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July 12, 2010

First Mom, On Dealing With Spills

Bruce Weaver/AFP/Getty Images

If I’m not mistaken, yesterday’s visit to the Gulf marked Michelle Obama’s first engagement with the oil disaster.

More than the photos of MO on the beach, however, there is something especially compelling about this.  With the map many of us remember from school, the picture has an old-fashioned quality to it, like the screen shot from an old cable access TV show.  Maybe, with the old familiar map, combined with the amiable, sort of professorial look of the tourist board guy talking to, yes, the First Mom, the photo — after all the tar balls, and oily birds, and underwater gusher cams, and combative shots from Washington hearing rooms, etc. — is almost the visual equivalent of comfort food.

(caption: U.S. First Lady, Michele Obama (R) on July 12, 2010 listens to Mike Bennett (L) of the Bay County Tourist Developement Council on the areas that are or could be affected by the oil leak to the southwest in the Gulf of Mexico. Mrs Obama made a day trip to Panama City Beach in Florida to meet with local officials and beach goers.)

  • black dog barking

    The background map is Old School, with an air of permanency implied by the wood scroll work framing it. Yes there was a time when industrial accidents didn’t have the potential to change maps.

    I see two people searching for a common ground using a shared resource. We’re gonna need a lot of that.

  • StickMan

    The first thing I though upon seeing this series of pictures was that Ms Obama was wearing a white dress, but had gotten some oil rubbed on it.

  • Gasho

    In the “politics is TV with the sound off” category.. I see this shot as being more about race relations and equality than about the current oil disaster.

    I see a white man in a tie talking eye to eye with a black lady. The discussion topic is unknown, but the simplicity of the map makes the content seem basic – especially with the “United States” label in the corner. So I see agreement and discussion on a basic level between two equals. The fact that they are looking at a map of the southern states of the US also plays into the race issue. The interesting part is that this time around the female minority figure has 1,000,000x more power than the white male.

    I love that she’s our First Lady. I like this image… unless it’s about oil– then it’s begging for a huge blob of crap thrown right in the center. What a shame that that’s the true context.

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