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Jul 25, 2007

Control Tower To Bush: Time To Save Our "A"

(click for actual size)

Talk about getting it exactly backwards.

Check out the military hardware in the White House photo-op at the Charleston Air Force Base on Tuesday as compared with the TIME cover that hit the newsstand at almost the same time.

While the majority of Americans these days would opt for a banner on an aircraft carrier reading: "Decommission Accomplished," our bomber happy lame duck, in his flaming red tie, is still pathologically stuck on 'get 'em there before they get us here'  and "Bring it on."

(image 1: TIME Magazine.  July 30, 2007.  Photo-illustration: Arthur Hocchstein.  photo: Piotr Przeszlo/Shutterstock. Cover.  image 2: Larry Downing/Reuters.  July 24, 2007.  Charleston, S.C.


We've had conversations on previous threads about conservative iconography--how it tends to be text based, primary colors, visually cluttered, and concrete. What struck me, looking at these two photos, is first the chaos implied by the Time cover--the assymetry, the different fonts, colors, the white space, the lack of visuals except the helicopter that looks like a bug. It isn't conservative iconography, but it shares the same lack of sophisticated spatial organization.

The picture of GWB has that cluttered look I associate with the conservative mind and the iconography that it produces: Soldiers, planes, many flags, lettering, red, white & blue, the Pres in the center. It is a very concrete way of thinking about the world. No metaphors, just brute associations.

The TIME cover is fantastic graphic design. Because it is so well done, it will likely sell well (sell out) on newsstands and is deserving of design-industry accolades. What that means for us is, it will have a longer shelf life in our harried consciousness than the usual grocery-store glance. In other words, we will probably see this cover repeatedly, if peripherally. Sort of like a LIFE magazine cover.

This kind of elegant design is retro, and reminds me of movie-credit design from the 1960s. Like Saul Bass's title credits for Exodus.

The design style, the helicopter-silhouette icon, the stars-and-stripes fill pattern are, for me, associations with the Vietnam era. So the answer to the question What will happen when we leave? would be Vietnam. (And that's a negative, of course.)

Not sure what you mean by "bomber happy." The photos in your links appear to be C17 aircraft used primarily for transport of cargo and troops.

The Time cover looks like what will happen if we leave is some kind of partition with the IR (Islamic Revolutionaries) and the Q-urds separated. (How's that for reading into a cover?)

What I think is telling is that Time's cover says "WHEN we leave", not "IF". Maybe a tipping point really has been passed?

On the Time cover the helo pictured has a 5 blade main rotor with a 3 blade tail, and what seems to be strut landing gear. That, my friends, is a Soviet era helo. I think it is a Hind-25. Shades of the Soviet effort in Afganistan?

Snowden: nice catch! But that couldn't be, because Dubya's Excellent Iraq Adventure is nothting like the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan.

Neither image is of "guns blazing" war machines. Maybe we've learned.

The American "A" gets extracted like a bad tooth. The remaining (black) letters are already beginning to fill the gap.

Most visually compelling would be to leave the area void, but that is just where they plant the strongest message- that little phrase "when we leave".

Yeah, it's off message, it should read "if we leave" and the story should be about all the scary things that will happen if we "fail to complete the mission". Mind boggling, isn't it? Never define a mission, (or at least one with any chance of success) then relentlessly insist on continuing...

By this cover the announcement has been made. America is leaving Iraq. (And making the announcement may buy us another two years of occupation)

I wonder if the military imagery doesn't start to work against Bush at some point. That is, instead of making him look strong and leaderful (or is that leaderish?), it reinforces with the majority just how obsessed with fighting and posturing he is.

The C17 is in a landing pattern, presumably surging more troops to Iraq. It's likely that the locals in the case had some connection with C17s, maybe they make some there, or have a large number based there.

In image no. 2, my first impression was that the C17 was only a moment away from crashing into Bush and his audience. An impending catastrophe caught on camera.

I had the same thought as Asta; reminds me of that fake 9/11 photo that made the rounds a few years back, of the oblivious guy standing on the WTC with the incoming jumbo jet looming in the background.

The Stars-and-Stripes "A" doesn't fit in the space from which it's being extracted. It would have to have been squeezed to be in that position.

What I object to is that the "A" is composed of a clean slice of the American flag, with the shiny stars and sharp stitching. Aren't we a little more bruised and battered? Our reputation is in the toilet internationally. Our millitary strength and readiness is in question. Our foundation, the Constitution, is in tatters. Who among us thinks we deserve a big "A" with stars all over it?

In the second pic, I saw what Asta saw-- the bomber coming in on a collision course with W's head. I also see the edge of the photo itself, particularly in the lower left corner, as if it's been burned or is on fire (the way an old treasure map would have burned edges). The presidential emblem is fending off the encroaching void, but for how long? Thus is W being attacked from two angles, even in a WH approved photo.

Oh, I like the comment about how the second image looks like it has been burned on the edges. That was good. Maybe like how a movie film trapped in a theater projection machine will get hot and start to bubble. Like how we are trapped in the theater of war.

When I clicked for the enlarged photo, I also thought the flags over the men's heads looked like brightly colored dunce hats.

Gahso, the A is a triangle shape, and with the American flag motif, it evokes the tri-folded flag honoring a fallen soldier.

That "A" does look clean and new and proud... maybe it's leaving Iraq, but the next picture could be that "A" moving on to its next "excellent adventure".

I hope a later cover doesn't show it being dropped into IR_N or PAKIST_N...

Strange that the helicopter featured in the cover is a Mi-24 Russian built attack helicopter (NATO codename: Hind). Is Time hinting that like Afghanistan, Iraq will be another Empire breaker?

And the aircraft above Georgie's head is not a bomber, it is a C-17 cargo plane, which makes it more ironic, since its designed to move stuff, to and from places. It looks to me like the pictures says "Its time to get the Hell out of Dodge!"

I know it's supposed to be a vapor trail, but the C-17 looks somewhat as if it's on fire and barrelling in for a crash landing.
How appropriate for this administration.

ummabdulla, NICE one!!

I'm with you re: "I hope a later cover doesn't show it being dropped into IR_N or PAKIST_N..."

Is it my imagination or does Bush once again look like hell? His face is bloated and his eyes are shrunken into his head. Is that the photo or is that his inner Dorian Gray showing?

Iraq is split, i.e., broken. Someone above mentioned the split between the Iraqis and the (Q)urds. Is this what will happen if the "A"merica leaves? While the graphics are striking, making for bold cover, it's also ambiguous. Is TIME implying that if the US leaves Iraq will be broken? Or that unless we leave now, it will be a Vietnam ending? That the helicopter is in black silhouette is an ominous clue. The IR and Q seem suspended above ground. In the photo, it seems to recall the subject a few days ago where the video showed the janitor walking in front of the camera. Here it is the audience (?) and one head is almost obliterating the Pres. Also, it looks like the plane is headed for the Pres. Are all his handlers busy trying to save Gonzo? To add to Asta and rtbag's comments, those flags also look like rockets aimed at the C17.

What do you get when you strike out the 'i' in 'Time,' and replace it with an 'A?' This double meaning struck me the moment the image loaded. Tame Ir-q, even if it means claiming the teeth of it as your own and removing it from the citizens of the country by force, under the guise of a "withdrawl."

Was anyone else reminded of this cover when they saw this poster for The Simpsons Movie?

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