport.  Attempting to turn a negative into a (family values) positive, check out McCain greeting husband- and father-to-be, Levi Johnson.

And then, notice the way the NYT photographer lined up the angle in the second shot above (from a diptych at The Caucus) making it look like McCain -- otherwise moving to hug Bristol Palin -- is reaching out to embrace her tummy!

As uncomfortable and inappropriate as it feels, the drama surrounding the Palin family -- especially on the visual plane -- has become very much a political issue. That's also Josh Marshall's reaction as the GOP proper, as well as the Christian Conservative wing of the Republican Party (which the Republican Convention has turned into a pander-fest to) moves to play Sarah Palin and her family -- with all the symbolism and loading of motherhood, and the nuclear family, and the right-to-life, and the sanctity of marriage, and (the appropriation of) feminism -- for all its worth.

Personally, I couldn't be more frustrated and sorry that the McCain campaign -- sinking that much further below the level of moral and intellectual poverty it has been operating on for months, and now nominating the unqualified and politically and culturally extreme Sarah Palin -- has set the stage for a Presidential campaign drama and culture war the likes we haven't seen since Terri Schiavo.  As the McCain campaign exploits the Palin pick through visual symbolism, however, the last thing we can do is close our eyes.

(Edited for readability 9:10 pm PST)

(image: Reuters.  caption:  Levi Johnston (L) is greeted by U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R) as Johnston's girlfriend Bristol Palin (C) looks on after McCain arrived to attend the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota September 3, 2008. Bristol Palin is the daughter of U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate and Gov. of Alaska Sarah Palin. The campaign has announced that Bristol is five months pregnant and plans to marry Johnston. image 2: Stephen Crowley, NYT)

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