One of our readers asked for a post on this picture, which accompanied a Washington Post report on the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to Norman Borlaug. I’m tempted to say it needs no caption.
The paper said this: President Bush, right, listens as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks in the Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 17, 2007, during a ceremony for Congressional Gold Medal recipient Norman Borlaug. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
If this were a scene from a TV drama, we would know exactly what was up. And, of course, it is a scene from a TV drama. It also could be an object lesson in civility: despite the intensity of this antagonism, the guy will not actually put a knife in her back. I don’t think that is why the Post used the photo, however. What is particularly interesting is that there is no relationship whatsoever between the content of the picture and the story. The paper is taking the opportunity to do two things at once: report on the ceremony and also on the backstage antagonisms that make Washington what it is. Or are there three things: is this a photo of the real Bush? The photo clearly is all about him: Pelosi is blurred while the camera has zeroed in on him with the intensity of his reaction mirrored by the sharp precision of that part of the photo. It certainly shows us a different Bush from either the empty suit or the Casual Friday executive that we usually see.