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December 4, 2007

Between Outlandish Parody And An Unfitting Level Of Respect

Ligorano-Reese-Cheny

Yesterday, the NYT Art Section featured these digital prints by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese at the NY Library.  This diptych is part of their “Line Up” series (viewable at YouTube).  Since I was wondering how and when I would have my first Cheney sighting following his repudiation via the NIE report, this imagery seemed relevant for that alone.

Frankly though, I’m not quite clear on the strategy of the Line Up series.  The most lightweight players, Bush and Condi, receive a more clownish treatment in both panels.  Cheney, however, along with Rumsfeld, Powell, Perl, Wolfy and Hughes, seems to come off mostly straight in the right panel, as if the mug shots are supposed to contrast with a more characteristic photo.

None of these pairs, however, appear to convey just as wide a contrast as Cheney’s.  So the question — unless there just isn’t that precise a strategy to all this — is why?

Beyond the Washington Post “Anglerseries last June, it seems the press has been paralyzed when it comes to taking Cheney on.  And while comedians and editorial cartoonist continue to knock themselves out, did you see how Lynn Cheney completely disarmed Jon Stewart in October — especially after she planted that Darth Vader action figure on Stewart’s desk?  And, in light of the NIE report, the radio silence was deafening yesterday in the NPR Democratic debate when Kucinich, in a challenge near the end, demanded to know from his colleagues why Cheney and Bush should — without any consequence –  be allowed to lie their way to war.

One conclusion here is that, between outlandish parody and an unfitting level of respect, Cheney continues to defy a more revealing, critical look.

Update 1:  As more evidence of going soft on Cheney, also consider the chosen audio clip.  Whereas they could have picked any number of damning snippets (there’s a treasure trove here), the artists picked a vague passing denial, alluding — I guess — to Halliburton.

Update 2:  No Caption Needed also takes a read on this series, also pointing out how the “post-surge” press has let the Iraq story drift away.

(image: Ligorano/Reese via Jim Kempner Fine Art. 2007)

  • Books Alive

    Without watching it again, two things stand out from Jon’s interaction with Mrs Cheney. I remember that he swept that Darth Vader off the desktop almost immediately, so that it didn’t continue to dominate the conversation. Jon also forged ahead to ask her about the VP’s personal traits in daily life – and her brusque response. Go, Jon.

  • weisseharre

    you’R eye/a-heap

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

    I can’t second guess the artists but the effect of the Line Up video on me is to re-awaken the cold anger that has dwelt like a lump in my chest for the last 7 years. Condi has tried to rehabilitate herself. Powell has portrayed himself as a victim. Hughes has retired — again — after having to confront what she had helped bring about as our PR-woman-in-chief.
    I want to see ‘em all tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

  • http://highcontrastcomedy.com boxcar

    I think i can comment on why you are disappointed in the level of satire here: It is VERY difficult to comment artistically in PUBLIC against the war/Bush. Even today.
    While most americans now see the truth behind BushCo, they also believe their phones are being tapped and their email being read. So, nobody is vocal about wanting to see more of this type of art. That is why BushCo has the torture and spying. Not to disuade terrorists, but to silence the people at home.
    So, i agree. From an artistic “statement” point of view these images are weak. However, their relative position (being mild in their satire) ENABLED them to appear in a mainstream publication.
    About Stewart and Cheney: Jon was being polite to a lady. She is a “civilian” in all of this and it would have shown very poor taste for Stewart to go after her. But i would ask: Why have her on the show?
    peace
    box

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

    Yeah, I thought the Cheney et al section of the exhibition to be one of the lamer offerings.
    Separate from any discussion of the merits/lack of same in the Ligorano/Reese pieces, I encourage others to look at the (what I think are much more powerful) 8 images by Daniel Heyman in the same exhibition.
    Now that’s some damning shit, IMO.

  • http://pranna.com Gasho

    This image, and the Bush version linked to by RubDMC could mark a significant event amoung the imagery surrounding the fall of Bush, et al.
    No justice will be done or integrity had in our nation
    untill the lying, murderous, wretched evildoers are brought to justice.
    Cheney in Jail.
    It’s the peak of our new beginning. Without it, we’ll continue our moral decent into utter distaste and ruin.
    How many other images depict the Y2k Cabal in jail? Can you find any? It’s fun.
    Think about what it means that all these people depicted our “leader” as tried and convicted? Think about it.
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail
    Bush in Jail

  • shaved

    Just looking at the pictures – what’s up with Richard Pearle? He looks like a victim of rough justice already….
    Also, for those of you who aren’t Neocon fans, don’t the still pictures, particularly of Bush, make you much more angry than the same guys stumbling and the waffling on video? The humor is just gone, and I am left with the simple cold shame of being American.

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