Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What the Pictures Really Say

We often examine here at BOP how the Bush administration is the ultimate postmodern/stagecraft/all-hat-no-cattle/PR presidency. The cynical reality of the Bush administration was reaffirmed this week by the one-two blow of the appointment of Karen "Goebbels in Bad Drag Hughes as the czarina of propaganda, and the coincidentally breaking story of the millions of dollars BushCo spends to spoon-feed propaganda to the collaborating news (sic) industry. Towards an antidote, I'd like to draw readers' attention to two blogs that are doing an excellent job of deconstructing the images behind the propaganda war: Abu Ardvark, and BAGnews Notes.
  • Abu aardvark has a series of posts up on how news cameras strategically zoom out or zoom in--and the discussion and reaction in the Arab press.
  • BAGnews Notes, home of the Bag news cartoons, has gone into overdrive deconstructing news images. I highly recommend the running and steady stream of posts, but for starters, you may want to look at She Who Laughs Last on the growing acceptance of news image tampering; the pictorial cracks in Schwartzenegger's PR wall; and Darth Norton, as a prime example of Bushco's glitzy Orwellian policy marketing.
  • Do read down for the comments; the discussion engendered by the posts on both these sites are excellent and elucidating.

    Further Reading

    For readers interested in learning more about the mechanics of the Madison Avenue techniques that BushCo and the infotainment world exploit in their image making, I highly recommend the old ad-world classic, Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Bryan Key.

    And, to apprehend the elements of voyeurism and exoticism that are rampant in Western media coverage of the Near East, which Abu Aardvark and BAGNews both touch on (cf Cartooning the Revolution, Eye Foreign Eye and Following Through with the Engagement), I recommend Europe's Myths of the Orient by Ranna Kabbani and Orientalism by Edward Said.