Making noise, not getting anywhere.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Deceptive Imagery

The first thing I noticed when seeing this shot of Bush during his recent visit to Argentina were the rolled up sleeves, maybe because they're so blatantly obvious, maybe because I was primed by the recently leaked email correspondence of then FEMA director Michael Brown, where he was advised to roll up his sleeves to appear more hardworking, while people in the hurrican's wake were struggling to stay alive.

I realize, of course, that if a public person just behaves naturally, the resulting image will be anything close to honest. But doesn't it seem odd that it is accepted, or indeed expected, of trusted public figures to be deliberately deceptive about themselves and mislead everybody?

And because I just finished it, I'll throw in a little anecdote from de Waal's book (see below). One day the then alpha male of the chimpanzee colony at Arnhem Zoo was challenged. He stood up very manly to the threat and showed no weakness. But after he had won, when he turned away and his face wasn't visible to his rival any more, he immediately expressed his insecurity and fear in a wide, anxious grin. But who would compare Bush to a chimp, really?


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