Here's a recent press photo.
We got a couple guys striding along in what are arguably humorously large helmets, one looking fairly serious and filling out
his clothes because he's a stocky dude, and another dude not-quite smiling and being, well, kinda skinny and goofy looking. The men are,
of course, Volodymyr Zelensky and Rishi Sunak, the leaders of Ukraine and Britain respectively. The obvious reference to the film "Spaceballs" has been made a bunch of times.
This photo (well, a crop of it focusing on the two men) is Doing The Rounds as the kids say, and generally the consensus is that
while Zelensky looks like a big stud and is fully legit in his giant hat, Sunak just looks like an opportunistic idiot.
This is interesting to me, because the dudes literally look the same, apart from their body shapes which, I am reliably informed,
we're not supposed to shame people for. Same demeanour (Sunak is showing some teeth, but not really smiling, Zelensky has the same
slight humor vibe but without teeth) same posture, same stride, etc etc. The point, though, is that Zelensky is a good guy and Sunak
is a bad guy.
They're wearing, I am informed, pretty ordinary aviation helmets. Everyone kind of looks like an idiot in those things,
especially with the visor up which is why they look Extremely Huge. I assume that they were told to don the helmets, because
you don't get into a military helicopter without a helmet, but maybe not. Either way, though, it's totally a photo-op. They're
both trying to look military as hell and so on, doing the buddy-film "serious but with good humor" vibe, because the
newspaper tog is standing right there and they're both pretty accomplished politicians. They're probably both thinking
"I feel the need... the need for speed!" or possibly ".. talk to me Goose .." right now.
The contortions people are going through to argue that Zelensky is awesome and Sunak is a dipshit are pretty funny, and also
illustrative. There is nothing visible in the frame that supports this interpretation. People are simply projecting their
preferences onto the picture, and then the more self-aware ones are scrabbling around for some support. All the come up with is
essentially that Sunak has a small head, which, see above.
To be honest, a lot
of people are essentially taking as given that Sunak looks dumb and Zelensky awesome. It's Just Obvious.
Except that it's not.
I've hammered this point a few times before, the fact that we read a photo of a politician based largely on our politics, and
not on anything in the photo. So-and-so "just looks sneaky" when in fact he looks utterly bland, and the other guy looks "statesmanlike" when in fact etc. Whatever. This is the first case I've seen where we have two figures at opposite ends of the "like" spectrum
in the same photo, in the same posture, doing the same things.
The polarization in reading remains as clear as ever.
Thanks to Andy B. (name elided to protect the innocent from my bad reputation) for consulting on wtf those helmets actually are and what's probably going on
Notwithstanding one's political leanings, this photograph has much to do with authenticity; Zelensky in military attire is wholly authentic but Sunak is laughably incongruent.ReplyDelete
Much as I like zelensky over sunak, I think this might be debatable. Further, any authenticity or lack thereof isn't visible in the photo either.Delete
But, indeed, point taken. that is a legitimate aspect of the thing.
Only if you know his background and how he came to power, and consider this to be a character defect (and I do). Otherwise he is performing the exact same duties, in the exact same way, as any other politician holding the same position. In any case, absolutely none of this is apparent in the photograph, unless maybe there's some body language thing about an entitled and clueless pretender which I fail to see, alas.Delete
A man who can't do his boots up properly is a figure of fun. Especially if he is wearing stupid skinny trousers. I rest my case.ReplyDelete
OTOH, Mike, have you considered how you would react if the picture were captioned: "Jet-fighter ace RAF Squadron Leader Jatinder Kumar shows President Zelensky his favourite plane"? Looks different, doesn't it?Delete
I'm always a bit rocked back at how willing the British are to just go after their darker skinned politicians (who, to be fair, are sometimes quite terrible.) In the USA there's this extremely delicate dance one does to try (invariably without success) to avoid accusations of racism.Delete
A politician is a politician, and fair game. No special treatment for any of the bastards! Especially Tories with billions in the bank who wreck the lives of the poor...Delete