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Mar 22, 2006

Reading With The Sound Off

Faultytower

How rickety is Bush's faulty tower?  This is how bad it is: This morning, GW was actually forced to take a question from Helen Thomas.

I don't know what news briefing CBS was watching.  Although Bush was edgy and aggressive in his own defense, Jim Axelrod reported simply that: "this was a president who was projecting no doubts of his own."  Scripps-Howard praised  Bush for abandoning "the format of carefully screened audiences and scripted "conversations" -- as if it wasn't so much a political move as a gesture of humility.

In only the second formal news conference of Bush's second term, the words may have sounded both decisive and more forthcoming,  But the body language -- much of it new -- ranged from patronizing to desperate.  Forced into a situation where he has no choice but to "talk realistically to people," Bubble Boy in Chief seems to be developing an expanded set of  defensive gestures to steel himself for the "candor strategy."

Images 1 and 4 fall under the category of the over-emphatic explanation. 

Number 3 is a hold-over from the first term; it's the old (and no-longer-effective) bully maneuver. 

6 is new.  It consists of two parts "who can predict these things," and one part "dog ate my homework." 

5 and 8 mimic 6, but the overriding communication is really "Get off my back." 

7 is interesting.  It's sort of an admission that things are screwed up.  There is also a strong hint of contrition in it.  Ultimately though, it is just a facial gesture. 

And then there is 2.  This will surface a lot after you've royally screwed things up and you now must let people walk all over you in the name of a last-ditch candor strategy.

(image 1 and 2: Mandel Ngan/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  image 3:  Paul J. Richards/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 4 and 5: Jim Young/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 6: Paul J. Richards/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  image 7:  Larry Downing/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 8: Jim Young/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.)

Comments

funny how our culture is so resistant to explicitly reading body language. "The President said," they report, but just the next-to-meaningless words. Not the much more meaningful body and posture language. It's some kind of taboo to bring it up. Maybe the left hemisphere doesn't understand it, and so pretends that it doesn't exist. (Read Alphaber vs. The Goddess for some background on that last thought.) thanks for edumacatin' us.

The press conference was quite a performance. Well, it was either a performance or a new Reality TV show for people who have mental disorders. Episode One, Patient W, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, cycles dramatically and with frightening rapidity when he skips his morning medication.

Sometimes it's interesting how the placement of words in the photos' background (in this case, The White House) take on new meanings. In photo no. 1, "OUSE" is all we see, doesn't take much to make that subconscious connection with "souse." And in photo 3, the letters "HO" ...

My favorite moment of the press conference involves photo 4. The body language and change in speech pattern/tone was somewhat surreal. That was a Dubya I hadn't seen before.

8. Yes, Nixon on alchohol.

The Washington Post had an errant video stream that had the audio come through much lower in tone but at the same live speed. It made him sound like a mix of the Devil and Dr. Phil. Quite entertaining, made it easier to watch.

"Every war plan looks good on paper, until you meet the enemy..."
Can you believe a sitting president (commander&chief) said this? During a war (or two)?

The BBC has an interesting article up about the hand gestures of liars:

"Those under strong suspicion used certain types of hand gestures more in order reinforce the point . . . The use of metaphoric gestures - such as touching the heart to show love and or the holding of hands apart to indicate size - were used 25% more often when people lied . . . Rhythmic gestures such as repeated pointing to emphasise statements were also used more often by liars."

Of course, Bush thinks he's telling the truth. I thought his voice was more slurred and sloppy than usual. I wish the press would ask what medication he's on.

I think his tone of voice is key. When Cheney talks, he keeps his voice very calm and modulated. Bush is hysterical.

If he is on meds, they are not working very well.

Downloaded this event from CSPAN, listened mainly. There were several very awkward moments; ostensible good-natured ribbing that flopped, mirthless laughter from the gallery, curt reactions to interruptions.

The President said "I" way too much. All those cameras and reporters were there for the President of the United States, not GW Bush.

Ofcourse Nixon is not back. Would it be that easy. America has spent many years moving away from Nixon. So America tells us.

One hundred thousand Iraqi people and 2000 plus American employed surely sends a message.
It is not Cindy Sheeahn, it is not Bagnews winning awards. Surely, it is the idea that day in-day out people are dying. What Bag and Michael have done is draw attention to the way in which the loss of life is Media-ted.

A collosal, chollaterol loss of bodies that will remain by-the by. On and on and on...

In 39 years time, will the 39% of people who believe that Sadamm was directly responsible for nine/eleven in 2006 according to responsible polls from March fall-back. No. They will dispute figures.

More strength to Michael and Bag for disputing the image they use. within this cycle,every day without a disputation is a day lost. Congratulations

the photos show lying behavior via an overemphasis on gestures generally regarded as showing sincerity.

I can't even think of anything to say about this guy anymore... just shaking my head and wondering how someone like him gets into a position that needs someone who's superintelligent and supercompetent... This is the great model of democracy at work?

MST3K alive and well in the Bush Era - I love it!

I think it is the sheer incompetence that is getting to people - my strongest feeling is that people just want this administration to get out - of the White House, out of Iraq, all of it - but they don't see anyone showing them any alternatives. And, of course, the right time to change direction was 30 years ago. Now it's indeed going to be a long hard slog.

Bush is the symptom, not the disease. The expressions Bush wears are just like those of the American people, wondering how the hell we got here. And most of them just need to look in the mirror to see them, not at their TV screens.

Bush grows more out of control with each passing speech, which seems less like the effects of medication and more like the effects of alcohol. So Bush's "medication" might be served up by a barkeep rather than a doctor. The American media — as well as the American public — appear to be his tireless enablers, as both continue to politely overlook — and worse — allow and excuse his behavior. When we find out that Bush is in fact "drinking again," the public will sympathize, not demonize. When I try to understand the accepting reactions of the media and the public, this alcoholic relationship dynamic is the only thing that explains it to me.

Not that that helps in the end.

Donna: "...they don't see anyone showing them any alternatives..."

That's the thing, isn't it? I found that we have a satellite station that shows programs from NBC, ABC, and CBS News. So after not having watched these politicians for a long time, one day I actually watched those Sunday morning talk shows, one after the other. Virtually all of the politicians are so fake and shallow (as are the so-called journalists) - and if someone were to come along who actually might have something real to say, s/he would probably never make it. (I don't know if Obama is someone promising, because I don't know much about him, but the media's already gunning for him. And Howard Dean was ruined because of that one scream, which may have been a genuine moment...)

Sorry... I'm a little cynical.

I just change the channel, even when it just a a snippet. I have my fill of stupid politicians trying to sound smart when they are in fact desperate and deceitful.

ummabdulla,
theres no such thing as a cynic, just someone with higher standards.

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