Sunday, December 5, 2010

Presidential Imaging

For anyone who knows me, they know that my political leanings are definitely toward the left. The Clinton Presidency convinced me of which direction I would take, and eight years of George W. Bush cemented that decision for me. So, when I write this post, I fully understand where my biases lie. That being said, this was just too fun a topic to dismiss.

I was on Wikipedia, confirming to my friend the President after Warren Harding (it was Calvin Coolidge). On Wikipedia's list of Presidents, portraits of each President appear next to their name. Looking at all of the portraits, I came near the end, looking at the images of Clinton and Bush, respectively. The portraits themselves tell so much about each men that you could probably figure each man out just by looking at them.

When I clicked on the Clinton image, the first thought was, "This guy was a pimp." Look at the head-on pose, the slight smirk, the one hand in the pocket and the other placed on the desk next to him. This is a guy who is saying, "I am the fuckin' President of the United States, baby!" Hell, the oil painting almost makes his blue suit look velvet. Even the light blue tie (try to find anyone else in the gallery who wore such a tie; everyone else looks like they got theirs from Brooks Brothers), that is a statement. In this image alone, you can see what made liberals love him and conservatives hate him. To liberals, he was a charismatic leader; to conservatives, he was slick huckster. Either way, just from the portrait alone, you can tell he owned the room.

And then, there was George. Oh, poor George. Look at his body language, the arms hanging gracelessly on each side, the shoulders drooping slightly. The look on his face suggests him asking, "You want me to stand here?" The suit jacket looks like it was hastily thrown on, at the last minute, with the sleeve coming out of one arm but not the other. You'd almost expect that he doesn't belong here, like he's going to get in trouble if someone saw him getting his picture taken in this room.

Now, this isn't the official portrait of Bush. This is, and there's a whole blog in that portrait alone. That being said, whichever picture of Bush you choose, the Clinton image proclaims, "I am the President!", while the Bush one says, "I am the President?" Kind of mirrors those 16 years quite well.