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April 10, 2009

Show Me The Knuckles

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With the market impressing that the worst is over, this scene from Washington yesterday frames the economic narrative in two extremes.

In the photo, we have Larry Summer, Obama’s financial architect, sitting with David Rubenstein, Managing Director of The infamous Carlyle Group, during a luncheon of the Economic Club of Washington. Rubenstein is the organization’s President and Co-Founder. Behind them, just before they were run off, are two members of Code Pink holding up a sign that says “We Want Our Money Back.”

The protesters must have judged their action successful for: framing Summers as the government’s bailout heavy, as opposed to Geithner; framing the two men as well-heeled members of “the club,” especially Rubenstein with the fancy watch, the cufflinks, the traditional pinstripes, the polished shoes, and the cushy chair; swapping out the club’s slick branded background with this garish by-hand version; lining Summers up with the dollar sign (and blocking out the “We”); showing DR forming a fist and putting enough weight on his chair (reminiscent of what the banks and investment houses did to the economy) to actually split its apron and expose the undersurface, and more suggestively, capturing that awkward look bonding the two men, Summers’ expression open to a guilty or “we’ve been busted” kind of reading.

Even if Humpty Dumpty is well on his way to being pieced back together, the image seems to do a nice job of framing the fundamental Wall Street/Main Street dichotomy, even if — as evidence by the flag and the apparent similarity between Rubenstein’s tie and the the male protester’s — we are one America.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. J.W. Marriott, April 9, 2009 in Washington, DC.)

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