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December 30, 2008

Your Turn: America ‘08

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The NYT 2008 Year In Pictures collection has eleven non-campaign photos representing “The Nation.” Four offer natural disasters. Two are memorial pictures (one 9/11 related, the other featuring an Iraq war veteran). There is one scandal shot, of Rod Blagojevich.

The other three could be characterized as “launch” pictures. One showcases a space shuttle take-off. The other two, presented back-to-back in the slide show — juxtapose a lesbian wedding in West Hollywood (invalidated several months later by Prop 8) with female members of a Texas Mormon sect arrested for polygamy, jumping up and down on a trampoline.

As snapshots framing the year, I’m wondering what you see the pictures saying, if anything, about gay rights, women, tolerance, religion, California, Texas and/or the cultural in general.

NYT Year In Pictures

(image 1: Monica Almeida/The New York Times. caption: A wedding in West Hollywood CA in June after the state’s highest court legalized same-sex marriage. Five months later, voters approved an amendment to the State Constitution that bans the marriage. image 2: Stephanie Sinclair/VII Network, for The New York Times. caption: In July, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints played outside their home in New Braunfels, Tex., three months after the breakaway Mormon sect’s ranch in Eldorado, Tex., was raided by the state authorities)

  • KingElvis

    I think of myself as pretty tolerant, but there’s something that disturbs me deeply about the Lesbian wedding – I think maybe that baby that’s caught in the middle has something to do with it. Since ‘lesbian chic’ of the ’90’s was based on the shock of the forbidden – in this context it mixes lascivious eroticism with family or child rearing – a bad mix.

  • inktea

    In the Election section, I was struck by the fact that there was an image of the police force at the DNC, lots of warm, happy images from INSIDE the RNC, but no pictures of the weirdness of the outside of the RNC, given there were over 300 arrests in the first three days in St. Paul, 5 raids on homes the week before, arrests of 30 journalists, and a total arrest level of around 800. Most of the charges have been dropped- 800 some arrests and most the charges dropped- there’s something massively out of balance there.
    As a resident of the twin cities, I will not forget the weird madness of that week; the militarization of our cities, I don’t want history to forget it. Balloons, George Bush, and Sarah Palin were not how most of us experienced that week.

  • SkinnyDennis

    I don’t believe Prop 8 has invalidated those weddings. A decision is yet to be made by the Cal Sup Ct.
    Just FYI.

  • cenoxo

    Love the graceful angelic pose of the Mormon girl floating above the trampoline. Who’s to say she isn’t one?
    (BTW, this shot is image #11 from the July 28, 2008 NYT slide show, The Young Women of the F.L.D.S..)

  • Ian MacLellan

    When I read this post on my Google Reader there was an advertisement for right below it, a Mormon singles site… So I guess this means that they are becoming mainstream on the internet, sort of like the freedom of the trampoline?
    I love the boy up on the roof in the trampoline shot, adds so much to the shot.

  • Captain Obvious

    In the mormon photo, the young girls are beneath the pyramid. A boy sits atop the pyramid looking down on them. There is no padding around the side of the trampoline, and more than one person is on at the sametime – a violation of the rules, the instructions explicitly forbid this. The three girls are together, they are passive, not getting any sort of height up the pyramid. Alas, one is fying up up up – yet she is still wearing a draconian skirt, and below the boy.

  • civilberties

    Standing marriages have not been invalidated, but no new marriages can proceed under prop 8. I thought the lesbian wedding photo was beautifu & bittersweet.
    KingElvis, I think applying 90’s lesbian chic to a 2008 wedding is a bit of a stretch. A straight couple holding their child, a product of their love, is no more “lascivious & erotic” than this family. I see this wedding photo as being all about “family & child rearing”.

  • Progressive Mom

    What strikes me about the two photos is that the action is all female and the audience in both is male (man on roof, man’s clapping hands). Leaving aside sexual relations — and, I know, that is a big “leaving aside” — is the implication that women loving women and living together as family is somehow the same in these two communities? And men are the audience?
    As is often the case, tThat these were the only two community-type photos selected may say more about the people doing the selecting than our national community.

  • KansasKowboy

    Both of these pictures reminds me of “THE MAN SHOW” we have women kissing and girls on trampolines. Is the boy on the roof “spying” on the girls hoping to see some ankle? Maybe some knee? The trampoline must be an item promoted for physical exercise for Religious groups. I have a Religious group that lives behind my house that home schools the kids. When I go home for lunch the children are outside jumping on the trampoline, then again after dinner. A fancy wedding for the same sex partners. I see commercial opportunities created by both these activities. The wedding planner and the trampoline salesmen looking for another nitch.
    2008 has been a pivitol year for me. Because of blogging I transformed from being a keep-my-mouth-shut-around-all-the-conservatives type of liberal progressive dirty hippie to being a loud-mouth-around-all-the-conservatives type of liberal progressive dirty hippie. It was rewarding visiting and commenting on the different political blogs. I was happy to discover The Bag. We have a new kind of President ready to take office. I enter 2009 with hope for our nation. Newspapers are dying and the internet is becoming the hew “Fourth Estate”. It’s nice to win one once in awhile. With sites like this maybe we can hold onto our gains for the time to come. Happy New Year Baggers.

  • tenacitus

    My first thought when I saw the trampoline picture was of witches playing. Then I realized that they were mormons on a trampoline not witches flying on broomsticks.

  • cenoxo

    Both of these pictures reminds me of “THE MAN SHOW” we have women kissing and girls on trampolines.
    Oh, touché, KK — you are teh hammer on this BnN nail, man. Thanks for the best laugh to end 2008 with.
    May we all laugh more (and cry less) in 2009.

  • AZ Escapee

    KingElvis, the “lacivious eroticism” in the two-gal wedding is between your ears. Look where their hands are. Holding hands and kissing while cuddling the baby you’re raising is essentially familial, not a sexual performance. I have no doubt that you’re more tolerant than you once were, or more tolerant than the community where you grew up, but I suspect that your experience of women being intimate with each other has been colored by images of women being intimate for men’s benefit. Two women love each other and love a little one. Three lucky people, no more, no less.

  • sohbet

    I don’t believe Prop 8 has invalidated those weddings

  • yg

    i was going to joke they were practicing the rapture, but turns out mormons don’t believe in it.

  • Mandi

    You’re right…love is awfully disturbing; especially a child caught up in all of that love.

  • art amerika

    sick really sick

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