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September 10, 2005

Laura: Just Say N.O.

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So, Laura didn’t know the name of the hurricane?

So Laura thinks the idea that race played a role in George’s foot dragging is “disgusting?”  (…Somehow, Florida voters seem to get pretty good Federal response when the winds start to blow.)

I’ve been tracking the Bush’s patronization of blacks for years (1, 2, 3).  It’s only now, though — against the Administration’s negligence in addressing Katrina — that we can more plainly see the photo ops and the compassion talk for how little it is.  What I find most interesting about these images of Laura Bush visiting hurricane survivors at the Cajundome is that they were taken by a White House photographer and posted on the White House web site.  Besides the one image where Laura is shaking hands, she comes off like the rich, white, out-of-touch alien that she is.  If these were the best images the White House could put together (characterized by passive resistance, hesitancy and awkwardness), I’d hate to see the worst.

These people are devastated, in shock and angry.  The have next-to-no personal space or control over that space.  Not only does Mrs. Bush randomly interject herself inside those boundaries, she further can’t seem to keep her hands off people.  (From my reading, it seems that almost every physical advance is uninvited.)

Whenever you see images of Mrs. Bush in public, she conveys the feeling of someone moving from spot to spot in service of the camera.  Because she and the President show little evidence of compassion or outreach beyond the incessant act of documenting the fact, these images look painfully like gestures when you would think unselfconscious support and solidarity would come a lot more easily.



(images: Krisanne Johnson/White House.  Sept. 2, 2005. Cajundome at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.  September 2, 2005. At whitehouse.gov)

  • jonst

    Laura Bush:
    “At a school in Mississippi, it was first lady Laura Bush defending the government’s response to Katrina. “I think we’ve seen a lot of the same footage over and over that isn’t necessarily representative of what really happened in both — in a lot of ways,” she said. “Overall, it was a very good response.”
    The bitch….and bitch she is, is using the Rummy “showing the same vase over and over again” spin

  • Chris

    Excellent post.

  • lytom

    Laura will be able to get out of the hell, and desperation, but the victims of Katrina will never be able to forget.
    The insincerity of hugs and touches of hands are obscene.
    The question is did bush’s “emissaries” covered all the holes? Is time going to cover the tracks of bush’s record?
    Iraq is now in the background and the bush’s occupation forces are assaulting and planning to assault more towns…More “Katrina” disasters that will not be visible and reported completely.
    The hunger strike on Guantanamo is going on, but that is conveniently not played out, especially the forceful feedings.
    Outside of the US, not only the Katrina victims, but also other victims of the US policy are being played out…The emperor is naked!

  • bob crane

    often i find some of your interpretations a bit ’stretching’. here, however, you hit it right on the nose and are poignantly obvious. babs’ recent foul comments (see http://movies.crooksandliars.com/bb.mp3) evoked the name of marie antoinette quite often around the blogs and here it applies to laura just as aptly (a bit oedipal – laura & babs are the same on the interior, babs just looks as foul and putrid on the exterior as she on the interior, laura on the other hand has that veneer of ’soccer mom’ which helps insulate her visually).
    i usually veer from wishing ill on someone but on oct 16, i’ll be smiling, imagining all that “greed and avarice spilling down” coming home to roost:
    “On the morning of October 16th, a guard arrived to cut her hair and bind her hands behind her back. She was forced into a common, slow-moving cart and paraded through the streets of Paris for over an hour before reaching the Place de la Révolution where the guillotine stood. She stepped lightly down from the cart and stared up at the guillotine.
    …..
    At 12:15 on Wednesday 16th October 1793, Marie Antoinette was executed. Her head was exhibited to a cheering crowd. Her body was then taken and dumped in an unmarked mass grave in the Rue d’Anjou.”
    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Antoinette

  • fotonique
  • Scott

    No, she’s as pasty white as the chickenhawks of the 101st Keyboard Platoon. Soccer moms actually get some sun. There is, however, a word for her veneer: Botox. And this Botox Mom’s face is about as genuine as her concern for non-billionaires. During the most recent inauguration, the radio stations played PSAs for Second Harvest where Laura here was saying please help feed those less fortunate, which was immediately followed by the wingnuts bragging about how wonderful this event was for lavishly decorating the event with a ridiculous amount of flowers and for giving away lobster and caviar to an elitist group of people who have probably never missed a meal in their life. They might try to put on the act that they are compassionate, but the reality is that its no more than a veneer.

  • Mad

    Great photos. Pretty amazing that these photos were posted on White House website. You would think that they would be trying to emphasize the compassion and caring of the Bush Family instead of the false concern of the Mistress of the House.
    Is it true then— there isn’t any real compassion in the Bush Household?
    Must be so. Most of the people are just ignoring Bush’s presence, and others sure don’t look too happy to meet her.
    Re Fashion: what’s with the white? Is Laura Bush there to heal the wounded? Or does white repel germs? Or what?

  • http://karenas.typepad.com/ karena

    Excellent post. As far as the white clothing goes, I am not sure what is up with that either. Condi is wearing a lot of white lately too. Someone has told the women to dress like nurses, I guess.

  • bg

    Most telling is that this is posted on the WH page, AS IF they see these as helping their cause. AS IF we don’t see through it. Like my cat thinking, “if I close my eyes, YOU can’t see me.”
    They do not see that most of these people are dis-interested in them and disgusted with them.
    I saw the top photo yesterday on the “internets” and immediately focused on the man behind her. He clearly had no interest in even noting her presence, or he noted it, and he intentionally blocked her out.
    White clothes? It is just hot, and these DC people are just breezing through. Also it is the symbology of purity.
    Pure BS.

  • http://crazydaisy.us Kerstin

    I have to think that if you kill someone at the age of 17, you probably never again can look anyone in the eye. I spent some time on Google images and found more examples of her in black classrooms doing exactly as you see here. Always looking off to the side with the same dazed and worried expression. And somehow the smile never quite hides the insecurity within. When I first saw her on TV wearing white, I thought it was an odd choice given the long and hot day of meeting and greeting ahead of her. Just how did she manage to stay pristine? Keeping her distance.

  • Quentin

    bq, the difference between your cat and Corinna Bush is that your cat does not pretend she’s not playing a game. Florina Bush has no idea what she’s doing and wore white to cover up her obscenities. Let Belinda Bush, Georgie Her Husband and the Twins camp out for just one night in such a shelter. We can all go and look at them, poke them, comment and photograph them the way we do the animals in the ZOO. Despicable, shameful, embarrassing are the only words for what is going in DC, NO, IRAQ and so many other places because of the Republicans and the Bush Robots. Maybe a picture of Bill Clinton with George Bush the Father would also be worth some comment.

  • http://cookiesinheaven.blogspot.com/ jillian

    It’s interesting that the only person Laura really touches is “white”.
    Any surprise.

  • profbacon

    I don’t understand why is is a popular first lady. Between Bill and Hillary it was rocky and stormy and facinating as hell. I don’t understand George and Laura’s relationship at all.

  • Dave McLane

    Having learned the basic facts-of-life from my father who was a professional photographer for all of his adult life (Acme 1935-1951, New York Daily News 1952-1973), I can understand how the pictures of Laura Bush could have happened somewhat accidentally in the heat of real-time news gathering.
    However, these photos were not real-time news gathering but gathered, selected and presumably cropped by the white house staff so I propose the unthinkable: In the eyes of the Bush administration these images represent what they think communicate their good points. Thus they are valuable as indicators of what constitutes “good” in their minds.
    In my mind, I contrast the above images with those of the Emperor and Empress of Japan when they visited the survivors of the Kobe earthquake of 1995. Considering that the Emperor was considered a god until the end of WWII, to see them kneel down to, shake people’s hands, and offer words of encouragement moved me to tears.

  • khanum

    Is the hair real?

  • Asta

    I just wanted to thank fotonique for the invaluable contributions/links. Amazing input, friend. You have made this site’s tapestry more interesting and intricate in its weave.

  • foehnjye

    White clothes, white house, first (white) lady, white (purity), white (christian), white (elite), white (thank-god-I’m-not-in-your-shoes)…
    I could go on.
    I have to tell you I’m a big fan of photo analysis, and I’m grateful for your site and analysis of these ongoing and tragic times.
    Having been a victim of another natural disaster, fortunately during Clinton’s FEMA, I understand how truly feeble are the attempts by Bush and Co. to use these recent days to try to “boost” their image, especially by sending out people like Laura who have no real concern, and serve only as an interruption to an already agonizing time for these people.
    Thanks for the photos and analysis…

  • http://www.coldbeer4thesoul.blogspot.com lawrence

    I doubt Karl Rove would think of this, wouldn’t it be compassionate conservatism if Laura brought a family back to the White House, until they got on their feet?
    Or more likely – -a sitcom on UPN

  • Angie

    “I don’t understand why she is a popular first lady.”
    Its because she and her husband and extended family have tons of friends who are republicans(not all repub.’s are) and other political parties. In these foto ops all they do is gather all their friends together and Poof – you’ve got a “genuine” foto op. Some genuine people who are sucked into what they are dishing out as truth, are the other half that like Laura Bush. I think that they are going to take over as many seats in the Gov. as possible, so that then they can make all the “laws” they want.
    Plus some of their cronies can be any nationality in any Country, in the World!! As soon as I seen the pictures I could deeply relate to them. They deem themselves as “superior”??? Wake up People, they are taking YOUR tax-payers money and thinking you are Nothing and living high off the hog with it. Letting babies die in the flood when Ms. Rice was buying $1000.00 SHOES!!! Is Just Tooooooo Unimaginable!!

  • lisaie

    Love the site and bookmarked it. : ) Thanks!
    Here is another angle of Laura in the school. Hey Laura, if there’s no racial issue, how come you’re sitting with the white kids, and ignoring the black kids behind you?
    Notice how she is leaning way into the white kids, looking right at them and smiling. As if to say, “Aren’t we so lucky we’re white?”
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/firstlady/

  • http://demiorator.blogspot.com/ Wordlackey

    It’s easy to see to see the symbolic value of wearing white. Alongside that, I have to suggest that it is an attempt to create a “compare and contrast” image. None of the folks in shelters are probably wearing white. If they are, I would be very surprised if it was clean. That’s the reinforcing sense of purity reaching out to the dirty refugees.
    I’m particularly impressed with your analysis of the body language of Laura Bush in these photos. It’s plainer than some other situations I’ve seen.

  • kimberly anne

    laura is nice…you guys are such mean bitches!

  • kimberly anne

    but you have good imaginations and sick minds to come up with this shit!!

  • Lulu

    Three years late, but I think that the little girl she’s hugging (and pulling towards her) is Hispanic.
    For what it’s worth.

  • *

    OK, I know this post is so old and, especially today (inauguration day for O’Bama) is not really relevant anymore but I just have to say, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!
    First, in the pictures where you say she won’t look the person in the eye that she is touching, or whose child she is touching, it seems very obvious to me that she is or was in conversation with the person she is looking at. Furthermore, the one where she is sitting with the two women- on the internet, at least, I can’t tell which woman she is looking at. It could be either.
    Second, in the picture with the “impressive gap”, perhaps she was already moving on and turned back to shake the lady’s hand once more before she left. Not to mention that she and the other woman reaching over the child, the yellow chair, and other items on the floor.
    Third, the picture where she is talking to the women on the floor- there are obviously blankets and other things all around. Not to mention the sleeping child. Should she have disturbed the sleeping little girl by crawling under the covers with them?
    Fourth, the photo of her hugging the little girl is just that- hugging a little girl who (I agree with a previous post) looks to me to be hispanic.
    Lastly, so what if she wore white! It was late summer/early fall in Louisiana and hot as heck, for goodnes sake! Do you honestly think she had an alterior motive to wearing a crisp, cool, cotton shirt with khaki pants on a hot day? Did you want her to dress in black to show solidarity with the African Americans? I guess if her white shirt is a slap in the face to the blacks, then what do her khaki pants represent? A hug for the hispanics? Oh, silly me, I guess it does- see “Fourth” point above.
    What this looks like to me is poor photography and nothing else. Well not “nothing” else- poor photography, as well as a bunch of people trying to turn something harmless and innocent into something completely racial. Give me a break! If you want to place blame for the Katrina situation, how about throwing a little the way of Mayor Nagin??? What do you have to say about him??? Did your “brother” do his best to help the people of his city??? Had he been really thinking about the safety of the people of his city and really doing his job, the disaster that was Katrina wouldn’t have been nearly as horrible. But, let’s not say anything against the black mayor, lest I be accused of being racist!

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