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Jan 01, 2008

Your Turn: Displaying An Edge


I keep thinking Huck is going to either self-destruct, or become widely recognized as crazy, by the end of January.  But who knows?  In the meantime, he's proving effective in drawing attention to himself, and stringing together one curious photo op after another.

Here's the shot he offered up yesterday.  (The first is from the NYT, the second from Reuters).  The former, by the way, appears in the Times article in which Mike announces he was going positive, then shows the anti-Romney ad he was pulling, just for good measure.

Any thought on where he's going with this scene, angle, etc?  (By the way, lurkers and first timers are especially invited to jump in.)

Huckabee Shows Negative Spot After Pulling It From Television (NYT)
Huckabee's Media Savvy (HuffPo/Eat The Press)

(image 1: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.  image 2: Andy Clark/Reuters.  Des Moines, Iowa December 31, 2007.  via YahooNews)


Huck's not going to go far with that man-in-the-street stuff. It worked for Bush because it was a break with tradition. But his aw-shucks manner has become a tradition in itself. Bush was the guy you could have a beer with. And what a friggin' disaster that turned out to be.

My guess is that Huck is the novelty candidate, the anti-Clinton. He's being taken seriously because he's Gomer Pyle running for president and winning. Once the negatives start building up he'll sink like a stone.

The angle of these shots is unusual and almost suggests martyrdom. He may very well be offering himself up as a sacrifice in the political scheme?

Real Men shaves their own damn selves!

Tend to make me think about the barber shops of the old south where local politicians/sheriffs would get together and talk about lynchings.

different subject, but nice photo. Sorry, I couldn't find an email address to send it to........

With Sweeney Todd out right now, seeing a man in a barber chair with a straight razor at his throat makes me expect, in the words of one review, "great arterial spurting" and imminent demise.

It's a great image for the Huckabee campaign. Try to picture any other candidate in that chair. It reaches out to the Republican base without leaving a mark. Being groomed by another is a display of social rank; by picking such an out-of-date ritual he has apparently scuttled easy criticism.

Photos have never been my expertise, so I'm normally one of your lurkers. Love the site, however.
This time, I've got to pipe up. I think Huckabee is appealing to America's nostalgia for simpler times: Rather than a high priced stylist at a fancy salon, he goes to the barber. He trusts the barber with a straight razor to shave him, implying that he trusts the voters to do right by him. The angle makes him appear vulnerable and even helpless, perhaps as he'd like us to identify him as being before God. He's appealing to a time that barely existed when it did exist, but that has been burned into our consciousness as Americans as the good old days.
He's very slick.

The users mentioning both matrydom and social status are on the mark. Also, I think this coincides nicely with the recent high criticism revolving around Huckabee. The candidate, literally under the knife as it is, can still take the pressure, or at least wants to project that. The photo's visual connotation of matrydom fits in nicely as he rebuffs the knife. No spewing arterial blood.

What everybody else said, plus:

"Look how calm and strong I am with a knife at my throat. Calm and fearless in a dangerous world." The Republican base lives and breathes "dangerous world," and markets fear with every utterance. And here's a fearless guy who wants to be President.

While Oliviacw beat me to the Sweeney Todd reference, my initial impression was "mortuary".

Just curious, not being a man myself - how common is it anymore for men to have a barber shave them? Every man I know shaves himself daily at home, rather than having a barber do it.

So the level of "staged-ness" here seems to me to be amped up beyond plausibility.

Bush was the guy you could have a beer with.

I have to comment about this, even though it's OT - I am constantly amazed by the tenacity of this myth, and the absolute lack of irony when this phrase is uttered by the media in reference to George Bush. You couldn't possibly "have a beer" with him, because he (supposedly) no longer drinks. But when he did, by all accounts I've seen, he was a mean drunk. "Having a beer with" George Bush would not be a pleasant experience. We are truly gullible if we allow ourselves to be spun on this kind of thing again.

In that same batch of shaving pictures on Yahoo there was a shot of Huckabee getting his cowboy boots shined by a black guy.
Talk about kissing off a large percentage of voters...
Of course, Huckabee is a Republican. I hope he made the shoe shiner show his voter's ID before bending down at his feet.

Huck's version of Kabuki

What century is this? Who gets a shave this way anymore?

I think he's trying to craft an old-fashioned image to stir up nostalgia of the good ol' days. I agree with the other commenters that it conjures up a morbid Sweeney Todd scene. Rather than looking strong and manly, he looks like a vulnerable victim.

Who thought of this photo-op? His handlers are not paying attention. They didn't inform him of the NIE, and he looked like an idiot. Now this. They obviously have no sense of what is going on in the culture.

The buttoned-down barber looks like George Will a bit; a member of the Republican establishment who would like to slit Huck's throat before he drags down the party to inevitable defeat.

Norman Rockwell, redux.

Rockwell made a living painting pictures of what everybody reminisced about, that never actually existed. Perfect scenario for a candidate for president of a country that no longer exists.

These images have death all over them.. not only is there a knife at his throat, but it looks like he's in a body bag.

What a crazy combination of "old american west" and "new world terror".

I have a very hard time seeing how this could help him, or really, how it would hurt him either. I just find it bizarre.

Well, I must say when I told Mike on the street one day who I was, he knew who I was. I built a rapport with his campaign staff (which was located downstairs from my shop) He said to me "When can you cut my hair?" I gave most of the guys on his campaign staff face shaves before the Iowa caucuses and he knew that. "I would like to have that done" he also said. A straight razor shave in a Barbershop is nostalgic, it's not practical. I take pride in providing a relaxing experience in my shop. I also take pride in the history of Barbering. Shaving is what sets Barbers apart from stylists and cosmetologists. Finding a Barber that does shaves is not easy to find. Mike Huckabees campaign was not run with millions of dollars, therefore every moment and exposure is critical. Mike had back to back press conferences that day and the story of the Huckabee Haircut ran on that night's 5, 6, and 10 Local news The story was also carried by all the major news outlets from the U.S. and several from Japan, Germany, and the U.K. all that (and more) for the price of a shave and haircut. A classic Huckabee administration move. It was new, different, and unexplainable. It was not staged or coached it was live and unrehearsed. It's and experience that I'm grateful for and will never forget.

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