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August 2, 2005

Your Turn: Getting Framed

Robertscornyn

Monaroberts300

One reason I’ve been working the Roberts images so hard is because I’m fascinated by the rise of relatively unknown or “undefined” political figures. 

Bush basically came out of nowhere, and was a blank slate before he was elected.  (If you remember, people were still trying to decide which ideological direction he might bank right up to his election in 2000.)  Frist is also a figure who had little elected experience before he was swapped in for Lott — and now he’s being touted as a presidential candidate. 

Have we always had political Chauncey Gardiners (or Stepford Men or Manchurian Candidates) to endure, or are they now proliferating?  If we have more, what’s the reason?  Is it simply a trend toward more non-professional politicians?  Or, is there a growing tendency for powerful corporate, ideological and religious interests to pull (puppet) strings?

Does this first image say anything about these “manufactured” men?  What do you make of the multiple frames and reflections?  And, how seriously would you object if I argued that the big frame right behind Roberts wasn’t a mirror?  In the second image, is the magazine really challenging the Roberts enigma, or just smoothing it over? 

(Caption: Judge John G. Roberts, never alone, in the office of Senator John Cornyn on Monday as he continued to meet with legislators.)

(For larger version, see article here.)

(image: Carol T. Powers for The New York Times. July 26, 2005 at nyt.com. illustration: F. Harper.  Cover. August 5, 2005.  The Week Magazine)

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