Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
February 8, 2006

Coretta Scott King Memorial In Pictures

I’m sure I’m not digging very deep today, but there were a few political items that caught my eye from yesterday’s spectacular, lyrical and also hard-hitting memorial for Coretta Scott King.

Bushreads1  Bushreads2

Bushreads3  Bushreads4

The only reason people don’t recognize Bush as highly anxious is because he’s so thoroughly rehearsed and stage-managed.  (If you’re looking for a baseline for the unscripted version, I recommend the “uh, uh, uh, deer-in-the-headlights” demonstration he gave in the first two Kerry debates.)

No wonder he originally intended to skip the funeral.  Here was a faith-based crowd that showed little faith or mercy for cowboy militarism and mean-spirited, (barely) trickle-down policy.  Off his home turf yesterday, you could catch glimpses of the true “m.o.”  About two minutes into Joseph Lowery’s moving (and also Bush sticking) speech, GW pulled out the copy of his own speech and started cribbing. First he looks; then he thinks; then he stashes; finally he herky-jerks to make it look like he was listening the whole time.

George-Pages

If you study him closely, you’ll come to see how prepared text to Bush is like oxygen to the rest of us.  I watched the other speakers, and I didn’t see anyone flipping paper like our Commanded-In-Chief.  … Well, there was one exception.

Poppy-Pages

At least 41, however, has enough confidence to be truly (as opposed to strategically) self-effacing.  When Poppa Bush got lost yesterday in the middle of his short remarks, he joked how losing a page was probably to everyone’s benefit.

Hillary-Remotus

Hillary-Potus

In a week that started off with the RNC seeking to tag Mrs. Clinton as angry (Hillary Dean?), I enjoyed the contrast in these two shots.  While the White House image placed her virtually out of the picture, the newswire shot made it seem like she wasn’t just catching a ride on Air Force One.

Clinton-More-Kissen

Bush can ravage the federal budget, run roughshod over surveillance laws and plunge us into a war for reasons that still mostly reside in his own head, and we’re still getting these coded “swift boat” shots of Clinton the philanderer.

Here we see the same visual shenanigans Ed Klein got busted for last June (Ed Klein and Matt Drudge’s Stolen Moments – link) with his character assassinating shot of BC allegedly stealing a kiss at a Kerry campaign rally.  (Except he wasn’t.)  In some ways, this shot is even worse.  The hidden face and Clinton’s frozen position evoke a sense of the clandestine.  The wide brimmed hat with the elegant bow then lends the aura of sexual intrigue.

Dorothy-Height

What you would never know from the newswire photo, however, is who belongs to the hat.  Not to denigrate Dorothy Height in any way, but I just can’t imagine she and Clinton were doing a whole lot of flirting yesterday.

>>  My companion piece, “Laura’s ‘Sit Down Strike’ For Coretta King“, is also up now at the Huffington Post.

(image 1-4: screen shots/CNN; image 5 & 6: screen shots/MSNBC. image 7: White House photo by Eric Draper.  February 7, 2006.  New Birth Missionary Church, Atlanta, Ga.  whitehouse.gov. image 8: Larry Downing/Reuters. February 7, 2006.  New Birth Missionary Church, Atlanta, Ga. Via YahooNews. image 9: Jason Reed/Reuters.  February 7, 2006.  New Birth Missionary Church, Atlanta, Ga. Via YahooNews. image 10: screen shots/MSNBC.)

  • mugatea

    Does the boy king have hemorrhoids? He seems to have a very hard time sitting up straight, or even close to it. At times during this event it looked like he was going to end up in Laura’s lap. (There’s a good shot of that over at HP today.)
    The way you presented 43 & 41 in this post … LOL. Nice Bag.

  • marysz

    What’s with the “Hilary is Angry” meme the Republicans are trying to spread? When it comes to angry, belligerent women, it’s Republicans like Ann Coulter and Lynn Cheney who come to mind. Karl Rove and Karen Hughes must be at their wit’s end if this is all they can come out with to trash Mrs. Clinton.
    The only reason Bush was at Mrs. King’s funeral is because Rove is afraid that African-American voters will hurt Republicans in the midterm elections. Bush was at his most attention deficit-disordered. The length of the service must have driven him crazy. In the photos above he looks sloppy and disheveled. His suit coat is unbuttoned, his tie is askew and he’s slumping in his chair like the spoiled child he is. Thank God the speakers had the guts to confront him over his venal social and political policies. Why can’t the Democrats in Congress go after the President and the Republican Congress with the same anger and integrity?

  • GKoutnik

    Maybe it’s just me, but I was affected immediately by the picture of Clinton and the lady in grey – because of the compassion and presence he exhibited at such an event. He represented me (which is part of the President’s job) by using his considerable personal presence to reflect and enhance the sense of honor and compassion (sorry, my vocabulary seems limited this morning) that he was there to share. As opposed, of course, to the adolescent Bushter sitting in the back row and wondering when the bell would ring.

  • DonM

    When will the NeoCon true believers realize that attaching the same signs to BC has diminishing returns. Tying him to the weak side of the moral bianary enters the ironic now as well. Or at least I think so.
    Also, in the White House photo BC appears to be holding hands with Laura – sweet lovely Laura – right in front of her husband. Does she have no shame? Taken further, it may be a three-way with Laura, Bill, and Hillary doing the sandwich thing.

  • http://www.thenewpolitics.com Chiaroscuro

    I’m not sure I agree re the Clinton/Gray Hat shot. It’s a shot that confirms whatever one already thinks of Bill Clinton–either he’s a shameless philanderer (at a funeral, no less!) or he’s the rare man who is truly empathetic and sympathetic. Since I subscribe to the latter view, it’s easier to notice that the hand he’s holding is black and elderly. Also, anyone who has any experience of the fashion choices of older African-American women for church knows that large, elegant hats are de rigueur.
    What I see in that picture is Clinton at his best. Many have noted in the past that Clinton has the ability to make you think he is giving you his fullest attention. Whether or not it’s true, his body language supports the idea: He’s hunched down low to give a sense of intimacy, and he’s looking directly into Height’s eyes. No wonder he could intimidate and seduce even Newt Gingrich.
    As far as Bush is concerned, his slouching and squirming at what amounts to a state funeral is shocking. What an adolescent jerk.

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

    The pics that really caught my attention are two where Mr. and Mrs. Bush are casting about, looking at rafters as if realizing “Oh crap their a lot of n—- here! Where the Hell is the secret service when you need them!”

  • http://www.sherrychandler.com Bluegrass Poet

    I vote with those who see compassion in the BC stance. That was my first take.
    Also how distinguished his head of white hair has become — like a halo — whereas it seems to me that Dub’s hair has become more disheveled and unruly over the years.

  • Asta

    I really like the photo of Hillary standing in front of the Presidential Seal on the Air Force One. It becomes her. Perhaps a photo from the future?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/browneyedgirl65/ BEG

    I cast my vote for the empathetic reading of the Clinton picture. Whatever his faults (and he did have them), one of his best talents was giving his full, undivided attention to whomever he was interacting with at the time. That’s so strikingly absent in Bush, it was the very first thing I noticed after he was first sworn in. It was almost unimaginable how he shied away from most people. (Or when he doesn’t, he’s giving them noogies, which hardly conveys the same impression.)
    To me the hat says “elderly (black) lady” and given the context, I don’t see how you could reach any other context.
    And the president looks like a kid in the corner about to get a dunce cap slapped on him.
    Oh, for contrast to the Clinton picture, think of other ones where Bush reaches out and rubs a bald pate, particularly that of a black man…

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    Hillary probably travels on AF 1 to these sorts of things because she is a former First Lady.

  • Asta

    Momly, I meant, when I said a photo from the future, perhaps she will be stepping off AF1 as the next President.

  • kay

    In the picture where everybody is praying, I see outward zeal Bush Jr. tries to represent. How pharisaic! Jesus warned against it as you know.

  • http://www.woodka.com d

    The Clintons looked elegant, compassionate, and composed. The Bsuhes looked extremely out of sorts and annoyed with everything and everyone.
    I’m embarassed by the Bushes, in oh so many ways.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/richsodergren/ rchsod

    after looking at these pics and the ones on huff`s site it is clear that laura hasn`t one shred of humanity left in her. the years of abuse has left her with no compassion for anyone and there has been no love between her and her husband for years, if ever.as a believer in christ`s message i should feel sorry for her but i can`t.

  • http://mdhatter.blogspot.com mdhatter

    Preparation W.

  • Cactus

    I was touched by the Clinton/Height photo. At first glance, one just KNOWS that that glorious silver-grey hat belongs to a black woman of a certain age. And a former president of the US is bending over to greet her. It appears to be an homage of which the Bush clan is incapable. I don’t read ‘clandestine’, rather it’s obvious the two have met before, whether at the WH or political meetings. Tenderness of sympathy extended to a friend of the deceased. Of course, chiaroscuro already said this, but I had to agree in my own words.
    And you’d better believe this was a political event. Martin and Coretta spent their entire lives being political, to the benefit of thousands. Nay, to benefit us all. If Rev. Lowrey got a bit carried away for a moment and took the opportunity to point out some unchristian behavior by an errant “christian”, one can understand and forgive the temptation. The petulance of the right is unbecoming of those who subjected us all to almost two weeks of incessant wailing about the loss of the man who presided over the “ME-ME-ME” decade and put more homeless on the streets than any other – until now.
    I didn’t want to post on HuffPo, but my thoughts about enabler Laura are dark. I’ve heard her repeatedly make excuses for W, as if she were not a complete person. ‘Tis sad.

  • jt from BC

    Great choice BAG,
    I googled ‘Coretta King Funeral’ and found two additional intriguing pictures they are both of the line up;
    pg 1) ‘King eulogist jab Bush’, has W with a severe case of cramps or indigestion, Laura is not a happy camper but more difficult to read, somewhere between Oh really ! and What’s that you said ?
    pg 3) ‘King’s funeral turns political’ shows W in his gunfighter pose and Dad with his hands behind his back looking in an opposite direction while the rest have their hands in front reverentially clasped together.
    The other dignitaries in both photographs appear contemplative and focused as if attending a solemn event.

  • readytoblowagasket

    No president current or past is required to honor anyone by bending down to her level and taking her hand and looking her in the eye and speaking to her directly and privately. But Bill Clinton just naturally did that. And Dorothy Height just naturally accepted it (I love how tight her hand is squeezing his, how her hand is proudly in the place of honor on top). Through this gesture Bill reveals their equality. It’s a remarkable moment captured.

  • Eagle

    I was lucky enough to spend time with H. Clinton in a relatively small group. Before that, I bought the media-promulgated mostly negative views about her. I wanted to make up my own mind. Also, she and Mr. are about my age, so it’s easier to evaluate someone from one’s own age group…like “what would he have been like in junior high?” HC blew me away. Talk about the ability to focus on the person in front of you–the same skill as BC has. It’s not fake. Some people go into politics, particularly in my generation, because they ‘want to change the world.’ The behaviors at Mrs. King’s funeral don’t surprise me a bit; I’m sure the prez had to be forced to attend due to upcoming midterms. The Clintons have always been around black people; it’s not a “gee whiz make the appearance” gig to them.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I think Bush needed to take a bathroom break.

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

    Bill Clinton is almost bowing. It looks like he’s kissing her hand. That’s an intimate thing to do but it also shows respect.
    We all need to honor women who do good, not just for political gain and not just at their funeral.

  • profbacon

    you really should post your Huffington piece here, and instead of the six clips of Laura`s legs, you could get the whole clip from Crooks and Liars. Lowery hugs and kisses Bush, the goes to Laura…she`s still sitting. She makes Lowery wait while she rises up to hug him. Kinda awkward.

  • Michael Tigham

    Bill Clinton is a schmoozer. Big surprise there! He knows when the cameras are clicking and taping. That what makes him a brilliant politician. It doesn’t mean he isn’t as phony as the day is long. He had eight years to do something to bring about racial justice and he did jack squat. It was clear in 1992-93 when he used Sister Souljah as a punching bag and left his old college friend Lani Guinier hanging out to dry. Obviously some of your photo analysts have bought snake oil from Clinton one too many times.

  • g

    “Hillary probably travels on AF 1 to these sorts of things because she is a former First Lady.”
    I believe the Clintons were guests of the Bushes, and traveled with them.

  • BRAXT

    I LOVE THE WEB SITE

  • Brittany Ivey

    I would like to say that I loved the part about there was four living presidents at the woman of the Civil Rights Movement, I think that was really respectful on their behave.

  • isis

    corretta is beautiful person old or young

Refresh Archives

Random Notes