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January 16, 2006

GWB/MLK Day

Bush-On-Mlk-Day

(click image for full White House size)

I love the audacity

I love the ABC headline: Bush Says King’s ‘Dream’ Not Yet Completed

I love the presence of that third icon, the Stars and Stripes

I love the emotion in Bush’s eyes

I love the look toward (Martin in?) heaven

I love that the eyes are softer, but the tone gets sharper around King’s mouth

I love Bush’s choice of the blue tie

I love the contrast when it comes to engagement

I love that — like an asterisk — the White House photographer couldn’t quite capture Bush and King alone

(image: Eric Draper/White House.  January 16, 2006.  Washington .  whitehouse.gov) 

  • kent

    g’s stretched neck toward mlkjr looks like a baby bird reaching up for a warm meal of vomit from the mother bird’s beak.
    helpless little dodo
    needs a meal, a pat, a burp
    then a nap

  • Cactus

    They have no shame.

  • michel

    The comments so far….hmm. King is made to look like a figure from 1984; Bush like a small, vulnerable, marginalized figure who carries on in the concrete, real world that King left for heroic status. The photo does what it sets out to do–reintegrate a social movement into a political one. The one thing that the photo does not provide is an exchange of glances, a real looking into another’s soul.
    A Jewish lawyer once said something like this at a trial of a black man in Chicago: “the State’s Attorney cannot tell us WHY this man committed these crimes.” And why is important. Why is a matter of life and death.
    Why did King stand and do what he stood for and did?
    And not only why. But also how?
    Not by being as big as a poster. But by being as vulnerable and evanescent as a breeze, as any of us. It is the lack of real human contact, which King tried to address, that must be used to criticize this photo. It is the lack of authentic vulnerability that characterizes its main flaw.
    Why did King act? Because he wanted people to see him as a human. Because he wanted to see them as human.
    How did he act? By making himself available. By sitting at a lunch counter. By going to jail. By weeping over the deaths of little girls. By letting the evil of the world tear its heart out across his chest, into his chest, oh god, through his chest.
    King acted with the love that is self-evident. One should not even have a poster of King. He would not want to be an icon. He would want love to spread like a garment, like an antibiotic, like a cloud.
    May the Lord Jesus Christ, who is love, forgive us for what we have not done. There are little black girls dying, little black boys going to jail, and there is no one to stand up for them. The point is not the president. The point is not the president. The point is…
    (love)

  • readytoblowagasket

    I think *I’m* going to vomit.

  • http://happening-here.blogspot.com/ janinsanfran

    They gave GWB good drugs?

  • Macon

    I love the contrast when it comes to engagement
    What a fantastic observation. Just reading MLK’s words today and thinking about the power behind them — power through personal experience — and contrasting them with the hot air we get from W …

  • Mad_nVT

    Great juxtaposition. There is King who worked for inclusion, for peace, for freedom. And there is Bush who promotes exclusion, war and fear. Incredible.
    But look at Bush’s eyes. He is truly all choked up. He believes. He knows that he is carrying on King’s work, bringing freedom to the oppressed and spreading God’s good message.
    He believes, and his supporters believe in him. I sure as hell don’t understand how this works. The Bush team is a bunch of vultures feeding off of the greatness of King. Rove at his best.
    When I look at Bush’s eyes, behind the maudlin tears I see emptiness. And I see a charlatan.
    King’s eyes are harder for me to understand, but he appears to be focused on the distance, committed to working for the long-haul.
    What a different world we would have if there were visionary leaders like King to help to move us forward.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/error27/ error27

    The picture doesn’t show up correctly on my monitor at work. You can’t see Martin Luther King, only Bush on a black background.
    Obviously the message here is that Bush _does_ care about black people. There was some doubt before but it’s all cleared up with Bush’s trip to New Orleans last week and now this.
    Actually, in that picture from New Orleans, mayor Nagin was the only black person in the room.

  • Marla

    I see two different christian philosophies:
    I see Bush looking upwards, towards the heavens for help. He believes the world is in God’s hands. He’s not quite sure what’s going on, but he knows his god will take care of it. Maybe things are bad, but hey, that’s OK! The apocalypse will be here any minute now to clear it all away.
    MLK on the other hand is staring straight at us. He saw the problems of the world and he took concrete action to solve them. He too believed that he was doing God’s work, but he believed in a god who cared for the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed.
    I’m not sure what the moral is, other than it’s probably best not to try to carry out the will of an infathomable God, but instead to stick to common human deceny.

  • Sarah B.

    Mighty strange….
    What’s up with that gaping black hole in Bush’s throat?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Asta

    Dubyah is beginning to look a lot like Pat Robertson.

  • marysz

    Another Orwellian photo-op by the administration, which is desperate to peel off enough African-American votes in order to maintain its so-called Republican majority. Are black voters as seemingly gullible as white voters have proved to be? Will this photo convice them that the Repubican party isn’t racist? Or is this image intended to put a moderate face on the administration as a way of assuring suburban moderates? Bush, in his usual state of manic disengagement, is clueless as usual.

  • black dog barking

    Surely this shot didn’t just happen. Or did it? Maybe the subject was ambling along when, suddenly, an epiphany about Dr King causes the him to look skyward. And in that same instant a heaven sent burst of light streams down, emphasizing his three dimensions against the 2d backdrop and oh, look!, it’s Dr King’s picture!!! And today is that holiday!
    (And then all the people dressed for work with their lights and cameras and meters organize themselves, just disappear.)

  • muddy

    Bush is looking for God. He hears The Voice, but where’s it coming from?

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Look at their eyes.
    King’s are soft and earnest, as a father speaking to his children.
    Bushes are small, cold, empty, it almost as his very prescence tears at the reality that was/is the world after King.
    Somehow it sends a shiver down my spine, and not the good kind.

  • jt from BC

    The BAG opens with ‘audacity ‘ before reading another remark ATROCITY screamed from my lips. I am not a religious adherent but who could not be moved by King’s I have a dream speech. His challenge to us regarding militarism and materialism constantly remind me I are still at the bottom of the hill as the mountain grows skyward. Sisyphus would go insane or die laughing by the deliberate staging of such deception.
    “W” could be getting high on a whiff of aftershave lotion just as easily I suspect.
    1)Appalling or ATROCIOUS condition, quality, or behavior; monstrousness.
    2)An appalling or atrocious act, situation, or object, especially an act of unusual or illegal cruelty inflicted by an armed force on civilians or prisoners.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    In this picture, who is the bigger man?

  • coal_train

    He does admire dead black folks.

  • http://comespeak2.blogspot.com/ dus7

    Rafael saw the eyes right away. Wideset and intelligent vs pinched and close-set. Mouths: again broad and thoughtful vs narrow and self-absorbed. The comparison parallels the spirit of each man, I think.
    What these men have said and done is of greater importance than their facial appearance, but I believe the correlation is real.

  • Hobbes

    I found that picture to be somewhat disturbing. A better one would be a backdrop of the NOLA convention center while he was playing guitar.

  • DonM

    Who is he trying to fool anymore? This is a good example of rhetorical breakdown and diminished return that only his die-hard true believers swollow now. Compassionate
    Conservative delusions and illusions for the TV audience.
    Does anyone think he’ll last another three years?

  • daniel

    I think Marla has a great point about two Christian philosophies: The end-of-days, religionist, skyward-looking Bush; the engaged, humble, day-to-day perserverence of King.
    People often wonder aloud about how Bush’s religiosity, which seems heartfelt, can sit side by side so easily with his callous, calculating political strategy (not to mention his thirst for war).
    All he has to do is look with misty eyes to the heavens, and his vision is sufficiently blurred, his gaze appropriately distant. Looks like you could walk up and squeeze his balls with a pair of pliers and he wouldn’t even notice.

  • martin

    I have to confess to having gone off at a tangent at this one. I spotted majest in the image, misread the text (and a deal of comments) before I realised that my take(got that michael) was that the troiked image posited was not MLK, george and the flag, but was MLK, george and Condi.
    I had even printed this out and passed it on to those that ought to Know (non-bag afficiandos), before I was pulled up and told it wasnt said secretary.
    Its still an interesting thought though; that one of several key opponents of Hilary in 2008 crops up over the Left/right shoulder of george on Martin luther’s day.(Real, Rov’d or imagined.) I would appreciate if anyone can clarify this for me.
    Incidentally; the comments I scribbled on the back of the image focussed as much on Bag wobbles/concerns of the day.
    I am minded Michael of comments from someone that I cannot pretend to be familiar with – Freudian grist for ya day job – and the ethos of participation that I hope long continues via this fine site:
    ‘Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them all’.
    The quote is from Paul Valery: I dedicate it to your posters, your site and yourself.

  • Cactus

    What I see in W’s eyes is that he’s lying. I saw the same look in Clinton’s eyes when he said ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ It’s a look that seldom leaves W’s eyes. It’s a smile in the eyes because he knows he’s putting one over on all of us. I don’t know if everyone gets that look, but I’ve seen it often in men’s eyes who are proud of getting away with something. I wonder of W plays poker?
    Yes, it’s a great shot destroyed by what we know of the man. We know about New Orleans, we know what momma Barb said about the dispossessed. We know how insincere he is. Faking it doesn’t work any more. And I love coal_train’s comment. W and his people just can’t seem to hide their distaste for live black folks.
    And my second take came after reading Martin’s comment about Condi. I can’t tell if it’s her or not, but I TOTALLY missed it in several passes over the photo. Now, it’s hard for me to believe that some manipulation was not done to make her image so melt into MLK’s chin. I don’t have photoshop, so I’m not sure, but……..

  • Tim

    Is this picture meant to be a joke?

  • gleex

    I tend to agree with Marla when looking at this image.
    Bush looking up trusting in God and sitting on a pile of money.
    MLK on the other hand doing God’s work.
    I would also add that in the image you get a sense that MLK is looking at someone, perhaps a supporter or detractor, but almost as if he is ready to speak beautiful words.
    Bush looking up will not give a dialog, and in fact looks like the type of fellow that when done with his turn in line will turn tread on anyone in his way so self absorbed to forget that he was in line, or that someone walked up to stand behind him. In this case he is going to forget the adulation is not for him and turn and tread on the person behind him, in this case MLK.
    The other sad fact is that Nixon, Bush, Bush and all these losers are the ones that “benefited”/came to power after an organized killing spree on JFK, MLK, RFK, and others.

  • http://stopviolence.com Paul

    Excerpted from an MLK sermon titled “Love your enemies”
    It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [ tapping on pulpit ] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
    [snip]
    Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.
    [more - scroll down to last half of page]
    http://hussman.net/wmc/wmc060116.htm

  • Agent 99

    I wish I could have gone for the rest of my life without seeing a picture such as this. It is profoundly depressing, and NOTHING lovable in it, even in sarcasm.

  • MadAboutIT

    I don’t think the names Martin Luther King and George W Bush should even be in the same sentence…There’s no freaking comparison…

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