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September 27, 2013

Rise of Ted Cruz Best Captured (Fleetingly, Anyway) by Medieval Christian Iconography

So photographer and Professor Lorena Turner sussed out this picture of the fundamentalist Tea Party zealot, Ted Cruz, from the NYT yesterday. (If you’re not following the phyrric effort by Ted and right wing Republicans to cripple the government over Obamacare, Cruz was the guy who just did the 21 hour filibuster-esque Senate grandstand this week thrusting himself to the top of the heap of the most disloyal opposition.) Just a note, by the way. If you’re thinking of writing off this guy, don’t. On the basis of intellect (I didn’t say, sanity), the fanatical Cruz makes Rick Perry look like a fence post.

But back to the photo. What makes this latest Washington “halo shot” noteworthy — according to Lorena and the commenters on her FB page — is that the picture made only the briefest appearance on the NYT homepage yesterday, then pfffft!, it disappeared. That’s not to say that the Times doesn’t cycle different photos in and out, especially home page thumbnails, but it’s interesting that such a wonderfully loaded visual would barely see the light of day. One of Lorena’s readers, Bill Donnelly, said it looked “like Medieval Christian-” or “early/mid 20th Century Fascist Social realist iconography.” Tiny as it is, it’s truly impressive for the alternately Roman and Christian vibe — as if knocking Cruz over the head for the venality running through the wash cycle with the “holier than thou.”

Instead, the Times article visually retreated to the more diffuse glow of this, aligned to the in-column comment:

For now, Mr. Cruz is basking in his moment.

Variation on the theme, however, Cruz also found time yesterday for a more literal assumption of a faith posture.

Apparently inspired by the presence, and charm offensive, of the new President of Iran at the UN this week, Cruz joined the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House for a knee pad-assisted vigil in the name of an Iranian-American priest being held in Iran.

On the brink of a government shutdown, the next act of a fractured Congress, and the rise of a great right hope, it’s not like these aren’t perfect days for religious visual metaphors.

(photo 1 & 2: Jason Reed/REUTERS. caption 2: Senator Ted Cruz spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday after his marathon speech on the Senate floor. photo 3: Win McNamee/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (C) (R-TX) prays with members of the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House September 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. Cruz and members of the coalition held a prayer vigil calling for the release of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini from an Iranian prison where he has been held for over a year.)
  • black_dog_barking

    On the basis of intellect (I didn’t say, sanity), the fanatical Cruz makes Rick Perry look like a fence post.

    From what I’ve seen of the guy a fence post makes Rick Perry look like a fence post.

  • LanceThruster

    Did they airbrush out the stigmata?

  • Molly in Saint Paul

    When I saw that photo on the front page of the NYTimes, I thought it was absolutely BRILLIANT: critical, aware, smart, mocking, and beautiful all at once. And then it was gone!! I wanted to show it to my husband and couldn’t find it. Thanks for posting it with an explanation of its fate.

  • Michael S

    Yeah, Cruz is kind of an idiot. Not understanding his own “Green Eggs and Ham” metaphor was one of the greatest displays of stupidity I’ve seen form a Senator in a long time. His ignorance and jackassery rivals House members like Bachman.

  • aSouthernMan

    It seems no one mentions how silly the President sounds when he spouts
    his crock of lies. Ted explained it for 21 hours, but the WH and Reid still
    got it wrong. On the basis of intellect, removing the Harry and Barry
    scripted PR-comments would be an excellent start – but then – they would

    have nothing to say. Maybe if Bagnews’ 501-3c status was subjected to
    similar scrutiny as Tea Party, the comments here would be very different.

  • Thomas

    Cruz is a Southern Baptist, and the CDC pictured here is a Southern Baptist organization, founded by Pat Robertson. These are not Catholics.

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