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May 24, 2005

Twice to the Pyramids


Laura Bush takes a major trip to the Mid East, visits every holy site she can get photographed inside or in front of, sits down with a who's who of Jewish and Arab females in the region, and the most interesting image I can come up with is this one taken on the ride over? 

Well, that's not to shortchange the image, however.  In fact, the more I looked at this shot, the more curious it became, evolving into an advertisement for how the Bush's relate to the world.

So, the obvious question is: Why would you put an image of the President waving from the doorway of Airforce One on Airforce One?  (Especially, when you know it forms the backdrop for Mrs. Bush's trip kick-off meeting with the international press?)

(Of course, there are those of you who would answer: Why not?  And, there are others who would answer: What's the big deal, anyway?  If you're going to hang out with me at the BAG, however, you have to give up the notion that anything is arbitrary.)

To answer the question is to also understand why I couldn't invest much interest in the actual trip photos.  The answer is that the Bush's view travel like the ugly American.  Which means, the travel has little to do with where they went, whom they met, or what they might have learned, so much as that they went and were seen as having gone. 

(By the way, if you took a trip to India or Jerusalem or Istanbul or Kyoto or Moscow, do you really think you would choose to commemorate your travel by hanging up a tightly cropped, geographically indistinguishable photo of yourself at the threshold of your flight gate?)

So, on the eve of this crucial goodwill trip to the trouble Mid East, what could such a photo signify to the foreign press?  How about:

Capt.Xifv10105200739.Laura Bush Xifv101

There's my ground, there's your ground, but there's no middle ground.

I don't know if I'm coming or going.

I'm going over your head to the people.

Some of us are a little closer to God than others.

I've got the biggest machine.

It's always about the camera.

(By the way, did you happen to catch how the gangplank seems to perfectly separate Mrs. Bush from the reporters?)

As Mrs. Bush parades around Cairo sanctioning the democratic instincts of President-for-life, Hosni Mubarak (pretending that she is Condi Rice pretending to be Colin Powell), realize that, in this onboard interview, her only unscripted comments had to do with how badly she wanted to see the pyramids. 

Also realize that the domestic press -- hog-tied as it is -- never talks about Mrs. Bush's dramatic lack of foreign experience, let alone put it in context.  This was certainly not true for the foreign journalists, though.  In excerpts published on the White House website, no less, the reporters seemed surprised to discover that the second term President's wife had never been to the West Bank, or to Jordan, or to Egypt. 

Well, that's not exactly true.  She had been to Egypt in 1998.  While George was meeting dignitaries with his fellow Governors at the time, Laura and the Bush women took a cruise down the Nile.  As she told these reporters, sitting on Airforce One in front of this photo of Airforce One:

"And so this will be my second visit to the pyramids. I think you would want to visit the pyramids as many times as you possibly could in your lifetime, so I'm really looking forward to that."

(image 1: Brian Snyder/Reuters. May 19, 2005 in YahooNews.  image 2: Evan Vucci/AP. May 19, 2005 in YahooNews.)


I'm imaging the first person to her left saying to herself, "The second time... that's amazing", and the next person thinking, "I better write this down...", and the next person barfing into one of the little bags in the seat back that are adorned with the Presidential logo and the next person thinking "this will make great radio... pyramids on radio are cool!"

How about: "Big Dubya is watching you." Now about newspeak....

Why would you put an image of the President waving from the doorway of Airforce One on Airforce One?

That is one creepy picture. It invites us to worship Him from our lowly station. He's not waving at me, so fortunate to get in this close, to the very base of stairs. No, He's stretched, almost tip-toe, trying to touch those way in the far back rows.

He stands alone. The roar of the crowd must be awesome.

i have a question that i wish i had the time to research. does that photo change from flight to flight, seasonally, or maybe with each photo op?

if the photo was just for laura, then it might have been chosen to remind us who and where she is. the backdrop photo has all the branding elements normally included in the foreground; presidential seal, the president, lofty angles, and airforce 1. without that background photo she is a lady in a cramped airplane having to explain herself.

also, where is her american flag lapel pin?

Might that photo be a cue for "W"? To let him know where and how to exit the plane?

"Air Force Two is the air traffic control callsign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the Vice-President of the United States. Currently the Air Force Two aircraft in operation is a Boeing 757-200 (reg. 98-0002), carrying the current Vice- President Dick Cheney." Is the 757 bigger than the 747? The F-101 Voodoo certainly was bigger, faster, and deadlier than the F-102 GWB flew, said why he had to go, six months before the end of his service for an MBA at Harvard U., the F-102 "obsolete" though I saw one Mass. Air Guard at 100 feet over the West Meadow Beach, NY each one Fourth of July, so thought the F-14 test pilot, Mr. Gwynne. Maybe it's there to keep him out of the cockpit! (

Is the 757 bigger than the 747?


When I first glimpsed the brackets above and below the plane photo I, like Kelly, thought a picture could be exchanged on the left side for any occasion.

Shrub didn't go on the trip, but he's there, if you just glance at this photo while passing a news stand, in the quick eye - he went too.

He has his right arm up to wave. Is he ever seen raising the left? (in set up photos like this)

The first picture looks like Air Force One is nuzzling her neck. Sort of cheeky of it but then when Mr. Excitement goes to bed by 9:pm you take what you can get, I guess!

That plane poking into the side of LB's head is more than phallic, don't we think?

The image is a grotesque statement of the power Chimpy McCokespoon wields in relation to his wife, who is vastly out of her depth on this Mid-East trip -- yet his persona is shrinking, overshadowed by the machine itself and understood only through his wife's travels. He depends upon her to maintain his power, power used to subjugate her as well.

Now, LB may be more than willing to trot about the M.E. and get a second look at the 'mids . . . but those empty eyes leave me doubting she has any desire other than an intense jones for the nicotine high from her next Camel.

"... the Bush's view travel like the ugly American. Which means, the travel has little to do with where they went, whom they met, or what they might have learned, so much as that they went and were seen as having gone."

Absolutely right. This trip was entirely to bolster the President. Now that 58% of Americans think the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, Bushco is desperate to show that the ME is not FUBAR. Laura was sent for photo-ops to communicate we are there, we care, good things are happening.

The picture of the President waving in a manly fashion is very circular, very self-referencing: Mrs Bush in Air Force One in front of a picture of the President on Air Force One. Does their destination have any real meaning, or is all of this just about them? Bush's waving posture echoes the grandiose "Mission Accomplished" stunt.

The first thing I look for with a picture of W is the Nazi salute. This picture has it down. What I find intersting is the angle of the railing parallel to his arm. It makes me feel like there are people or children standing behind him saluting as well.

Is it my perverted mind, or does the photo have some sexual connotations? Certainly the plane looks a bit phallic.

is it just me or does it look like strangulation marks on laura's neck?

Actually he's not waving, that is indeed a Nazi salute. Also those are stangulation marks and in fact Babara is a waxworks dummy. Note the glazed fake eyes in the close up. She just sat like that the whole interview and a recording was played from behind the picture and the journalists didn't notice, even when they wheeled the dummy round the pyramids on a small trolley.

Bushes in Indonesia, 10/22/2003

The stairway looks like a golden stairway to heaven, with Bush as God's Messenger. Take THAT Muhammad!

We all know when Georgie choked on the pretzel, he actually had too much beer and passed out. Watching the game, drinking alone, nobody could stand hanging out with him. "I choked on a pretzel" is like the battered wife (Laura) saying, "I fell down." Georgie never stopped drinking. He may have cut back on the coke, at least with those who would talk to the press, but he never stopped drinking.

I wonder if it have made any difference if laura bush actuallt had a mind of her own?

I wonder if it have made any difference if laura bush actually had a mind of her own?

Perhaps the bad karma Mrs. Bush created for herself at 17 (when she was at fault in the MVA that killed a teenage boy, who was also her friend) has finally found her and is making up for lost time, in spades.

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