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Oct 20, 2006

See Ya, Karl! (Or, Turning The Table On Conservative Symbolism)


Some background: Taking off from '04 (link).  NYT Mag Schweitzer profile.  MSNBC Hillary Atlantic Monthly excerpt.  Maureen Dowd's recent Hillary piece: In Vodka Non Veritas (link).  Ford ad.

(image 1:  harold ford campaign/A.P. Via YahooNews.  image 2: Catherine Ledner for The New York Times.  October 3, 2006.  image 3:  Jez Coulson for Atlantic Magazine. November 2006.)


Coupling that image of Hillary, off kilter, face swollen by the camera lens, the tired, limpid smile with the Maureen Dowd piece about the drinking contest with McCain is a bit much. I suspect the Clintons have attended many a barbecue and county fair in Arkansas and around the country over many decades and that Hillary was probably not "drunk" at the event pictured.

The "down home" image is alive and well in each of these pictures, and, unfortunately, is not a true picture of life in Washington salons, although true to life "out there" where people actually live and work and vote. Too bad there is so much disconnect between the two, and so much facticiousness in our politicians.

margaret, Schweitzer is the Gov of Montana, and I think there may be a rodeo ring on the grounds of the state Capital there. Nothing is less 'washington' than his photo above.

otherwise, yes.

The Politics of Anxious Masculinity

photo #2 The Marlboro Man : “part of a tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes, was conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954. The image involves a rugged cowboy or cowboys, in nature, with only a cigarette : The original purpose of the ads was a way to popularize filtered cigarettes, which at that time were considered feminine.”

[the image] “ said to be one of the most brilliant ad campaigns of all time. It transformed [what had heretofore been the feminine association of filtered cigarettes] with the slogan "Mild as May", into one that was masculine, in a matter of months.”

Although there were many "Marlboro Men" the cowboy proved to be the most popular. This led to the 'Marlboro Cowboy' and 'Marlboro Country' campaigns...”

eg., photo #3 : Gingham & Denim

in my opinion the question is not "Why Western," rather ~ Why Feminine Not ?

One of the pervasive things about politics and religion is their traditional celebration of misogyny rather than suffrage. What IS this modern American urge, to paraphrase Fromm, to Escape from Nurture ?

Three observations:

Feh. Feh. Feh.

I rather like the Hillary pic. For once she looks loose, happy, and unguarded. If that relaxed expression is supposed to indicate drunkenness, so be it. It's a nice expression, IMO.

A fantastic set of images. The first, of Harold Ford, almost took my breath away. As he stares directly out at the viewer, the white cross on the red banner is unavoidable. We are talking CHRISTIAN here, no doubt about it. The association between Christian imagery and Republicans is so strong that I had to look up Harold Ford to persuade myself that he is indeed a Democrat. His face has that taut, groomed look that I associate with the military. This is an in-your-face refutation of conservative cultural claims.

Hillary at the county fair is a hoot. It's the pink gingham. She looks relaxed and "country"--the New York power suit is vanquished.

Mind if we join you Karl ?

# 1 forcing Jesus on Harold Ford Jr;
" I started church the old-fashioned way. I was forced to and I’m better for it."
What makes a person better for being forced to attend church? What does being forced to attend church have to do with your qualifications for Senate.? In the same advertisement, you proudly say that you voted for the infamous Act.

# 2 corralling Jesus for the party;
Were Jesus to file for public office, he would run on the Democratic ticket...Schweitzer told a Hinckley Caucus Room audience. Daily Utah Chronicle 3/22/06

# 3 keeping a Jesus diary;
"In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times 7. Well, I want you all to know that I'm keeping a chart".

In Canada in 1993, Jean Chretien's long premiership was started by a conservative meltdown coupled with the official photo of him in a denim shirt.

#1 The Ford Background is not a cross, its a sword. Seems he espouses "muscular" Christianity.

And what is the significance of him posing in an empty church? What would have been the message if the congregation was there?

"The Ford Background is not a cross, its a sword."

That's what I saw first, too. I thought it was a dagger at first.

IMHO, the BG in Ford's photo is not just a sword, it is a sword usually associated with the crusades. Was this a savvy political decision? Or has he seen this particular icon so often that it has lost the original meaning for him?

If this Ford dude with his church and his pride in voting for the Patriot Act and 5 trillion dollars for the US predatory military is a Democrat;

if that Schweitzer guy with his SUV-driving cowboyism and love of shooting animals with guns is a Democrat;

if that phoney liberal Hillary, who will angle any which chickenhawk way to land a step higher on the ladder, is a Democrat;

and if there are only two viable parties in the United States;

and if for most Americans "left political activism" amounts to strongly supporting one or another Democratic candidate in elections that are botched anyway . . .

then we are in deep shit.

You go to the polls with the country you have not the country you want. har har har.

But seriously what did you expect? Harvey Milk running in all Congressional districts under the Democratic label? Yeah the state of the nation is not exactly what I want either but I will not judge these people for doing their best given the electorate they have. I mean the Dems are only now rebuilding their farm teams in the states. The kinds of people who can sell liberal ideas in Tennessee are about 25 years away, BUT if you turn away in disgust at who we have now and leave the halls of power in the hands of the far right, well then the farm team will die. The Democratic party as an ideal disappeared in the 80s and 90s. Dean revived the idea of the party as a moral force and it is only being rebuilt as such now.

Many miles to go, why not and be a little merry along the way?

Kier: Don't know about the rest of 'em but I'm wearin' my boots these days.

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