In early 2017, an editor I admire greatly asked me to write about the new aesthetic of presidential propaganda, a topic which has been a staple of this blog since White House advance man Scott Sforza transformed the September 11th attacks from Bush’s first great failure into his greatest pivot…for his even more devastating failures.
Anyway, point is, I was so traumatized by and angry at and afraid of what was coming, and how inadequate the standard tools of media critique felt, that I stumbled for months, and then ghosted them, and only too late apologized for failing to put this administration under the Sforzian lens. But of course, by then, we were all in it, and what was happening and what happened have indeed outstripped the norms we operated under.
And now here we are. At the pandemic, and the international crime, and the white supremacists, and the fascism, and the police violence, and the camps, and the deliberate destruction of government and public, and the fraud, and the religious extremists, and the armed vigilantes, and the elections, and now back this morning to the pandemic.
And here is a Reuters photo by Tom Brenner, taken at a campaign event in Jacksonville, Florida last week, which @corrine_perkins, @tomwhitephoto, and @brookpete daisychained into my Twitter feed this morning. It feels worth introducing into the flow of Sforzian imagery, but its impact is entirely of Brenner’s doing, not, obviously, its subject’s or his handlers’.