But He’ll– He’ll See The Big Board!

Greets employees in the Operations Center at the National Counterterrorism Center. Statement to the Press Pool.

I remember reading some analysis of mob phonetapping transcripts, and the gangsters were constantly preoccupied with how closely they ressembled movie Mafiosi like The Godfather. The authenticity of Coppola’s creation had usurped the once-authentic originals who had inspired him and Puzo in the first place, putting a new cart before the horsehead before the cart.
That chicken/egg fiction/reality feedback loop comes to mind every time I see a photo-op in the 24-like [1] set of the National Counterterrorism Center, located between an elementary school and Tyson’s Corner, the DC area’s biggest malls.
gwb_nctc_exit.jpg image: reuters/k lamarque via yahoo[While the AP dutifully/quaintly, described the NCTC as being in “an undisclosed location in the Northern Virginia suburbs” in 2004 when their photographer somehow managed to score a preview tour of the “spy agency look,” the war on terror is apparently going well enough that White House operatives let a Reuters photographer shoot the address of the building during GWB’s pep talk/press event there last week.]
It’s great because from where I sit, the place only looks like that because someone decided they needed an authoritative, authentic-looking counterterrorism nerve center visual, a backdrop, as it were. Keyhole, the geo-information systems folks, smugly tout the prominent appearance of their software [“Notice anything familiar about the program shown on the large central display screen below?”] as if it were the ultimate promotional product placement [which, of course, it is for the Homeland Security Industrial Complex.]
The pure mediacentric function of the NCTC is highlighted by what’s missing–barricades, crowds-as-wallpaper, a dias–as much as what’s there–only boom mikes and a presidential rug to liven up those on-angle shots. And if there’s no wardrobe coordinator in the White House, then Bush must just know intuitively to wear brown or risk getting lost against the high-tech greys and the navy suited entourage.
It all makes me wonder how many more permanent Sforzian Backdrops there are out there. Besides, of course, the White House Press Office, assuming it’s still safe to reopen after the elections.
[1] I say 24 because other people say that. I don’t watch 24, so to me, NCTC looks like CSI LV HQ.
images: whitehouse.gov, reuters via yahoo