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July 9, 2008

The Zen Of Midgets

G-8 Japan Rocks

Bush Toyako1

The Japan G-8 summit photos offer a stunningly incongruous portrait of politics and nature.

One way to read the group shot involves the miniscule leadership displayed by world leaders just at the point the environment and climate change has moved to the forefront of the world agenda.  To appreciate the larger tension in the photo, also consider that the leaders are actually sandwiched between the rock garden and Toyaka’s massive Windsor hotel, this resort emblematic of the highest levels of consumption and wealth.  (And, also notice how all of the male leaders except one thought to wear black this day.)

Similar to the first image, it is ironic to the point of blasphemy to see “W” — someone so profoundly out of touch and detached from any true rhythm — in such a blissfully meditative setting.

(image 1: Jim Young/Retuers.  July 2008. Hokkaido Toyako Summit, Northern Japan.  (L to R) IEA head Nobuo Tanaka, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, U.S. President George W. Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, World Bank President Robert Zoellick and OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria Trevino.  image 2: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.)

  • stevelaudig

    Okay, I see the rocks, I see the dumb, but I don’t see the box.

  • lytom

    The rocks are barren. Looks like a funeral group of leaders, to ring the bell to planet. I see no hope in that group! They all blend in and speak in one tongue! In the background lurking behind on both sides are 2 statues each, full head, but body seems to be only half. Quietly towering behind the group giving an air of judgment.

  • lytom

    The trees with the tags, used on dead.
    Behind the tower of fire,…
    I see a monster, nothing more.

  • Books Alive

    BAG, I’d say the leader in the blue jacket is Chancellor Angela Merkel. She was photographed wearing a white jacket some days earlier. Previous G-8 meetings haven’t produced such a large group shot, have they? Is this a “last hurrah” for Bush’s sake?

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

    (And, also notice how all of the male leaders except one thought to wear black this day.)
    Ah, but notice too in the second shot our smallest president appears before a background devoid of red-white-blue!! If not for President Bush’s shrewd wardrobe choices there’d be nothing to remind us of his patriotism, of his love for the freedoms of mineral-extracting multinational corporations. Except for the seal on the podium.

  • catfood

    With everyone else wearing black, Bush and Merkel appear to be swimming against the current… perhaps they’ll spawn (after one of his patented magic-fingers shoulder rubs).

  • Gasho

    Is this supposed to be a fountain? It looks dried up. I can imagine a proud reflecting pool – but all we can see is a pathetic, nearly empty pond and all of the worlds leaders are standing around it watching it dry up. Sounds about right.

  • mcc

    BAG, I’d say the leader in the blue jacket is Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    I’m pretty sure the ‘except one’ was referring not to Merkel but rather to George W. Bush, thirteenth from the left, wearing blue.

  • d

    Gasho,
    The “fountain” is actually a Zen garden, which typically arrange rocks in a field of sand in a deliberately minimalist aesthetic style. (In such gardens, the size and arrangement of the rocks are very important; they are meant to subtly bring the observer to reflect on everyday things like rocks, and begin to see “in” the patterns of rocks larger forces of nature–cloud formations, mountain ranges, and so on.) It’s a way to lead viewers to see the larger ecology of the forrest in the smallest twig.
    Not sure about the water, though. Seems to undermine the whole idea. (Don’t know enough to say if this is common in Japan?) Here it seems to me it might be a sop to Westerners… the Japanese landscapers know that the likes of Bush won’t possibly see the majesty of clouds in a scattering of rocks, so they tack on a fountain just to not have to forever be answering the question of “hey ya’ll, where’s the water at in this here fountain??! It seems a mite busted!”
    (apologies to Texans who read this blog: but if you don’t want me to make fun of your accent, stop giving us stupid presidents! ;-)

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    “Goodbye from the most polluting nation on Earth” — George W. Bush at the close of the G8 summit

  • Zzyzx

    donna, thanks. I was going to post that and ask if anyone else knew if he really said it. Apparently so. Now I wonder if it was a hostile remark. That is, was he so abused by the others that he had to make this retort? (As in, so’s your old man.) Some of the comments I heard by ’surrogates’ were definitely less than flattering to Bush and/or the policies of the US.
    Also, I tried to do some checking and it looks like no other speaker used a nationalistic logo on the podium. Can anyone confirm or deny? Apparently W has someone follow him around with the great seal, JIC he forgets who he is….?
    Does anyone else think it was tacky to make such a big deal of their 27-course meals while the world is filled with starving people? Talk about being out of touch!

  • different clue

    The 4th male leader to Manmohan Singh’s right is the male leader not wearing black. He is wearing a very dark blackish gray-blue. If the leaders gave Bush a hard time, I hope they also spared some private condemnation for Putin, whose critically well-timed intervention in our election may have made the difference towards re-installing Bush in 2004.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/18/putin.iraq/index.html
    So in some small way, Bush’s second term may be Putin’s gift to the world too.

  • http://noladder.blogspot.com/ New Orleans News Ladder

    Pigs in Zen
    Thanks Mike.
    Editilla

  • http://noladder.blogspot.com/ New Orleans News Ladder

    Pigs in Zen
    Thanks Mike.
    Editilla

  • stevelaudig

    I hope they also spared some private condemnation for Putin, whose critically well-timed intervention in our election may have made the difference towards re-installing Bush in 2004.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/18/putin.iraq/index.html.
    Which was a smart play by Putin as it helped assure that Putin would be up against a lesser skilled leader. Bad for Americans and others…. good for Russia and that’s Putin’s job.

  • no drama mama

    http://my.slideflickr.com/ssL2wIkT
    isn’t the second frame interesting?

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