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September 10, 2007

Rudy: Super-Sized For 9/11


Giuliani’s campaign, like his resurrected political career, is built atop the rubble of the twin towers; his appeal is firmly rooted inthe visual images of Sept. 11, 2001….

– Matt Bai, New York Times Magazine, September 9, 2007

Last week, I reposted the December 2001 TIME Magazine cover featuring that year’s “Person Of The Year.”  It offered a photo-illustration placing winner Rudolph Giuliani atop a mock skyscraper about where the World Trade Center might have leveled off, the Empire State Building perfectly lined up in the background.  The caption read: “Rudy Giuliani: Tower of Strength.”

What we have above is the NYT Magazine’s double page spread at the start of yesterday’s Rudy Giuliani cover story.  (Here, by the way, is the Magazine’s cover image, sans text, except for the lead title).

It might be going a bit far to say that the NYT is anointing Hizzoner as the Republican nominee.  It does, however, seems to lift Giuliani up and out of what has been thought of so far as a bunch of Republican presidential second-stringers.

What the Times also accomplishes is to add more cement to the structural association between Rudy and 9/11.  Published on September 9th, this issue effectively serves as the Mag’s 9/11 edition. (And it’s that much impressive a link because the Administration’s Iraq sale-a-thon is scheduled to kick-off tomorrow, soaking up most of the surface glare of the anniversary politics.)

The publication seems to have fallen into (or fallen in love with) the same metaphorical association TIME Magazine punched up.  In my write-up the other day, I discussed how Rudy — by way of the photo illustration — was physically equated with the towers, the metaphor (driven home in the caption)  characterizing him as “a tower” of a man.

Curiously, by devoting a poster-size, double page vertical spread to Giuliani, the NYT also builds him up as tower-like.  Even if Matt Bai’s article asks all the right questions in terms of whether Giuliani fits the bill, the power of the visuals (including the larger-than-life cover close up of “Rudy the Crusader”) cedes and reinforces what 9/11 did for him — which was to scale him up so he’s ten, a hundred, a thousand feet tall.

(Nigel Parry for The New York Times, September 2007.

  • Asta

    A most unflattering photo of Rudy. He looks ill, somewhat dazed and my immediate impression was that he really, really needs to find a bathroom. The ExLax has finally begun to work.

  • gkoutnik

    Right. I agree with Asta. The first and most compelling response is, “What’s wrong with this old man?”

  • demit

    Terrific, just what we need, a Crusader in our Middle East foreign policy. I frankly couldn’t stomach reading the article in the hard copy yesterday, so I just paged past the pinup. I agree, he looks unwell there. Rudy smiling is not a particularly appealing sight; but Rudy somber & serious (if that’s what he was going for) is not conveying anything, except a certain deadness in those half-lidded eyes.

  • mona

    An undertaker (now re-termed funeral director or grief councellor!) though I am not sure I want him near my death bed. I can see how the tones are trying to evoke the film noire good cop/bad guy illusion.

  • Bluegrass Poet

    The close-up looks not only ill but sinister. I’d say “evil” if that wasn’t such a loaded word.

  • The BAG

    Dont know if it makes a difference or not, but I just reposted the image. This one is color corrected to more accurately reflect the original. The version I had up before was overly yellow.

  • arty

    Just remember that it’s the NYT Magazine, where buzz is the point rather than information; content is meaningless. They love pulling in those glossy ads, and treat supposed news stories as chunks of cheese in the giant mouse traps set for advertisers.
    Staring blankly into the camera counts as art these days, as does casually sprinkling type here and there. Think of it as the Sunday Styles section with glossy paper.
    Although it has a wonderful history, the Magazine is now the print version of Katie Couric rushing off to Iraq to demonstrate gravitas.

  • Tom_23

    Even after the adjustments the picture looks terrible. Its the facial expression. Take out the body and it looks like another GOP mugshot you would see on The Smoking Gun(Larry Craig, Tom Delay)

  • donna

    Ugly man, inside and out…

  • Geoduck

    I’ll join the chorus: no matter what the words say, the pic makes him look like he’s dying.

  • margaret

    Rudi also gets big press in the NYT because he’s a “hometown” guy; pretty much the reason, I feel, that Hillary also gets so much attention. New Yorkers are rubes like the rest of us: they root for their local “heroes.”

  • Cactus

    Another subversive photo. He looks like anything BUT a crusader. And that “….with ruthless efficiency” sounds more like a threat than a campaign promise. He looks like nothing so much as a drunken hit-man. His eyes look even beadier than usual. Ugh!

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