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September 16, 2005

Bush’s N.O. Restart — A Visual Report Card

(Bloggers Note:  Before anybody gets crazy on me, I’m just having a little fun here.  It’s Friday. …And, consider the material I have to work with!)


I’ve been throwing so much analysis at you this week, I thought it was time for the visuals to do more of the talking.  (Of course, if you have different ideas about the grading, you know I’ve always considered the BAG a communal effort.)

Unless you left the planet, you know that last night marked the official restart of the Bush/Rove “I’ve Got It Right This Time” New Orleans Recovery Campaign.  And how about that backdrop for Dubya’s speech!  You’ve gotta love the pastels, the green/blue combination, that outdoor lighting (someone’s got the power back on) — and who ever thought about accessorizing with a building.  Calling Robin Givhan!

I don’t know Jackson Square so I can’t comment on the symbolic significance of the statue, but hey, do you think the White House knows either? Overall, I was going to give it an “A.”  But that was before I heard from Aron, one of my readers, who pointed out that the clock stayed stuck at 6:40 during Bush’s entire infomercial.  Someone find out who got the no-bid contract for the time piece!


Here’s Bush getting off the plane.  Love that Presidential seal.  Somehow, it works better here than it did on Bush’s jacket during his fly-over a couple weeks back.  Finally, a guy ready for the hard work!


And this you’ve got to love.  It’s the political version of make-up sex with Democratic Governor Blanco.  After seeing such an intense example of bipartisanship, I guess the only question is: when does he add her to the rolodex?

(image 1: Videoclip. Bush: ‘Great City Will Rise Again.’  September 16, 2005.  image 2: REUTERS/Larry Downing.  Mississippi, September 15, 2005. At YahooNews. image 3:  REUTERS/Larry Downing.  USS Iwo Jima. September 15, 2005. At YahooNews.)

  • Kerstin
  • Phredd

    I’m afraid I’d give the visuals an D-. Yes the colors are nice.
    But to hear this faux-Southern Republican carpetbagger talking about “reconstruction” and vowing that the devastated area will “rise again”, even without visuals, makes me shudder, especially after Katrina stripped away the faux civility of the Right to expose the most hideous racism I’ve heard in the past forty years: Goldberg, Brooks, Tierney, Blitzer, and of course the usual suspects Hannity, Matthews, Limbaugh, O’Reilly egging it on.
    Add to that the visuals: antebellum structure with a clock (time) that is stopped, the ghostly statue reminding one of the pre-pickup truck days of the Klan, palmetto trees reminescent of Charleston, SC and the onset of the Civil War.
    And Karl Rove in charge of Reconstruction.

  • PTate in Mn

    Okay, Kerstin, the Ron Popeil image is hysterical. You’ve made my day. Thanks!
    What strikes me about the image is all the light blue. Light blue, of course, is the color of trust and induces positive mood. The campaign to rehabilitate GWB’s reputation is well under way! The saturated color in these pictures is communicating: “Trust me! Be happy! Trust me! Be Happy! Trust me!”
    In the picture with Gov Blanco, Bush is in absolute control of the handshake–look how he is leaning in and how he has gripped her hand. Is this man in charge or what?
    Why don’t I feel any safer??

  • Youngfox

    Wow, the contrived colour matching just screams out,
    “I am one with New Orleans”
    They should hand out Gravol for the nauseating spin.

  • Kevin

    So … did he mis-button his shirt, or not?

  • Judith Gran

    In the first photo, Bush is awkward, uncomfortable, his head thrust forward, looking simian and deer-in-the-headlights at the same time. The deserted setting is almost bizarre. Why speak about bringing aid to a million people when there is no one there? One is reminded that Bush still cannot take the risk, politically, of an encounter with the real-life New Orleanians who’ve been affected by the disaster.
    And how strange it is that Bush’s shirt is buttoned incorrectly, with one button left undone on the right side of his shirt and two buttonholes left undone on the left side. After the stories of the last week, one wonders if Bush’s aides were afraid to tell him of the gaffe and risk his wrath.
    In the third photo, I agree that Bush is attempting the political version of make-up sex. But from Blanco’s body language, I think the sex is unwanted. While Bush is leaning into Blanco’s space, she is not reciprocating. Instead of leaning forward, she is ramrod-straight, her chin tucked in self-protectively. Her arm, and the hand that Bush is shaking, is drawn across her body in a further gesture of self-protection. The scene reminds me of an immature high school boy trying to put the make on an unenthusiastic young lady. Ew. Yuck.

  • Kevin

    Plus I wonder … how many location scout$ were involved in finding that location, setting it up, figuring out how many generators it would take to light up the building appropriately with blue lights, and pull in that palm tree just to Bush’s left.
    Magnificent stage setting. Maybe Condi was in NYC recruiting the stage designer from Spamalot.
    It did seem like Bush had spent a few hours memorizing the stupid speech, for a change. Or maybe they’ve figured out how to do brain implants for such things now.

  • Liberty

    I keep thinking that Bushco will turn things around, spin it so it looks good, and somehow they keep dropping the ball. When I first saw the setting for this speech, I thought… “You have GOT to be kidding me!” NoLa is a complete and utter disaster zone where horrifying levels of poverty have been exposed, and what does Bushie do? He chooses the one place in the city reeking of affluence and priviledge, the place that appears to be utterly untouched by the storm, to look crisp and clean and tell us how hard he’s working.
    I just feel like Karl is dropping the ball on this one.
    Then again I heard someone say “Since when is Bush such a bad president,” about the Kanye West thing… the levels of ignorance in this country are truly astonishing.

  • nadine

    the statue behind Bush is of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Jackson merged his ‘american’ forces with the french, spanish, creole, black and other flavorsof new orleanian to create an army cohesive enough to defeat a much larger and better equipped british force. Bush is trying to link himself as the new hero for the new battle of new orleans, though i don’t think Bush gets that cohesion thing though. the colors are funny; its almost as if they initially thought to use CARNIVAL colors (purple, gold and green) and then somebody clued in that it would be, uh, a little frivolous in light of the disaster so they stuck with just the PURPLE scheme. It also reminds me of the glow one sees driving in the suburbs of darkened houses illuminated only by tv sets. Trust your tv folks…i AM the hero here…you are getting sleepy and soon you will be flapping your arms and pretending you are a chicken…

  • porsillo

    I am just really curious about what happened to Bush’s head? Does anyone else see how big his head is for his shoulders? It is especially apparent in the still but even the video shows it to some extent.
    The whole setting looks like one of those amusement park photo things where you can poke your head into a hole cut into a cardboard scene and appear to be a body-builder or something.

  • lemondloulou54

    I would like to see the long shot of Bush that we got to see last night just before he settled in to talk. We can see the presidential seal on the podium. Bush looks incredibly funny with the big podium in front and the big statue and church behind. I wish the camera had stayed on him like that all night, revealing him for the pea brain that he is.

  • KG

    What is up with Bush and the backgrounds? Look at this site, this guy has Bush behind backgrounds – like he is trying to sell something!

  • Kevin

    I think Bush’s head looks bigger because it’s all in warm colors. The entire background, the black night sky, his blue shirt, the green plants, are all cool colors. Warm colors advance, cool colors recede. Thus, his head looks … well … as stupid as it is, bigger than ever, advancing toward you, and totally out of place.

  • aidee

    Please keep the visual analysis coming thick and fast. A fantastic contribution to understanding the political spin within visual communication.

  • Mark

    I only caught small clips of the speech but, what I did see a B+ is awfully kind. I don’t disagree with the use of color and setting to create a feeling as mentioned but, Bush seemed very odd. Like he was somehow mechanical under that shirt. His head seemed to be set upon the rest of him…wait, no…set upon the body of something else or someone else.
    He looked weak and lost. Which suprised me. Usually his handlers are very good at making him look much better.

  • Sue Moe

    Hey over at the Daily Kos someone noticed that his shirt is buttoned wrong. Did he do that himself?

  • jessica

    I too thought he was at Disneyland when I saw clip of it last night and thought something else fitting… when Saturday Night Live taped it’s only live show outside of New York it was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and the opening of the show was with Dan Ackroid (sp?) sitting atop that statue in that square. Maybe Bush should have said… Live from New Orleans it’s Thursday Night.

  • Mo

    A carefully staged set, creating a sober mood, framing the serious work ahead. A stage set lit just long enough for Bush’s speech, according to Brian Williams blog that’s Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News, which reads:
    “I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It’s enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it… jump to certain conclusions.”

  • willdoo

    Andrew Jackson was also responsible for the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Southeastern tribes from their supposed treaty-protected homelands.
    I think the blue shirt on blue background was a major production design/wardrobe blunder, as previously noted, making his head appear to float disembodied. Could the fine-tuned PR machine be finally slipping gears?

  • Cindy4Pres

    The shirt is a disaister and the buttons are wrong! he screwed that one from the bottom up, not just the last few buttons, I just did it myself to reassure myself it wasn’t just a bad blurry pic.
    Oh god the man’s a maggot…

  • iamcoyote

    I was going to say what Mo said, the lights went out an hour after bush left. Also, no one mentions the cross that floats above his head on the left. It’s on the steeple, very faint in the photo, but brighter in the video. I think the clock is significant in a couple ways: time stopped for many NO citizens; Bush didn’t send relief in a timely fashion to save lives; Bush lives in a bizarro world where he’s out of step with everyone else… I like the tv in darkened living rooms image, also. I watched the speech on our spanish cable channel (I don’t speak it) and it was much more lively, but his mouth is in a perpetual frown, even his smirk didn’t move much with the words he was saying. He looked very drugged.

  • JamieQ

    Yes It looked like he was talking from Disneyland and that his mommy let him button his shirt himself!
    The manner in which he spoke – reading a teleprompter, shows they will not let him speak on his own, he has no idea what he is saying until he says it – it may not kick in even then. He is not a leader, or a good reader.

  • Brian C.B.
    Hey, Mr. Bagnews Guy, I found the bookend to that “Walking forthrightly down the gangplank next to the Presidential Seal.”

  • dancinfool

    The statue of Andrew Jackson can also have an unintentional recollection of Jackson being the president who finished off the Cherokee tribe by marching them on the Trail of Tears. It is something that perhaps Bush’s handlers wouldn’t want to remind us of since I expect that the George Bush Trail of Fears will end in a forced relocation of the many poor black New Orleanians to a government reservation (read: unoccupied military bases.)

  • dancinfool

    Hmmm…. big head or shrinking shoulders due to his increasingly badly slumped posture?

  • jillian

    Looks like Andrew Jackson’s horse is going to plant some hooves in his head.
    Brownie the Arabian Horse Man’s subtle revenge? ;-)

  • King of Pants

    Re: Brian C.B.’s sweaty photo:
    Could one man look more defeated, more swallowed up by his own surroundings?

  • Blithedale

    I believe there is an exact replica of that 1842 Jackson statue in Lafayette Park, near the White House.
    More on Jackson and unintentional symbolism:
    The statue commemorates Jackson as hero of the Battle of New Orleans — fought two weeks after the ware was over. (The treaty which ended the War of 1812 had been signed two weeks earlier.)
    The United States government had been reluctant to send military support to protect the “western” lands (Tennessee and Kentucky), so Jackson paid for the Tennessee militia out of his own funds.
    Jackson won the most number of votes in his first Presidential election and the most electoral votes, but because it wasn’t a majority in the electoral college (4 way race) the race was decided by the House of Representatives and handed to John Quincy Adams — the only other son of a President to occupy the White House.

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  • Robert Peterson

    I posted a comment on Daily Kos earlier pointing out the similarity between Bush and “Pat” from Saturday Night Live – big mistake on their part.

  • digginthislife

    Oh, george is tryin to weasel his way into the color blue as in “blue states/red states” Tryin to get folks to see that he is right for everybody whatever your political persuasion may be. He’s in a “blue ” city and just dressin the part. Doesn’t he look bewildered? He can’t believe he actually has to speak to the nation and convey a sense that he cares. But it will get more comfortable for him as Rove explains that all that help and reconstruction down south will be done by his cronies and require continued tax and spending cuts. The man is smarmy and false and all his photos go past the image and reveal the man for what he is. He can’t help it and the camera doesn’t lie.

  • nitro

    Blanco’s outfit is interesting….she’s seems to have walked straight out of the…murky waters to meet clean George. Bet ya he’s got a dry cleaner in tow…we’ll know very soon what the deal is to keep her clean…Georgie takes the blame, you take the game.

  • pragmatic_realist

    The whole scene was of an unearthly wierd quality, starting with the blue color cast on everything, as if he were underwater. And I kept staring at his shirt, wondering how he got his collar so strangely pulled up.
    But the strangest part was the silence. He has gone a thousand miles, spent all that jet fuel and instead of speaking to actual people, to present a real message to them, he has gone to an empty town square to read a speech he could have given in the Oval Office.
    Except that he is even afraid of the Oval Office as a place in which to give a speech to the nation.
    And maybe he remembers giving the speech in the room full of soldiers who sat in stone silence.
    I kept wondering, ‘Why is he there? What purpose does it serve to be there except to use a church as a stage prop?’
    ‘Why has he wasted his time and the nation’s resources to travel to this place and accomplish nothing real, not to speak to or inspire anyone real?’
    It is as though he is strangely shrinking and disintegrating before our eyes.

  • black dog barking

    An awful lot of work went into staging this speech, complicated by the demands and deprivations of working in a disaster area. The media is shirking its duty to tell the whole story by not showing us the stagecraft as well.
    And while they’re at it they should be naming the people responsible for the lighting, etc. These services are being paid by the taxpayer, recognition is due. Don’t forget, some top managers of FEMA came from straight from the ranks of campaign advance teams.

  • Basharov

    I thought it was kind of strange for him to tell us “You are not alone” while he was standing alone in an empty square with not another sign of a human being in sight. He looked even more alone as he walked up the ladder to AF1 with a huge sweatspot on his back. Did anyone else notice that the sweatspot looked like the Virgin Mary? Halleluyah, it’s a mirkle!

  • Warren Cucarulo

    I was a baby but wasn’t there something about Nixon loosing the first televised debate because his suit blended in with the background? Was that what w was trying to do – just blend in with the background like a camelon or a stealthy predator?
    I love this site.

  • donna

    Bush always seems to be staged or idiotic. This performance was staged, obviously. We never see him as an actual person, only a performer. It always strikes me as strange that he has no real persona.
    The speech? All talk, no action. A year from now, they’ll be looting NOLA real estate while the displaced people will be living in FEMA towns.

  • Tracy

    About That Backdrop
    From Bush’s lonely walk to the podium, to the cathedral over his shoulder lit up like Disneyland, to his wooden delivery before an audience of none, there was something particularly off key about all the White House stagecraft imported into the ghostly center of a still half-drowned town.
    And it was, indeed, literally imported. The New York Times’s Elisabeth Bumiller, acting as pool reporter, informed colleagues yesterday that all the lights and generators needed to create the desired effect were flown in by the White House.
    Reporters were not allowed out of their vans while the president spoke, but they demanded a quick tour of the area beforehand.
    “Bobby DeServi and Scott Sforza were on hand as we drove up about 8 p.m. or so EDT handling last-minute details of the stagecraft,” Bumiller wrote. DeServi is the White House’s chief lighting designer; Sforza is in charge of visuals.
    “Bush will be lit with warm tungsten lighting, but the statue [of Andrew Jackson] and cathedral will be illuminated with much brighter, brighter lights . . . like the candlepower that DeServi and Sforza used on Sept. 11, 2002, to light up the Statue of Liberty for Bush’s speech in New York Harbor,” she wrote.
    “Here’s a quote from DeServi on the lit-up cathedral: ‘Oh, it’s heated up. It’s going to print loud.’ ”
    TV critic Joanna Weiss writes in the Boston Globe: “Last night, he stood in New Orleans’s Jackson Square, wearing blue shirtsleeves that blended almost perfectly into the blue-lit statue and cathedral behind him. His head looked disembodied. His mouth struggled to maintain a frown.
    “The White House is scrambling, and the images prove it. . . .
    “Appearing in New Orleans was surely meant as a gesture of confidence — especially since Bush spoke from the relatively unscathed heart of the French Quarter, as opposed to one of the storm-ravaged neighborhoods we’ve seen so much. But the eerie stillness around him spoke volumes.”
    TV critic Paul Brownfield writes for the Los Angeles Times: “The set piece was in sharp contrast to the backdrop that TV reporters and anchors have been using in the last few weeks, their dispatches filed from the edge of floodwaters and ruined homes, from shelters where lives had been turned upside down. . . .
    “So the spooky placidity of Jackson Square, on what conveyed an otherwise peaceful evening in New Orleans, seemed an oddly appropriate choice for a president who throughout this crisis has been unable to halt the image of a leader who has been neither here nor there. . . .
    “Bush, you thought, could have given this speech from the Oval Office, but he came to stake his own version of being there. And he chose the only kind of postcard left on the racks — the impossibly serene one.”

  • Asta

    I just figured out why Bush looks so odd in his shirt…he missed a button hole. His left collar is all scrunched up and pulling tightly across his neck. (Michael, show us a close-up!)
    Jeebus, the man can’t even button a shirt.

  • Casey

    I felt the photo with Blanco was worse than makeup sex. It was more like rape. His stance is very agressive and she very intimidated. It communicated to me his putting her in her place. A sort of visual “behave now or we will have you taken care of.”
    There is no kissing up there. Simply agression.

  • PTate in MN

    pragmatic realist:I kept wondering, ‘Why is he there? What purpose does it serve to be there except to use a church as a stage prop?’
    Wow, nice insight. Of course, he wanted to use a CHURCH as his stage prop. Anything to feed his base.
    Casey:“His stance is very agressive and she very intimidated.”
    In August, Bag put up a picture of Cindy Sheehan and her family meeting with Bush after her son’s death. He gave her a kiss that looks very much like this. He had control of her arm and dragged her in for the smooch. It was icky.

  • Xan

    So the consensus is that the shirt is definitely mis-buttoned? I honestly can’t tell if it’s just an odd fold on the right in that particular shot that makes it look like the left side is up way higher, or not.

  • fotonique

    The POTUS addresses NOLA evacuees, the country, and the world from a devastated American city, apparently one on the road to recovery. This is television: why wouldn’t things be managed to put them in the best possible light? Do you want citizens to (eventually) come back, or not?
    Stage Craft: not much difference, really. Both use a completely controlled indoor visual environment to build appeal (ever wonder why most large stores have few, if any windows?). Sometimes it sells, sometimes it doesn’t even make it onto the shelf.
    Considering this is a location shoot on short notice (and BYOP), I’d notch BAG’s B+ up to an A. However, there’s no big packaging news here.

  • Sarah B.

    Bush stars in a remake of Night of the Living Dead
    The camera opens on a city square or plaza vaguely reminiscent of a colonial Spanish or Caribbean city. But instead of a brilliant full moon, this nocturnal scene is illuminated by the ferocious intensity of cold blue-white artificial lights like those used for outdoor football matches.
    In the middle distance an imposing equestrian statue featuring a generic hero constraining a rampant stallion commemorates a historic battle, while in the background a looming ancient cathedral becomes pale-fluorescent blue in the steady and relentless chill of the bright artificial lights.
    In the foreground a podium rises up from the earth to compete with a native palm whose fronds tremble as the wind races across the empty and deserted square. The podium bears a seal of authority that reminds us of the aristocracy who built the plaza, and the military that protects it, while the immense cathedral dominates and completes the mise-en-scène.
    Suddenly, like a ghostly spectre, Bush appears out of nowhere moving across the screen from left to right in black trousers, secured by a tasteful western-style black leather belt with engraved sterling-silver buckle, and wearing a pricey pale-blue pinpoint oxford-cloth shirt with sleeves rolled up. Dressed like a wealthy tourist on holiday, Bush is not wearing a tie.
    Bush marches with all the robotic determination of a toy soldier, arms held in rigid arcs away from his body, as he moves forward mechanically to assume his place behind the podium. As his tense shoulders contract upward into a hunched posture, Bush’s neck seems to disappear into the collar of his shirt.
    As the camera moves in closer, we can see that Bush’s shirt appears to have been buttoned incorrectly, perhaps in haste, and his heavy tan make-up, chosen perhaps to give him a robust and masculine appearance, radiates an unnatural orange glow that, when suffused with the fierce blue-white lights, tinges his complexion with the toxic-green pallor of the undead.
    With glazed eyes, Bush stares zombie-like into the camera and launches into his scripted speech while the glow of the blue cathedral looms up behind him, intent upon hiding its secrets behind locked doors and sealed windows. The church clock remains stopped at 6:40 as if marking some terrible event long forgotten but frozen in time.
    Bush appears dead and frozen in the company of the lively-bronze hero on his frisky stallion as they cavort to celebrate the triumph of battle, and their combined vitality mocks the stiff and isolated president as he carries on with his uncomfortable task.
    As Bush’s speech drones on, the intense and unforgiving particles of blue-white light seem to conflate the pale icy-blue of his fine cotton shirt with the matching blue cathedral and the statue’s marble pedestal to create a contrived and uneasy connection between church and state.
    Bush races through his scripted text in an effort to beat the stopped clock, perhaps straining to hasten the moment when he can exit this strange and eerie and surreal nightmare of his own creation and return to the world of comfort from whence he came.
    Indeed, this elegant colonial plaza with its ancient monuments is not welcoming to Bush– even the native palm is not friendly and remains aloof and distant. At any moment a group of determined flesh-eating zombies could emerge from out of the darkness to pounce on Bush and devour him and his voodoo economics.
    Bush came to New Orleans to exploit the city’s elegant and beautiful Jackson Square and its historic monuments, St. Louis Cathedral first built early in the 18th century and rebuilt in the mid-19th century, and the bold equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson. But Bush is no match for the power of this old and venerable city, which — even in this time of great sorrow — has its way with him.
    The city’s majesty monuments and historic significance rise up to overwhelm Bush and dwarf him in their presence. The crescent city, famous for it longevity and cultural diversity and commerce and beauty and warmth and hospitality and music and romance and spicy-cuisine and magic and fleshly-delights and intoxication and voodoo, plays tricks on the priggish Bush and mocks him before finally devouring him for bringing his voodoo economics to New Orleans.
    Finally, Bush departs from the elegant crescent city a much smaller man than when he arrived, and it is the city itself that announced its own survival and rebirth and renaissance — with or without the feeble assistance of this posturing little president.
    Be careful, Mr. President. Be very aware that even symbolic buildings and historic monuments resent being exploited as cheap stage props, and they are — just like people — capable of generating blowback!
    Final Grade: A Gentleman’s C.

  • Asta

    I love the way Sarah B paints words together. She’s an artist. No sarcasm here, just pure admiration.

  • Sarah B.

    Bush in Night of the Living Dead — the Outtake
    Eager to depart from New Orleans following his speech, Bush boards Air Force One a beaten and defeated man. He is sweating profusely from 23 minutes of what he would call “hard work!” Sweating like a pig, Bush slowly ascends to the cabin, counting every step until he can enter the safe cocoon of his cloistered presidential aircraft.
    Bush suddenly realizes that it is way past his bedtime, and with the entire back of his shirt completely soaked through with sweat, he will probably need a shower before slipping into his pajamas and curling up with his favorite feather pillow on the lonely flight back to Washington. He wonders if Karl has his Ipod and his Play-station in case there is a lot of turbulence — he really hates a bumpy ride — it’s scary!
    The people of New Orleans once again find themselves plunged back into darkness now that the president’s artificial lights and stage equipment have gone; still, they harbor no ill-will and are very happy to see the president leave the city aboard Air Force One. A few people even order another round of drinks in the one or two bars that remain open and hospitable by virtue of candlelight and power generators.;_ylt=At6781kVkuNO5dDHRhDoU4_mWMcF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5bGcyMWMzBHNlYwNzc25hdg–?sp=-1&lsp=6000
    Bon voyage, Mr. President!

  • strawhat

    That’s not just any church — it’s the Roman Catholic cathedral of the archdiocese of New Orleans, which was established as a parish church in 1720 (the parish was part of the territory of the bishop of Quebec, how about that?). The current building was dedicated in 1851.
    So W’s using a historic Roman Catholic cathedral as his photogenic backdrop. That’s not going to appeal to his base — his fundamentalist backers hate the Catholic church with all their hearts.
    I think his people were just looking for a picture-postcard view and didn’t think beyond that.

  • Tracy

    What Asta said. Get thee to a blogery, Sarah B.

  • b real

    the blue lighting evokes a soothing, calming effect on the psyche of the viewer. it dissipates the potential/probable anger that the viewer holds toward the (weak) actor playing the role of president. also, evocations of disney’s magic kingdom act to bring out the child state w/i the viewer, further aiding the intended parent-child dynamic. on another level, the disney allusion immediately brings to mind the mythology of the american way of life, reassuring the viewer that our exceptionalism, under strong leaders, will eventually trump any immediate problems in the end.
    the statue can be interpreted several ways. one, the calvary/knight is coming (from the right) to save the day. two, the land-grabbing, slaveholding colonial elite are charging in. three, the south is rising, victorious.

  • Sarah B.

    Asta and Tracy
    Thanks so much! ;-)

  • Kerstin

    Wow, Sarah B., you go girl! Definitely get yourself to a bloggery!
    Next time, to add punch to your final line — Bon Voyage! — use a text link as described here.
    Voila! — your words light up nicely and you avoid all the link gobbledeygook.
    Let us know when your blog is up and running!

  • Mad

    Well done, Sarah B.
    Night of the Living Dead, with voodoo economics. Zombies and nightmares. Very well describes the State of Bush.

  • SteinL

    Bush blew it in NO, and I don’t get the B+ – things should be seen in context.
    The WH brought in generators to light the set – that’s why the clock is stuck, they forgot to run a cable up to the tower and have it hooked in. (Rove losing his grip?).
    But the image that will linger is this one:–
    Bush is a just below C for the day, I should think.

  • rie

    The thing with his head bugged me too, Then I realized his shirt looked funny, and it occured to me that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
    Maybe he got so excited about it that he buttoned his shirt wrong.

  • Molly

    I don’t think he buttoned his shirt wrong; I think he just has a short neck.

  • Dave

    Thanks Brian C.B.,
    The Bush flopsweat retreat back into AF1 in the shot is indeed a good bookend to the all-hail-the-chief arrival.

  • Jed

    I notice the links to the sweat-soak photo have gone dead, but have no fear, it’s been captured here:
    Mmmmm, schweaty prez.

  • mcarp

    The flopsweat picture is amazing. It’s not just the perspiration. It’s the exhausted budy posture and the way the huge seal on the plane now seems to overwhelm Bush with its size and presence.

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