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February 24, 2008

Partial To Africa


(click for full size)

This image is part of photographer Charles Ommanney’s Newsweek slide show of Bush in Africa.

Besides the combo of the opening shot (0 of 12) and the third one, which reduces the trip to a dirty joke, the series is an interesting one.  Regarding the shot above, the Newsweek caption states:

In a tour through the Meru District Hospital near the Kenya border Bush called his anti-malaria initiative ‘a practical way to help save lives.’

While capturing Bush in one of his characteristic, cocksure poses, we also get the point about a fragmented figure, with perhaps not all that much to take an interest in above the shoulders.  With the Africa trip a self-indulgent legacy exercise, the photo is also effective in keeping the focus on the Kenyans, rather than the wrinkled guy who has always defied greater focus.

Your thoughts?

Mr. President Goes To Africa (Newsweek slide show)

(image: Charles Ommanney for Newsweek.  February, 2007.  Kenya.

  • black dog barking

    Ah, the celebrated presidential gut. What memories it conjures, from those uncertain moments in Florida when it looked like all the votes might be counted to the resolute defiance of the “experts” who argued that Iraq had no nuclear program, this gut showed us the way through thin and thinner; the triumph of intestine over intellect.
    As the Bush Presidency winds down the gut needs a good home and an appropriate forum. Perhaps one of the Hollywood Squares could be repurposed as a permanent home; middle-bottom sounds about right. For sure we’d never find out if The Gut was the Secret Square.

  • jtfromBC

    George’s Anti-Malaria Initiative and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
    A military source told TLID that the threat of malaria in Iraq is a real and “sensitive issue … Mosquito nets are provided and UK forces..
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases)
    - unfortunately access restricted to members.

  • gmoke

    The stiffness and off-kilter stance is characteristic. Every time I see him move, I see not confidence and swagger but imbalance and imminent collapse. His heart rate may be great but he has no center, even though his gut may be famous and on display.
    Surprised you didn’t mention the Bush caught in the reflection of the gaggle picture. Surreal photograph.

  • black dog barking

    Surprised you didn’t mention the Bush caught in the reflection of the gaggle picture. Surreal photograph.
    I agree. It captures Mr Bush’s famous bubble in a mad cauldron of light, glass, mirrors, and tv cams. Also the Newman-esque Bush caricature worn on clothing hints that the adoring audiences might be having a bit of fun with our ego-maniacal head of state. He is certainly not afraid to ply the geopolitical back roads and byways in search of an adoring audience. Shades of Albania last year.

  • Megan

    I particularly liked that reflection picture. He’s been x-ed out (in red) and is fading away.

  • Wayne

    I love your blog, so please accept these criticisms as constructive…
    A couple of key points:
    - The mosquito nets program is not Bush’s. He’s merely signing onto an existing and carefully constructed campaign to save lives.
    - You refer to the Africans in the photo as Kenyans. They aren’t. They’re Tanzanians near the Kenyan border. Saying they’re Kenyans is like calling New Yorkers who live in Syracuse “Canadians”. For one, it’s not accurate. For another, it reveals an ignorance about geography that lets the air out of an otherwise intelligent post. (And it also verbally makes your remarks part of the “they all look alike anyways” meme). Please fix the verbal gaffe in this visually astute post!
    Thanks, Wayne

  • The BAG

    Thanks for the clarification. In this case, however, the image, text and any and all cultural and geographic ignorance belongs to Newsweek. I can’t change their copy because it’s not my caption, but the advice, going forward, is well taken.

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