Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
February 15, 2007

Link Collage #2: Defining Lines

The "collage" is a round-up of recent political visuals The BAG couldn’t let go by.  Feel free to discuss whatever strikes you, and if you have recommendations for the next installment, please forward to: Openbag AT Bagnews DOT com.

For maximum effect


then click!




1. What’s the value of one more photo of Condi Rice?

Last week’s TIME cover, and this shot leading the on-line article — reveals the latest progression in the mood and temperament of the SOS.  Our last view of Condi was January 12th, capturing her first real challenge from a Senate committee.  In that shot, what we saw was anguish for being held to account for the Iraqi meltdown.  Now what we have is the further development and hardening of that attitude. 

It’s a wonderful take on a person who knows she’s being photographed (during a Bush photo op with the new U.N. Secretary General), and feels not at all self-conscious about the open anger and defiance.  What’s remarkable is that the attitude goes so much against type.  The line on Condi, before her reputation went into the woodchipper, is that she could have been photographed on the deck of the Titanic, water up to her ankles, and you’d still get a big smile and an "everything is going swimmingly" wave.

2. Foot of the problem

The NYT recently offered a story/slide show about Rio’s race-and-class divided beaches.  The story ("Drawing Lines Across the Sand, Between Classes") didn’t run deep, and seemed more comfortable drawing class, rather than race distinctions, but the images were telling, including the one above, and the lead shot of "the poor kid" jumping off a cliff.

<em>3. Lost In A Crowd</em>
<p><em>[I]n spite of the extensive psychological testing astronauts go through, &quot;we don’t track the personal lives of the individuals that work for the agency.&quot;</em>&nbsp;

<p>– Space agency spokesman James Hartsfield, as quoted in wikipedia.
The more freakish and attention grabbing visual of obviously disturbed <a target="_blank" href="">Lisa Nowak</a> was this recent <a target="_blank" href=";f=/n/a/2007/02/06/national/a120852S35.DTL">juxtaposition</a> (from SFGate).&nbsp; Ultimately though, I would think the more embarrassing image is the one above, demonstrating the intense level of care and attention our astronauts receive.&nbsp; I wasn’t aware psychologist drew such a distinction between the personal and the psychological.
<em>4. Product placement </em><br /><br />It’s hard to understand where Mitt Romney is going with this &quot;candidacy announcement&quot; backdrop.&nbsp; In front of an exhibit at the Ford Museum in Detroit, Romney appears to be pandering to populism, evoking the factory worker, and pumping corporate America at the same time.

<span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Condi image: Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME. White House, September 14, 2006.; Rio images: André Vieira for The New York Times. published February 6, 2007.; Nowak image: via; Romney image: Carlos Osorio/AP via </span><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><a href="">thecaucus</a></span><span style="font-size: 8pt;">)</span>

  • Mad_nVT

    Condi, who could stand on the deck of the Titanic and smile swimmingly, isn’t smiling. Perhaps her Ship of State is in worse shape than the Titanic.
    Romney: wasn’t he governor of Massachussetts? What, isn’t he proud of his life and public service in Massachussetts? Is he flip-flopping on both the issues and on his past? Dead fish !
    And why did he announce in Michigan? Is he looking to tie himself to his father’s presidential ambitions . . . . . and the famous “brainwashing” comment?

  • Patrick

    It’s a good thing Condi and Laura Bush are not NASA astronauts. If they were Pickles would be wearing a diaper, welding a mallet and spraying mace in the face of Ms. Rice for her unrepentant love for whom she called her ‘husband’ GWB (Freudian Slip?). Maybe, it is also a good thing that Jeff Gannon and Victor Ashe aren’t space cadets either.

  • lima

    Mit is the epitomy of what is wrong with politics in the US nowadays – it is such a circus, a freak show.

  • PwapVt

    Did you see the pic of GWB & the kids giving peace signs?
    has a link to it.

  • plum

    4. Not to mention sending a coded message to that section of the public that realises full well that Henry Ford was a notorious anti-semite.

  • The BAG

    Patrick, you cracked me up. For whatever work is involved in cutting up these pics, lining them up just so, then separately linking to them, this “mix and match” (or, should I say “mash?” — or “slash?”) of a comment is a nice mirror of the effect, and makes it feel worthwhile having put it into orbit.

  • jonst

    my impression is, and it is perhaps mine alone, is that Condi is vanishing from the American stage. As if everything she says/proposes is meaningless. I mean you hear her, in the same manner you hear a 5 year old propose where the family should go on vacation and which airline it should take to get there. People don’t have time to take her remarks seriously. No more condi for pres. No more photo ops of her buying shoes or whatever. She just sorta left the show.

  • Bugboy

    Did I see it correctly that Gulianni announced his bid of all places, in front of the California flag?

  • Patrick

    The Bag,
    Glad to give you a chuckle. At least I don’t steal my material like some comedians… Carlos ‘Ned’ Mencia… I fully agree with ‘jonst’ that Condi has been forced to sit at the children’s table with her knees towering over the table top from the ill fitting positioning in her tiny chair. Anything Condi says is now either ignored completely or joked about by the late night talk jocks Stewart and Colbert with even Leno piling on. The defining moment was her poor performance at the recent Senate defense hearings where she was grilled mercilessly and fumed incessantly. She has struggled mightily to spin, lie or massage the train wreck that has become the Bush Administration and continued justification of policy that has just plain broke down like a ‘53 Studebaker. It also appears that any photo of her captures a profile that seems almost demonic. Go over to ‘Bartcop’ if you really want to have a few good laughs at Condi’s expense. It is really so funny because as a nation we are well beyond the point of being sad.

  • mugatea

    arms crossed, holding in gas,
    angry she had to have fresh eggs and pork at brunch
    She has looked this way for a while now.
    Husband issues, war crimes, lesbian platoon comments, high cholesterol …
    What upsets our princess?

  • PTate in FR

    I am going to confess that I am growing to love Condi Rice. I have grown to appreciate her fashion sense (and I’m not kidding or being ironic!) And I love the fact that her face is so expressive. On what other public figure have we seen such a gamut of emotions, from anger, frustration, hate, to joy, affection. She is a much more interesting and complicated person that the public and media are using to dealing with. It’s such a pity that she is part of such a calamity as the GWB White House.
    And Mitt Romney. A Ford museum in Detroit. Jeez, how symbolic. Barack Obama announces his candidacy in front of a building associated with Abraham Lincoln, a move that suggests history, emancipation, the glorious values of liberty and justice, the sacrifices of the Civil War, “a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A glorious choice by BO. So let’s consider Mitt Romney’s choice, in contrast–was there ever a more quintessentially corporate setting than this? It is as vivid a metaphor of what is wrong with the modern Republican party as I can imagine: they view America as an economy, period, and an American company that is failing to keep up with the times to boot. No culture, no values, no “of the people, by the people, for the people,” no shared sacrifice, no vision. No, for Mitt Romney, it is just America, gas guzzler of the world, take what you can and screw the little people.

  • Sunrunner

    Well, through this article, I wound up reading the Time article. And speaking of fashion sense, I got hung up on the arithmetic of this point:
    For someone so devoted to regimen–up at 4:45 a.m. when she is in Washington, she works out, eats breakfast and is at her desk by 6:30–she has struggled to impose discipline on the State Department. She went for months last year without a No. 2, before naming John Negroponte to the job last month. One of her most trusted advisers, Philip Zelikow, left in early January. Many in the foreign-policy community believe her team is thin and uncreative. “She has a weak bench,” says a G.O.P. congressional aide. “And she can’t be everywhere.”
    She wakes up, works out (and boy it is obvious she spends some time on that!), presumably showers, does immaculate hair and make up, eats and gets to work in one and three-quarters of an hour.
    It doesn’t add up. Timewise I mean.
    I am guessing that the breakfast part doesn’t ever happen at home. I bet you she skips it. Or if she does eat, it is at one of those White House breakfast meetings….at around 8:30ish.

  • Patrick

    One last thought on Condi… Why aren’t the hawks/wingnuts/right-tards/neocons/talk nazi’s in full revolt against BushCo for waving the white flag to Kim Jung Il and North Korea?
    This is a Condi brokered deal and she sold us out. Let’s see if Kristol, Krauthammer, Kagan or Gaffney call for the head of George ‘the Surrender Monkey’ Bush over his spineless sell out to the pinnacle within the Axis of Evil.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes