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« April 3, 2005 - April 9, 2005 | Main | April 17, 2005 - April 23, 2005 »

6 posts from April 10, 2005 - April 16, 2005

Apr 15, 2005

Your Turn: Ironing Out a Few Details


I must be crazy to invite your analysis of an illustration having to do with policy!

On the other hand, the subject did find its way onto the latest cover of The Economist -- and you know how much pleasure the BAG community derives from TE's visual coverage.  So, full steam ahead.  What's your take on the symbol?  It's style?  The tone?  The placement?  Do you think the image makes any reference to current political dynamics?  Is there an editorial agenda here?  (In the magazine's opinion piece, for example, it seems like they are putting greater emphasis on simplicity, while taking fair and better more for granted.)

(For a quick flat tax overview with pro and con, here is wikipedia's entry.  And, although somewhat dated now, here's a nice political summary of the issue by Josh Marshall.)

Apr 14, 2005

New York Magazine Calls Sy Hersh A Liar

Hersh050411_175Former NYT Magazine editor Adam Moss must really be feeling the pressure to boost circulation at his new digs, New York Magazine

Why else would he recycle criticism of Bush Administration nemesis, Seymour Hirsch?  The gist of this
NYM story is that -- when he's on the lecture circuit and not being held to account by an editor -- Hersh plays fast and loose with the facts.  Even if Hersh tends to embellish when he's speaking publicly, this charge has been hashed and rehashed ever since the publication of Hersh's expose of the Kennedy family.  For the BAG's purposes, what's interesting (and, it may be the only thing interesting about this story --besides Moss' overreaching) is the photo that accompanies the piece.   

At least
NYM's photo editor is pulling his weight.  I'd say this is an excellent visual complement to a character assassination.  Matched with the copy, doesn't this come off like someone too compelled by the shadows ?  A man overexposed when subjected to light?  A person who may look beyond the window of the obvious, but can end up lost in his own mind?

(You can read the article

(image: Graham Jepson at

After the Tsunami


When I was first learning the shrink trade, I had a mentor who really impressed upon me the difference between describing something and explaining it. 

Maybe it goes against the
who, what, where of journalistic convention, but this NYT article and photo (After the Tsunami: At Home, in Company of Memories - link) follows up the devastating South Asian tsunami in a way that conveys a great deal with just a few strokes of detail.  In briefly introducing us to a father and son who have lost their relatives, a girl who plays with her shadow, and a young woman who has gone mad, the story manages to convey a keen sense of the surreal aftermath of December's catastrophe.

The girl in the photo is a 5-year-old named Tasya.  The caption says she is playing with her shadow in the ruins of her home in Banda Aceh.  Her father says that this is now her favorite place to play. The graffiti, aimed at looters, says, "Don't seek wealth out of suffering."

The photo is so evocative, I would be interested in your interpretations.  For example, what do you make of the flag silhouette that seems to be extending from the girl's head?  (To see the larger, color image accompanying the on-line article, click the story link above.)

For me, the most striking element is that she appears to be missing her legs.  Maybe that's a metaphor for what grief does -- it takes out your legs, and unhinges you from the ground.  Another strange aspect is that there's water on the ground.  Most likely, it's from a recent rain.  Still, it's hard not to consider it as the flood water Tasya might be looking to stay above.  I was also interested in the sticks poking up from where her feet might otherwise go.  It almost seems like Tasya could be a doll springing forward and back on this base.  Perhaps the image comes from reports of her hovering around her house, and her constant motion.  On the other hand, with the news filled with stories about injured soldiers (such as this
profile of two women vets in Monday's NYT), the "stump" could also be read as a prosthetic device.  (It's one thing to appreciate physical disability, but it's an altogether different issue granting emotional handicap.)   

Reading this account and studying this picture, I
all-of-a-sudden realize there have been quite a few articles on Aceh lately.  Apparently, the island has yet to receive much aid relief.  (Of course it's another association, but could the flag be a reminder that Tasya plays in the shadow of a difficult political situation?)

(image: Seth Mydans/International Herald Tribune - 10.10.05 in The New York Times, p. A3.)

Snap Shots: But Who Shot the Messenger?

11photoCan you tell what's happening in this Pulitzer Prize winning photo?  According to right wing bloggers, an Iraqi insurgent is shooting an Iraqi election worker with the aid of an AP photographer. 

One of the most prominent and disturbing right wing tactics since Bush came into office is the tendency to take issue with reality when an argument cannot be supported by facts.  In this case (Blogs Incensed Over Pulitzer Photo Award -
link), these reactionary bloggers deduce that the photographer could only have been on the scene if he (or she) had been an insurgent sympathizer.  They also go on to charge that the publication of this photo was basically intended to aid the enemy.  Just for the record, I should say that the Associated Press vigorously rejects both assertions.

Apparently, this latest example of foot stomping is not an isolated case.  Lately, there has been an growing tendency for these radicals to
attack photojournalism when they don't like what they see.  Perhaps the solution would be for the government to just remove all independent journalists from Iraq (forget that the bulk of them are embedded), and replace them with White House public relations personnel.
(Larger image

(image: Stringer/AP - photographed December 19, 2004.  Referral: Enid)

Apr 12, 2005

Driving the Process


The White House press operation did a pretty good job stage managing George Bush's meeting with Ariel Sharon on Monday.  Besides a series of photos released by the Israeli press office, the general media was only allowed to take pictures from a distance during the leader's joint press conference.  All other images were controlled by the administration. 

Not surprisingly, the photographs provide the message to the domestic audience that Bush has the Israeli-Palestinian situation well in hand.  This shot -- which ran on the cover of yesterday's
LATimes -- is indicative.  Basically, Bush is firmly in the driver's seat, with Sharon passively along for the ride.  Actually, the image couldn't mirror the White House talking points any closer.  According to the story line, Bush (and Sharon) are driving forward strictly adhering to the President's road map (ambiguous as it really is), with Bush seeming to guide Sharon on where he needs to go.  (By the way, the White House managed to beat to death the idea of Bush directing the otherwise obstinate Sharon, as you can also see here and here.)

Supposedly, the meeting was intended for Bush to draw a firm line with Sharon on the future of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  The only problem is, this meeting was basically for show.  In actuality, this issue was hardly discussed.  Rather, the attention was limited to Bush expressing his support for the Israeli's pull-out from Gaza. 

Regarding another piece of political smoke, the White House likes to make a big deal about which world leaders are or aren't invited to stay at Bush's ranch.  In this case, Sharon was afforded the honor.  However, he was hardly there.  He spent the night at a local hotel, he came over in the morning, and was gone by the afternoon. 

If you read carefully, you'll see that it was Dick Cheney (the guy who's more likely doing the pointing) who actually slept over.

(image: Eric Draper/White House - 4.12.05 in LA Times, page 1)

Snap Shots: The First iPod

BushipodMonday's White House Letter in the NYT features "W" adjusting his iPod before jumping on his bike.  I can't look at this image without cringing, but I'm not exactly sure why. 

With Apple going mainstream, do these two icons deserve each other?  Or, is Bush trying too hard to be cool?  Is this a graphic reminder of how determined boomers are to hold on to their lost youth?  Or, does this say the line between corporation and state has become so blurred Madison Avenue can even turn the President into a billboard?  What's your read on this?

(Click image for larger version)

(image: Paul Morse/The White House, via AP - April 11, 2005 in The New York Times)

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