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Apr 02, 2007

Since November (#2): All Surface

20061219-1 D-0052-1-515H-1

It's one thing if your desk lacks a hint of work; it's another thing to flaunt it.

I've been meaning to blog about this, literally, for years now.  This White House shot from December 19th provides the perfect opportunity.

Given the Administration's preoccupation with image, you would think they would at least make it look like Bush did some paperwork.  Instead, the always-clean Oval Office work desk is the perfect metaphor for Bush's lack of introspection or review.

For a visual tour, let's start off with the photo gallery from the 19th, including the shot above, and this pic -- demonstrating how the desk could potentially double as Bush's helipad.  The photo op shows Bush signing two different bills, on in Laura's presence, and the other alone.  The sheer banality of these images -- during the stretch of time Bush was pretending to be reviewing his military strategy while the Administration cooked up "the surge" -- is an insult to us all.

And, just for historical perspective, there is this shot of Bush back in September 2003, in which he shows the "Resolution" desk to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.  Then, there is also this one, in April of that year, in a get-together with a group of Presidents from Central America. 

Here is the true snapshot of a President who exists purely on ceremony.

This eight day series, titled "Since November," looks at images that have caught The BAG's attention over the past four months. Many are inspired by the change in political landscape following the Democratic Congressional victory in November. In this stretch, I am taking some time off, leaving the site -- and the conversation -- in your hands.

(image: Eric Draper/White House.  Dec. 19, 2006.  whitehouse.gov. caption: President George W. Bush signs S. 3678, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, in the Oval Office.)

Comments

This shot and the links provided simply remind me that this desk will outlive the GWB presidency. His tenure has simply been a horrible blip on the screen of history. As boyish and innocent as he looks here, however, I still believe that America will not fully recover unless he is held accountable for choosing to start a war on false pretenses and motive.

This shot makes him look empty, but his record is much more evil.

Great observation. But it's not surprising -- and not necessarily for the "bush is dumb/ not curious/uninterested/just a puppet" reasons that I immediately thought of.

Given this administration's love for secrecy (and the power of cameras and images) maybe the point is that NOTHING should be seen of the president's work, or else Turrists or Liebruls or someone might see what he's working on. Of course, if that makes him seem dumb, not curious, uninterested or just a puppet, so what?

... more perhaps a clean freak or a compulsive control freak or..... "Laura you stand there and look at what I'm doin'....Now, don't say anythin' and don't do one of your smiles. Be more respectable like a wife should be...!" "....okay... everyone, HEY! you are not standing nice! Make your dress prettier! You over there! laugh like I am funny."

I see him as a mean spirited snipe who needs control.

Is Laura standing there to remind him how to spell his name?
His intense concentration towards handling the pen in most of the images makes it appear like an enormous task to even use the thing.

Gasho's comments reminded me of a Saturday Night Live set of sketches during the Florida recount. They showed a speech from Bush and Gore, showing what would happen if each won.

Gore's speech from the Oval Office, was boring, interrupted by a slobby Bill Clinton wandering around, embarrassing him.

But Bush's speech was full of apoligies, with fires breaking out on his desk, showing a full on disaster. I've looked for it on YouTube, I'm sure someone has it somewhere. What a sad parody-turns-to-reality clip that must be.

And at least in that version, Bush had some work on the desk.

Then they had

Know what's really missing from his desk? A computer.

That must be the only freaking desk in America without a computer on it.

My elementary school gym teacher had a sign on the door to his office that said: "A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind."

That doesn't look like a desk - or even an office - that's actually used for anything other than photo opportunities. In the photos on the White House website, look at what's on the bookshelf: decorative plates and decorative books. A lot of framed pictures, and couple of clocks - but no papers, books, newspapers, magazines, computers, TVs... It's like they only unlock this room for special occasions.

I think we'd have to go somewhere else to see where the real work gets done. I wonder what Cheney's office looks like...

I think we'd have to go somewhere else to see where the real work gets done. I wonder what Cheney's office looks like...

Wall to wall shredding machines, I should think.

Laura

George, I know a few months ago you said,

"I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma.."

and dear with the recent political and military changes here and abroad, perhaps different punctuation marks are necessary for this statement don't you think ?

I did some web searching for presidents signing bills into law. While there is some precedent for the "clean desk" approach to this activity, the one I like the most is this:

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/wwii/jb_wwii_lendleas_1_e.html>FDR signs law

Divorce papers, maybe?

Jay,
A real man at work, with a working desk.
God how the Presidency has been debased.
Patrick,
Have you seen it too? Every 3 months one of the tabloids puts out a story on the Bush's divorce with an anguished front page spalsh. Love it. What irony if 3 years from now the Clintons are still married and the Bushes are divorced.

On one level this whole line of commentary is pretty, superficially silly. It just is. And I'm the first one to tag bush as w.p.e. One might counter that papers and such are exactly what you're not going to find lying around on a presidential desk. That said, bush isn't president any more than Bozo was a real clown or Scooby-Doo was a real dog.

But that said, what kind of OCD are you when you have to have nothing but the essentials, phone, phone, uh, nothing?

And Lettuce beat me to it but where is the computer? Or more correctly, where is the desk this guy actually works at? And then we come back to the point is, which, while the observation may silly, the underlying is not and it's deadly accurate. bush, work? Sure he does.

Victor Gold, close friend of HW Bush and who worked for Goldwater has a book out about this administration. He rips it open in a rant on W,(Dan Quayle in cowboy boots) he said and Cheney. He says Cheney runs everything with his cabal. W is just the stupid hack in there for photo ops and as cover.
During the Press Conference today they got a video of Cheney lurking in the bushes and someone enlarged the picture and saw Cheney had a microphone. Interesting and creepy.

Well, if one were to be charitable, one would assume that there was a real desk somewhere, with real papers on it, and file cabinets, and a computer maybe back in the little study where Clinton dallied with Monica, where Bush actually WORKS, and the famous Desk, set on the famous Rug is just a site for ceremonial occasions.

But...I don't really believe that. I think Bush "works" for probably 2-3 hours a day reading the one-page-only "executive summaries" prepared for him by others while changing into his riding togs for a nice mountain bike ride.

the papers he signs probably have little post-it "Sign Here" stickers with arrows and stuff....

Cheney had a microphone

Oh, weird. I will have to go back to Crooks & Liars and look.

Speaking into the earpiece, ya think?

Bush actually "works" at meetings; ie., : the President presiding over a conference table.

he does not experience "working," or for that matter, have substantive capacity for self-awareness ~ when he is alone; iow, he is either being seen, or himself viewing others. Psycho/Socio-pathic personalities do not know where they are; rather, they find/define their Self by their reflection in or the reactions of the Other.

fwiw, you defeat a "salesman" = benign sociopath by you (the Other) becoming a black hole, refusing to reflect or respond, the sociopath empties himself in you, in vain, until he loses himself, entirely.


the daily briefs, etc., are almost always read aloud to the President ~ though he may be following a printed text ~ and it is said that Mr. Bush is most interested in the confidence and body language of staff as they speak to him. He apparently experiences being briefed as "being pitched" (as if facts & findings were malleable commodities, selling a point of view).


Though it is true and interesting to note this almost obsessive emptiness of surface of "his" desk, and its apparent ceremonial purpose, thus...

...what strikes me most about these images is this vast reflecting thing, his desk : as if it was the pond of Narcissus.


When i think how many countless millions of photos exist of this vacant creep. All day, every day.... snap snap snap. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every meeting, every handshake. How Godlike does that make a person feel, after seven years of this? A runway model, only 24/7,

see, bush is trumanesque, evidence no computer.

of course now that power has changed hands, none of the links on this page work, since they all go to the revamped whitehouse.gov.

I kind of like that.

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