Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Obama-Biden photo idiotically deconstructed 'round the conservative blogosphere

Really? This is how conservatives are wasting their (and our) time? (Over)analyzing a photo of Obama and Biden, coming up with ridiculous interpretations to attack the president?

Here's the photo.

Glenn Reynolds tells us to "[a]nalyze the body language."

And then: "No, I don't think Obama’s facial expression is just a fluke of when the shutter went off. His eyes aren't closed, as some with poor displays seem to think."

And then: "Obama's showing contempt -- or so it seems to me -- for the guy he picked as his running mate."

Yeah, so it seems to him -- so it seems through a lens of vicious right-wing partisanship. This ranks with the stupidest posts you'll find from conservative bloggers, and that's saying something. (Really, Glenn, you think you're saying something intelligent here?)

Andrew Sullivan is right, this is "photo-smearing Obama." Now, I don't see this as a racial/racist issues, with Obama "condescending to a white man," as Andrew thinks the conservative reading might be, and I don't necessarily think that's what (all) conservatives see here.

For what's funny is that there's no consistency to what conservatives are saying. Reynolds again: "It's interesting to read the comments, where what people see is very different depending on who's posting. Well, Obama did say that he had cultivated the ability to be a blank screen onto which people could project things.

So, then, what? He takes a cheap shot at Obama here -- couldn't a photo of anyone be "a blank screen"? -- but the point is that different people have different perspectives, and different interpretations. So why bother making much ado about a single photo, telling us to interpret body language and facial expression in complete absence of context?

Thankfully, there is a tiny shred of common sense on the right. As my friend Ed Morrissey puts it: "I'm sure that all is well between the two, and that this is just a fluke of photography." Now, he goes on to rip Biden, who from all accounts is a major player behind the scenes in the White House, and a trusted advisor to the president, but, he concludes, "why not have a little fun with this?"

Well, fine. We've all done those write-your-own-caption things before -- and this photo lends itself to that. So, then, have some fun, and don't try to make the photo mean something terribly profound, something to use as a partisan weapon, something you "analyze" to fit your partisan prejudices. For if you do, like Reynolds and others do, acting like a postmodernist without any qualifications whatsoever, without any bases for your "analyses," you'll just end up embarrassing yourself, proving yourself to be the desperate, demented partisan hack you really are.

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  • At least it's a real photo, unlike so many Photoshop jobs showing him with the wrong hand over his heart. It's a sign of desperation when they have to sift through the sand dunes for a fragment, a potsherd to try to reconstruct a lost city that never was.

    It must be hell for them that he's been in office almost a year and we're not singing "The East is Red" every morning or lining the Capitalists against the wall.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 12:09 PM  

  • It's clear that Obama's posture speaks of a defensive position: arms folded across his chest, lips in a narrow and blank expression, leg folded.

    It's likely that Biden was discussing some bad news with the boss. Since we don't know precisely when this ad hoc conference took place, we can't presume anything about the emotional state of either man.

    And note, too, Biden's posture: head facing down, hands in pocket.

    Precisely the kind of posture you'd expect when trying to give someone bad news.

    My take on this? Biden confirmed for Obama something he expected to hear, but really didn't want to hear.

    By Blogger Carl, at 6:48 AM  

  • ..."Well, Obama did say that he had cultivated the ability to be a blank screen onto which people could project things."...

    i think that is just the problem with this President. he is a blank screen. there is precious little evidence of the man's reported intellect and plenty of evidence that he isn't a quick thinker, has a very limited understanding or knowledge of history and does not learn quickly from previous mistakes.

    i keep hoping, but so far i have been very disappointed with his performance. a good friend of mine once said to me, when the President was elected "at least now we won't have to worry about being embarrassed by our President". it is only necessary to read a few international reports to see just the level of disdain held for this President.

    unfortunate indeed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:53 PM  

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