Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
March 7, 2006

One Holy Mess

Blairprayer

The BAG meets The Onion?

No, this is legit.  Two days after crediting God with instructing him to support an Iraq invasion, this image of Tony Blair turned up on the newswires.  (If you missed the “God is my strategist” story, SFGate has a good summary.) (By the way, note SFG’s ridiculous photo of Blair and his former communications consultant, Alastair Campbell.  Campbell is the one who, when he was consulting for Blair, said:  “We don’t do God.”)

The photo in question was taken Monday at 10 Downing Street during a seminar.  I’m not familiar enough with Blair’s mannerisms to tell whether this is a characteristic gesture.  However, I’m guessing the photographer — having the God story in mind — must have started salivating when those hands came together.

Whether the gesture had some actual subconscious connection to Blair’s recent disclosure, who knows?  On the other hand, the image certainly raises the question of why Blair would, all of a sudden, share his spiritual process with the world.  With the situation in Iraq going down the tubes, is it possible Blair is feeling guilty?  And if so, is he somehow looking — even toward his maker — to spread the blame?

(image: Matt Dunham/A.P.  March 6, 2006.  London.  via YahooNews)

  • http://undisclosed-recipients.blogspot.com Carl Manaster

    He’s gotten old in one Hell of a hurry.

  • ummabdulla

    Old and bald… and dying his hair lighter, it seems, which is recommended as you get older, isn’t it?
    He’s so fake. When he’s interviewed, he stops and pauses, as if he’s being thoughtful and honest… Tony Bliar indeed.

  • Quentin

    Yes, Bliar is a fraud. The studied pauses in his statments say it all, especially when he’s being accused of dishonesty or deceit. Pay close attention to his gushing statements; they’re often just as incoherent and nonsensical as those of his counterpart named George, however superficially eloquent. Have pity on god, now (s)he has also to find an honest, convincing way to cover for Bliar’s trespasses in Iraq, as if George’s didn’t present enough of theological and spiritual challenge.

  • mugatea

    “I’m guessing the photographer — having the God story in mind — must have started salivating when those hands came together.”
    Yes, and that mantle behind him plays into the theme just as well.
    Webster’s definition #3 for mantle: the back, scapulars, and wings of a bird.
    Tony the Angel? What a putz. No God endorses war.

  • marysz

    It looks like Blair’s going off the deep end. It will be interesting to see how much ridicule he’ll get from the tabloid press in the UK over his sudden religiosity. In America, politicians start talking about God when they have something to hide. He’s also wearing a red tie. . . which in America, is associated with Republican politicians trying to appear honest; Tom Delay wore a tie similar to Blair’s when he was booked for money laundering.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com black dog barking

    The Dr Ngor character in Killing Fields is constantly putting his hands together as he pleads with rifle-toting Khmer Rouge, a gesture that loses little in translation between Cambodian and American.
    Blair (Bliar!) seems to be asking for patience and understanding in re committing his nation to the Iraq venture: with his hand gesture and with his words that defer judgement and consequences to the Creator of the Universe. Don’t see much evidence of the humility that often attends supplication.
    One of the comments in the SFGate article accuses Blair of “using God as a get-out for total strategic failure”. Yeah.

  • DonM

    It’s called steepling. A hand gesture to make you look intelligent or thoughtful. People do it a lot. He could be praying that the bombing of Iran goes well though

  • jt from BC

    MARCH 22, 2005. from B-liar’s lips,
    “I don’t want to end up with an American-style politics with us all going out and beating our chests about our faith.”
    Though faith played an important role on a personal level, it wasn’t “very healthy” when it was used in the political process, he said.
    http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050322-012458-6246r.htm

  • http://www.postmanpatel.blogspot.com ziz

    …and I just keep obeying the voices in my head …..

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    Two days after crediting God with instructing him to support an Iraq invasion

    Of course, Prime Minister Blair said no such thing. Go read the article you linked to if you don’t believe me. Here’s the quote:

    If you have faith about these things, then you realize that judgment is made by other people. If you believe in God, it’s made by God as well

    Can you point out to me a Christian (or even a Muslim, for that matter) who doesn’t believe that God will judge him?
    Blair makes no claim of hearing God, getting advice from God, discussing strategy with God – you simply made that up. But as usual, there wouldn’t be a story with such a fabrication.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    AOG,
    It is a necessary skill for a politician to speak knowingly and convincingly without actually saying anything. The context of the British Prime Minister’s remark you quote specifically includes his role as commander in chief in committing his nation to war. Whether Blair is saying it was God’s judgement that Britain go to war, as several news organizations interpret his remarks, or he is saying that the judgement of the value of that decision is God’s, as you assert, is not really clear.
    This is clear: it is major league stupid for the head of a Christian nation to be discussing God’s will in the context of invading a Muslim nation. That’s a story. Here’s another: why hasn’t he apologized for the blunder?

  • http://tsuredzuregusa.blogspot.com Shaula Evans

    In the SFGate picture, Blair honestly looks like he’s trying to do an imitation of Tim Curry.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes