Friday, September 26, 2008

ideological flypaper

This newspaper, retrieved from the Louis Geoffroy Archive of Alternate Histories in Lessines, Belgium, reminds us of what will happen if the McCain-Palin ticket had won. Yeah, the tenses are confusing, but that's the nature of alternate history, where past, present and future don't adhere to the concept of sequential time. But traveling to the future of a past that was unchosen can be instructive.

It's hard to deny an image's ability to bring clarity to the abstract and hypothetical. That's why we have illustrations in textbooks and assembly manuals (an art form Ikea took to a new level) and why artists express themselves through pictures.

Even when the image is essentially only words, as is the case in the Washington Post illustration above, it can make the unreal real, taking an intangible thought that exists nowhere but in the artist's imagination and literally breathing life into it, creating something out of nothing.

Images also erase ambiguity. It's one thing to consider a series of turns and appoximate distances, or the size of the planets relative to the sun, but it's quite another to see a map or a diagram. And it's one thing to consider, in some philosophical or abstract way, a hockey mom becoming President, but something else to see it what it might look like if it actually played out.

I make this point simply because so many voters seem to have fallen for McCain’s transparent, cynical ploy to grab the votes of gender-focused women voters and ideologically blinded right wing voters, a diversionary tactic designed to obscure and direct attention away from a lackluster campaign and a platform bereft of ideas. Rather than treat the Vice Presidency as a potentially real next Presidentnine vice presidents have, after all, become president while in office — McCain saw fit to treat it with contempt, as nothing more than ideological flypaper, designed to generate buzz and lure gullible voters. In falling for this cheap marketing gimmick, I honestly wonder if McCain-Palin supporters have given even on second's thought to the fact that one-half of their vote might end up being for one of the most unqualified, untested, unvetted Presidents ever.

It reaches a point where you just have to say, "Do I have to draw you a picture?!"

Well, maybe so.

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