Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
May 25, 2011

Paul Ryan “Listening” and the Point of the Flag

No surprise I missed these photos (given the media mostly did, too) when they were taken last month at a Paul Ryan “listening session” with his constituents.  As we know, however, it sometimes takes some time for things/memes/sentiments to shape up. With last night’s Democratic bellweather win in NY-26, however, these photos –easily missed in late April — assert and start to clarify the dynamic between the Republican agenda (dismantle Medicare, choke off the government) and the public, particularly seniors.

I don’t think I need to elaborate that much on the body language, either Ryan’s or the audiences, except to say that the gesture just above — the little sashay move with the “but I don’t think you get it” grin and the “you gotta check the whiteboard” signal —  really does seem to telegraph the “all-too-not-really-listening” nature of how Ryan, the GOP House and, yeah, our Marketing Corporatocracy operates.

Finally, I just love the placement of the flag in the first photo in the post. Given how much the GOP, and let’s face it, both parties, manipulate Old Glory, the fact it’s poised here in defense of the citizen (as truly rare as that is, and straight from the genitals!) is as inspiring as it is telling.

(photos: Jeffrey Phelps/AP. caption: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks during a listening session Tuesday, April, 26, 2011 at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis.   The Republican plan to fundamentally restructure Medicare and cut social safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid has at times been a raucously tough sell as its supporters head home and meet with their constituents, including Democrats organized against them. Even the architect of the plan, Ryan, has been booed, though many of those attending four meetings Tuesday in his home state of Wisconsin were supportive.)

  • Anonymous

    These people don’t look at all convinced.  Their arms are folded, their jaws are set and their whole demeanor suggests they don’t believe a word of what Ryan is telling them.  They seem to be saying, Boil down the pretty talk; he’s taking our health care away from us.

    The Republicans have spent the last 40 years convincing us not to trust government.  It was their idea to turn town hall meetings into belligerent confrontations.  Now that they’re coming around with something to sell, they act surprised at the resistance they’re encountering.  Look at the body language in the fourth picture – the man raising his finger seems to be saying, “Do you think I was born yesterday?”

  • BooksAlive

    DennisQ is right: “Just a minute, young man…” but he’s been winning elections, primaries and the generals since 1998. His first vote total was 57%, followed by a range of 63% – 68%, so he’s been a solid winner in his district.

    When his father died when he was 16, he saved the Social Security Survivors money he received for two years for college expenses. A recent speech, according to his website, is on Shared Scarcity. Hmm, how widely is that phrase known?

Refresh Archives

Random Notes