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Sep 03, 2007

Here's Looking At You Looking Back, Kid


Many times, The BAG has focused on photos and captions that almost completely contradict the body of an accompanying article.  Saturday's NYT Condi update is the latest example.  The article, which mostly lays out the case for Rice's distinction as America's worst-ever Secretary of State, emphasizes repeatedly that Condi -- as is consistent with Dubya and the rest of the cabal -- is someone who does not reflect.

There is this snip:

Ms. Rice is rarely, if ever, self-reflective. But in an interview with The New York Times this month, she acknowledged, ever so obliquely, that her first four years working for the Bush administration were not her best.

And this:

She was sitting in the anteroom of her office on the State Department’s seventh floor, in the chair where she usually sits for news media interviews, occasionally falling back on her usual talking points, except this time, those talking points were interspersed with grumbling that she was being asked for personal reflection, something she does not like to do, preferring instead to work through times of personal turmoil on the piano, with Brahms.

Which was followed by this:

In fact, her friends say that she rarely questions whether she is right or wrong, instead choosing to believe in a particular truth with absolute certainty until she doesn’t believe it anymore, at which point she moves on. “Now you’ve got me trying to psycho-analyze myself,” she complained.

So the question is, where did this picture come from showing a happy-go-lucky Condi looking back?  And what about that caption it's married to: "While Condoleezza Rice has her eye on a major achievement in the time she has left in office, she is also taking time to reflect."

Maybe, in the waning days of summer, it is too much too ask for more more consistency.  Either way, it is just one more example of the media coddling the Administration.  More specifically, what we get pictorially -- as a long overdue update -- is  Condi more as charismatic celebrity than that member of the Administration most responsible for, but somehow unable to look over, into or certainly back at U.S. foreign policy.

(image: Molly Riley/Reuters.  published September 1, 2007.


In China, a National Security adviser who ignored warnings of terrorism before a 9/11 attack would get a bullet in the neck. In Japan, he/she would commit "seppuku". But Condi is not bothered by her criminal negligence-she felt she deserved a promotion.

The photo is an "IT" girl, Gigit moment... Or a "That Girl" with Marlo Thomas. Give me any chance, I'll take it, I'm gonna make my dreams come true...... Doing it my way....

All of them. IT, and W included are busily working on biographies, they want the first word on their posterity, their own positive spin on the negative avalanche that is headed down the mountain. Not to mention, IT has avidly taken up golf during the last year. WHAT? Golf, with the Middle East in flames, Europe and Latin America turning socialist, Russia and Iran arming to the teeth and IT chooses this time to become a golfer, ...

you can't make this stuff up can you?

It's one of the most flattering photos of her I've ever seen. Rather coy expression. She's flirting with possible future employers? A better choice of pictures to go with the article would have had to include at least two, side by side: Condi then, and Condi now.

"..grumbling that she was being asked for personal reflection, something she does not like to do, preferring instead to work through times of personal turmoil on the piano, with Brahms..." this line from the Bags linked article conjured up a question for Dr Rice. (PhD in Russian studies)

So how about working through some personal turmoil with a Russian composer ?

And in China the family gets the bill for the bullet! You cannot prettify mediocrity... if I were a student at Yale (Bush) or Denver (Condi), I would circulate a petition to strip these guys of their academic credentials. Their legacy ? Torture, rendition, black holes, bereaved families and that abysmal mediocrity

Simple proposal: "Divest Condi movement" and a good riddance.

Only among the completely insane does someone like Condi appear sane. Look up her speech to the Republican Convention in 2000 if you want to see what a nut-job she really is. I didn't know who she was at the time, but I remember that she frightened me when I heard her back in 2000...

She also likes to mention she's not big on long term planning either.

See you all in DC on the 15th.

"Dr" Rice is an intellectual fraud. She has, by herself, authored only one book -- a pathetically mediocre study of the Czechoslovak military that was panned by the American Historical Review.

At Stanford she was a provost -- i.e., "enforcer" of the kinds of academic rules & discipline that so many true thinkers cannot stand (Einstein, needless to say, was never a provost). Her knowledge of Russia & Russian is, all indications are, elementary -- she didn't even understand a simple question posed to her by the Moscow station Ekho Moskvy in Russian on whether she wanted to be president. I have no proof of this, but I'm quite sure she's the one who told Dubya to tell KGB aspiring dictator Putin about his great Russian soul. Shows how much she understands about Russia. Nichevo. Look that word up in your Russian-English dictionary, "Dr" Rice.

If you actually read (or even listen to) Rice's media talking points, they don't add up to anything. She just states "fact" after "fact" -- but there's no intellectual "there" "there." In a word, she is incapable of historical/abstract thought, essentially due to her lack of imagination and utter provinciality.

She lists foreign policy issues as if she were talking about cooking recipes. A mental lighweight. She should be teaching piano in a high school in Colorado. But then maybe she wouldn't be good enough. No wonder she specialized in that phony science, "international affairs." When you cook a lousy meal or can't play the piano right you suffer the consequences. When you cook up lousy policies somehow you are in the highest echelons of government for years, especially under Bush & Co.

Her "ideas" about her so-called "transformational diplomacy" are worthy of a first-grader. She clearly has no idea what being a diplomat in the field is like. She wants dips to "transform" the world in ways that will justify her job to her regime masters in Washington. Fantasy. This is the kind of a lady who has never really been abroad -- and her true home is the Bush bubble, or some office in an upper-crusty university or the seventh floor State Department. Untouched by real life. She buy Ferragamo shoes as Katrina destroys New Orleans. Let them eat cake.

But then she has a kind of "I'm so well brought-up" charm-for-the-Republican-country-club set that she constantly insinuates separates her (and them) from the black lumpen. She skates. She plays the piano. She get a "PHD" in international studies. And then way she speaks is utterly stilted. What kind of American language is she uttering? Doesn't sound English to me, "black," "white," you name it. It's like a robot speaking.

And then there's the sports thing. How Kondi loves pro football! It's like Henry the K, that fat, ill-mannered slob, going out with shapely blondes. I suspect sports are what she & Dubya really talk about after "reviewing" our policies. Anything else is beyond their mental capacities. They reassure each other of how right they are about everything by talking about Michael Vick.

Indeed, that's the whole point: this provincial petite bourgeoise fraud, Rice, is where is she because Dubya has never felt threatened by her intellectually. Same with Gonzalez. Is there a racial thing here, with Bush feeling "comfortable" with "minorities" with whom he feels instinctively "superior"? I don't know. But all-white dumb-preppy George knew he could always get a yes from "intellectual" Condi about his foreign policy madness, used by Rove & Co. for narrow domestic purposes. Bush's "ideas" were ok'd by Rice, and then Rice would "explain" Bush's "ideas" to the American public. Yep, the mushroom cloud is coming....

Meanwhile, look at the mess we're in.

I once asked John McWhorter, another black conservative who has written about how his father made sure he could play stride piano, whether he thought Ms Rice could play stride, whether she could swing. He smiled and said, "No."

Rice has always been a smart non-entity, an entitled princess who never evidenced any concern for anybody but herself. The picture is all "look at me, aren't I cute?" The problem is she isn't cute and not really worth a second look as a policy-maker or as a human being.

Condi showing her bottom is actually all about anal sex. And who cares, except Dubya maybe.

She's unqualified, it's that simple. But Bush personally likes her, so she gets to be Sec. of State. The real problem with Bushco is and has been country club nepotism.

On the subject of of looking back: Brahms and "It."

I was hoping The BAG would put this picture up for discussion when I saw it in the Sunday NYTimes! A glamour shot of the American Secretary of State--it's a great picture of her, and my jaw drops at the same time. Was it a studio shot? Did she agree to this?

I have always found her expressiveness extraordinary, and I've grown to appreciate it. We have rarely seen such a range of emotion in public figures, certainly not in the high power political world. I've also appreciated her stylishness--I may not agree with her particular fashion choices, but her willingness to enjoy beautiful clothes is refreshing to me. But the NYTimes does give this administration a pass. CR has been the most vivid member of Bushco, but she is also an active agent in many of its worst decisions. So why does the NYTimes give this person, who could be a war criminal, such a blithe glamour shot? It reminds me of the perky female sidekick, a stock character with a long history.

Years ago I was influenced by the work of Marxist art historian, John Berger, through a 1972 BBC production, Ways of Seeing. And god bless Google! Here is an exerpt from Berger with his take on glamour--this has influenced my thinking ever since I encountered it.

I ponder Berger's comment again, "Glamour is a modern invention...Glamour cannot exist without personal social envy...The pursuit of individual happiness has been acknowledged as a universal right. Yet the existing social conditions make the individual feel powerless. He lives in the contradiction between what he is and what he would like to be. Either he then becomes fully conscious of the contradiction and its causes, and so joins the political struggle for a full democracy...or else he lives, continually subject to an envy which, compounded with his sense of powerlessness, dissolves into recurrent day-dreams."

Reflection, that mental discipline so avoided by Bush and Condi, allows one to become "fully conscious of the contradiction between the social conditions that make the individual feel powerless and its causes." I don't think that Bush or Condi feel powerless, however, and I believe that they are quite happy creating the social conditions that make other individuals feel powerless. I know they make me feel powerless. So why should they reflect? What does it mean if CR has begun reflecting?

But this passage by Berger suggests to me that the modern media AND the modern Republican party are fundamentally about the individual pursuit of happiness defined as the unfettered accumulation of wealth. At some profound level, the destruction wrought by Bushco--the war, the economic inequality, the environmental damage--is irrelevant to them. Condi a war criminal. Pfft! She's rich! She has power! She has things!**SNAP**Time for a glamour shot!

By the way, some of the posts on this thread seem to me to be unnecessarily hostile. I will attribute that hostility to the rage we all feel about Bushco's clusterf**k, but at the same time, I want to add that when I consider CR and her career through the lens of class, race and gender, I respect her, even though I don't agree with her politics, not a whit. I wonder about what it would be like to be a gifted, black girl in the segregationist south in the 1950s, the only child of parents who hoped to prepare their child so she "...would be able to confront white society on its own terms" Maybe she would have turned out quite differently had she been a more reflective person, eh? But I don't think it is fair to start with the "is she black enough?" crap.

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize." -Muhammad Ali
(had a dream...unfortunately... slept thruit)

Chomsky your comment that she is like Marlo Thomas is consistent with an observation I've had that her voice, all quavery and girlish, reminds me strongly of Mary Tyler Moore - "Oh, Mr. Gra-a-a-nt!"

So the question is, where did this picture come from showing a happy-go-lucky Condi looking back? And what about that caption it's married to: "While Condoleezza Rice has her eye on a major achievement in the time she has left in office, she is also taking time to reflect."

I assumed Kinda-sleazy was looking back at her presidente. That or a "sale on boots" sign.

Please, Stanford, don't take her back in any capacity.

Glamor shot of Condi, indeed!!

This person is, first and foremost, a WAR CRIMINAL. The US has a lot of rude awakening coming. We've been an aggressor on the world stage. If justice prevails, those responsible will be judged directly. If justice faulters, then we'll get our punishment as a nation when our powerful status is reduced to ashes and the violence we've exported comes home to roost.

Like a gang banger that goes too far and his own gang "takes care of him" -- I hope our "system" is strong enough to punish the neocons for their horrible misadventures, so that the whole nation isn't forever dragged down by the consequences.

This process has clearly not begun. Glamorous Condi... just a candy coating on a festering heap of SH*T.

The desired effect is successful. She looks quite likeable. For most that will be all it takes to gloss over her disastrous record.

Rice is the Secretary of State as a placeholder--to insure that any attempts at dipomacy are blunted and muted. Her "bona fides" are unimportant and irrelevant. No one in the administration cares that she plays the piano or is (or is not) self-reflective. She is there to stunt the growth of the diplomatic corps.

Wow, PTate in FR, that quote from Berger is extraordinary. It is endearing to know that others think, as I do, that Condi is, and always has been, transparently unqualified for either head of the National Security Agency (!) or Secretary of State. I have also never fully understood the fascination with Condi's clothing, until today, thank you PTate. The story about Condi buying shoes in NYC while the people in New Orleans drowned. I never understood the import of how truly disturbed she must be. I also couldn't agree with you who think she is a war criminal who needs her comeuppance.

"I wonder about what it would be like to be a gifted, black girl in the segregationist south in the 1950s, the only child of parents who hoped to prepare their child so she '...would be able to confront white society on its own terms' Maybe she would have turned out quite differently had she been a more reflective person, eh? But I don't think it is fair to start with the 'is she black enough? crap.

1. Condi is not particularly gifted. Just read what she writes or listen to her speak. 99% of it is sheer nonsense/trivia. Want somebody "gifted"? Try James Brown.
2. The parochial "black" middle-class Atlanta milieu Rice came from was probably just as "segregationist" as some white racists, in that the Uncle Toms from her "black" environment didn't want to mix with the "lumpen blacks." Indeed, Condi's whole career can be seen as an effort not to appear "black," with her ultimate aspiration be be a lilly-white Dallas country club Stepford wife to Dubya.
3. What is so great about "confronting white society on its own terms"? You mean, she should be like George or Laura Bush to be a full human being? Or maybe she should be screwing Dubya, if she is not doing so already, at least mentally?
4. Were she a reflective person, Rice indeed would have been different: she would have been aware of her immense intellectual and human limitations. That, perhaps, would have kept us out of Iraq and other foreign policy disasters made possible by her hubris, a "quality" she shares with monsters like Rumsfeld and Cheney.

Robert: "Condi is not particularly gifted"

I've been going on and on for some time that Condi, when you drop her into the high pressure world of academia, does not stand out for intellectual achievement. Her career, like that of GWB, appears to have been cooked by oil companies and rich friends (for example, see my comments on her career in the BnN Brahms thread, for example, back in April 2006.) It's all the appearance of substance, and none of the grit.

But I am willing to give credit where credit is due, and she DID graduate from college at 19, Phi Beta Kappa, and obtained her PhD at 26. How many people do that? I think shows high ability, but not necessarily deep, original thinking. I agree that she has been seriously out of her depth in her NSA position and her position as SoS, and the history books are full of the mistakes she has made, but she is and was a very bright woman. Ironically, originally, she wanted to be a concert pianist, but realized that she didn't have the talent for that....ironic because she also didn't have the ability to be NSA and SoS, but those positions don't have quite the obvious performance standards that concert pianists are subjected to.

As for black middle class families not wanting to mix with the "lumpen" blacks...How do you know that? How can you assert that? Do you appreciate how deeply racist your statement is? Racist because you are applying a stereotype that because of the color of their skin, CR's family should have behaved in one particular way along with others who share their skin color. I would hope that American society can someday achieve a broad enough outlook that all people can live their lives as they choose, without being categorized, condemned or pressured to behave in a way sanctioned for "their" group. Today, we know of intense peer pressure on bright black children to underachieve, to not live up to their scholastic potential, to not be "white." How much more confusing to grow up in the segregated south in the 1950s, without good role models of bright, accomplished African-Americans competing as equals in a dominant culture in which they are full members AND African-American.

CR's parents wanted the best for their daughter and hoped that they could protect her from discrimination by raising her to compete in the dominant society, which at that time was white only society. This strategy has been an extremely fortunate one for her--as an examination of the disconnect between her actual accomplishments and her stratospheric power indicate. Ironic then that she is criticized for her success because she didn't earn it in the right way. I think the real problem is that she is underqualified for her current position and she is a fully participating member in a totally wacko conservative WH. The problem is not that she is not black enough.

Obama is getting some of this same, "not black enough" criticism because he too is thoroughly integrated into the dominant culture. What is happening in the USA is that the dominant culture--which was once defined as white only--is morphing, no longer white only. This is deeply threatening to those who still view the dominant culture as white only.

I don't have any respect for Condi Rice's performance as NSA or SoS--though she may be the best that Bushco has to offer (damning with faint praise)--but I respect her as a complex person who has had to make choices that I never faced, due to the privilege that comes from being born white.

ref : “raising her to compete in the dominant society

Ms. Rice is a negress chauvinist, n'est-ce pas ?

YouTube => She's Got A Ticket To Ride

if her ethnicity was white, her position vis -a- vis Dubya would be totally unacceptable, socially.

if her gender was male, her performance as an executive would be totally unacceptable, professionally.

I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States"

she rarely questions whether she is right or wrong, instead choosing to believe in a particular truth with absolute certainty until she doesn’t believe it anymore,

Wow. Wish I could do that.

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