I Like to Fish
April 1, 2009 11:29 AM   Subscribe

The Last Days of W. Another great photo essay from the folks at Magnum In Motion.
posted by netbros (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hate this kind of easy crap. Leave the poor guy alone.

You could take random statements from any willfully ignorant, stupid, selfish person and make that person out to be willfully ignorant, stupid, and selfish.
posted by flarbuse at 11:36 AM on April 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


That was depressing.
posted by monospace at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2009


This is easy lazy crap, but let's throw the guy in international criminal court.
posted by tula at 11:44 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was hoping to see more pictures of George and his family packing up and moving on. A little wistful melancholy, you know? There was a great and abiding sadness to Bush in his last weeks, judging only from his public appearances. I've seen enough axe-grinding; I was disappointed with this.
posted by Mister_A at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the post. I like the pictures--they are very well composed and evocative--but am not entirely sure how they relate to the voiceover. Is there supposed to be some symmetry between the--I don't know what to call it--of the "candid" shots and GB's stumbling prose? Essays usually have a point, but I confess the point of this "essay" is lost on me. But I'm sure that's just because I just don't "get it."

It's pretty, tho, and I really like the flash implementation.
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2009


I thought that was evocative. America is a strange place, the photos kind of capture that, and hearing Dubya patter away with his, um, non sequiturs, combined with some steel guitar blues in the background, brought to mind a line from WCW: "the pure products of America / go crazy." That and West's Day of the Locust.
posted by ornate insect at 11:52 AM on April 1, 2009


Wow, I thought this was utter shite. A bunch of soundbites we've all heard a gazillion times paired with so so unrelated photos? Magnum should be ashamed of themselves for hosting this garbage.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:05 PM on April 1, 2009


Obligatory John Oliver impersonating John Stewart impersonating George W. Bush on the Daily Show (2:27)
posted by Smarson at 12:08 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, the essay was a mix of weak and yawn.
posted by Smarson at 12:09 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awful.
posted by basicchannel at 12:16 PM on April 1, 2009


Well, hell. I dug it!
posted by PuppyCat at 12:30 PM on April 1, 2009


America is a strange place

What does that mean? Honestly. I've been to a lot of countries on several continents. I've been to nearly every state in the Union. What is the yardstick for 'strange' when it comes to a country? Give me an example of "not strange" so I can compare. I'm being straightforward here - not trying to stir shit up.
posted by spicynuts at 12:50 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like a Flash version of the Bushisms calendar, done with poignant (but irrelevant) photos and slide guitar.

I think it also seems to serve as a symbol of one of the following: That we're too tired to look critically and intellectually and the damage that administration did to [insert animate or inanimate object or choice here]. Or we're too stupid to. Or maybe we just like to have things explained to us with pictures -- even pictures that don't tell the story we're listening to. Which makes like Bush himself, really.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:05 PM on April 1, 2009


Yeah, this kind of sucks. Decent premise, but poor execution. It's just a bunch of random photographs sequenced under random Bush soundbites with little to no correlation between them.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:08 PM on April 1, 2009


"Leave the poor guy alone." ~flarbuse

Are you kidding? Throw the bastard in prison! If you are willing to overlook the fact that George W. Bush allowed Wall Street to plunder and destroy our economy, and that of the world, don't forget he the fact that he is a traitor and war criminal who ordered the torture of illegally held hostages.
posted by chance at 1:12 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will never stop hating that monster and what he did to our country, other countries, and the world at large.

He will go down in history as either a vile murderer whose lust for revenge and power was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, or an un-curious idiot who wasted the goodwill of the planet and bumbled from year to year, leaving nothing in his wake but ruination and poison.

That said, these are some pretty k3wl pictures.
posted by Damn That Television at 1:13 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


America is a strange place / What does that mean? Oh I don't know. Maybe everyplace is strange, and it's hard to seperate the notion of Americana as opposed to what makes it tick, but I think America is stranger in a rough-and-tumble and perhaps David Lynch and even Edmund Wilson (think "Memoirs of Hecate County") sort of way than a lot of places I've been. Why? Well for starters it's a strange-looking place: having perfected the art of the subdivision, tract home, strip mall, freeway, automat, fast food chain, it has in many places so thoroughly homogenized landscape in such a way that one finds all sorts of odd juxtapositions. It's hard to visually capture so much architectural flatness, the sense of disposable and synthetic throw-away culture that signifies a lot of its expanse. At least until recently, when one sees Americanized consumer landscape everywhere, the car culture took root here deeper and in a more kudzu-like sprawl than it did in a lot of other places. So there's that: the unsettledness of it. But the strangeness has to do, I think, with the somewhat transient and unsettled nature of the culture. The quote I gave by William Carlos Williams ("the pure products of America / go crazy") has to do, in part, with what he elsewhere called (I'm paraphrasing) the lack of any long-standing peasant traditions. It's a working culture left to its own devices, with as much access to seedy diversion as one can imagine. An absence of long-standing traditions and secular past times: everything gets bulldozed over every few years. There's a restlessness to it. One hears it in Basie. And a sadness. One hears it in Patsy Cline. One sees it in Gatsby. Kerouac and the pictures of Robert Frank and made icons of this kind of frontier psyche thing, but take away any romantic and celluloid nostalgia from the Eisenhower era (our golden age?) and it comes down to the symbol of easy money and salvation-through-luck thing. Dubya is a quintessential America sort of guy. He comes from a well-bred family but tries to put himself off as if he were a Texan rancher: all gut. It's a show, of course, but he's so dim he seems to have become what he started out ape-ing in some way. It's like Chance the Gardner in Being There. I did not see the Stone movie, but I do think Stone is right to see in Dubya some kind of classic American son-of-a-bitch: covered in oil money and frat-boy bullshit. Hearing Dubya's voice over these pictures made me think that few countries could or would have produced a leader that is so strangely devoid of personality. Dubya's facade of simplicity makes Reagan seem downright existential. Gertrude Stein said something like America was the oldest country in the world, and I think what she meant is that it's culture is some odd hybrid of ancient and futuristic. There is little in-between. It's like standing in Times Square versus standing in an ancient temple. We have no ancient temples, or the ones that were here (Native) we ignored.
posted by ornate insect at 1:28 PM on April 1, 2009 [17 favorites]


"Leave the poor guy alone." ~flarbuse

Are you kidding? Throw the bastard in prison! ...
posted by chance at 1:12 PM on April 1 [+] [!]


I don't think you read the second part of flarbuse's comment.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:43 PM on April 1, 2009


Ornate Insect,

That was wonderful.

I LOVE the way your gorgeous follow-up flowed from that slightly terse-sounding comment: whaddya mean "strange" huh? Go on - explain yourself....!!


And so you did!. Beautifully!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:53 PM on April 1, 2009


Yes, fancy bug did pretty well there.
posted by Mister_A at 2:10 PM on April 1, 2009


Yea, the music's good, though.
posted by basicchannel at 2:12 PM on April 1, 2009


On second thought, perhaps it's not the music I thought it was. Ry Cooder is still cool, though.
posted by basicchannel at 2:14 PM on April 1, 2009


Brilliant, but it was hard for me to even listen to Bush. I guess I'm not over it yet. The photos were pretty incredible...
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 PM on April 1, 2009


Put me in the column of people who were expecting shots of the sullen Bushes as they were shuffled out of the White House. This sucks.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:39 PM on April 1, 2009


President Clinton's Last Days in Office were a lot funnier.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:54 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Although I can't imagine Mr. Bush doing the same self-deprecating performance.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on April 1, 2009


This sucked.


April fools!
This really sucked.
posted by mrnutty at 7:02 PM on April 1, 2009


The photos themselves were pretty good (some were even brilliant) but their juxtaposition with the wisdom of W. didn't make them any more powerful. It had quite the opposite effect on me.
posted by Devils Slide at 8:14 PM on April 1, 2009


I liked the photos. Could have done without the voice-over.
posted by harriet vane at 9:46 PM on April 1, 2009


"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."
posted by fiestapais at 11:16 PM on April 1, 2009


having perfected the art of the subdivision, tract home, strip mall, freeway, automat, fast food chain, it has in many places so thoroughly homogenized landscape in such a way that one finds all sorts of odd juxtapositions. It's hard to visually capture so much architectural flatness, the sense of disposable and synthetic throw-away culture

Hmmm...I don't agree with this at all. It sounds to me like the kind of party line of hipper-than-thou art school weenies. The kind of attitude pulled from books not experience. The kind of thing that ends up producing knee jerk suburb hate-porn movies like Revolution Road. Certainly there are SOME places in America like that, but plenty of countries have perfected the art of the shitty, unimaginative, tract condo building and crappy, homogenized fast food/chain store vomitous - Bucharest, Casablanca, any ex-Soviet city, etc. Blocks and blocks of the same concrete slab buildings piled atop the same chain store/mobile phone bodega shops. I don't think we own the patent on strangeness in that regard. When either you don't care about the past (Soviet satellite cities/towns) or you have no past to preserve (vast swaths of the middle of America where there was nothing but forest or pasture standing in the way of planning these new subdivisions) and you let politics or business rather than intelligence design your new towns, plain, homogenous stuff is what you get, whether it's America or Romania.

Take for example alot of the towns up and down the Hudson River - they have a (relatively for America) long past of town squares, architecture, industry, etc and that stuff doesn't get bulldozed for subdivisions. So you have lovely quaint towns still. On the outskirts though, where nothing but field exists and has existed - well, then a profit-minded developer can just go hog wild reducing his cost by making the most boring, cookie cutter shit. I don't think this is 'America is stranger than anyone else', I think this is the same as government in another country wiping out a slum and building concrete slab sameness for miles in a grid to stick their urban citizens in.

Also, regarding your 'throw away culture' comment - just go to Japan.
posted by spicynuts at 6:29 AM on April 2, 2009


I don't think this is 'America is stranger than anyone else', I think this is the same as government in another country wiping out a slum and building concrete slab sameness for miles in a grid to stick their urban citizens in.

With the greatest respect - I'm a stranger here myself - you are not right, spicynuts.

America has been far more careless of its past than Europe. Largely for reasons of space - it's not some sort of occult national failing!

While it's true the UK and the continent are littered with ghastly public housing - say, outside Paris for the France not-on-postcards - and bits and pieces all over Britain (hello Stevenage! Good morning Liverpool!), you tend to still find pockets of the past cheek-by-jowl with the brutal new.
This is partly because Europe built more with stone than lumber.
Partly because we got the habit of preserving the past longer ago than the US did.
And partly because of limitations on land, you can't DO the freeway interrupted by strip mall thing so promiscuously in Europe.

Whenever we have friends and relatives to stay (as long time NY residents here), we bust a gut diligently mapping routes for them that avoid the ugly, throwaway stuff because we know too well you could spend your vacation here missing everything quaint and small town.

Of course it exists.
It's partly why we love this country so much.
But, as a rule, you don't tend to be surprised by man-made beauty in the US on a ramble in your car - which is still the case elsewhere.
You need to know exactly where to look.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:05 AM on April 2, 2009


You know, the mind seeks to protect itself and so one forgets just how god-awful the last 8 years were.

Me, I'm waiting until 10 years has passed and I can quit paying extra tax money for extra Dallas cops to protect Commander CooCoo, and the Secret Service will go home, and anyone who wants to join me in a drive-by shoe-ing here in Dallas of the Bush Manse is more than welcome.

I've already got the party planned.
posted by Tena at 7:42 AM on April 2, 2009


Anyone looking for America's real past can find it in the southwest.

The Governor's Palace in Santa Fe is the oldest public building in the US - built in 1610. Taos Pueblo, in Taos (oddly enough - ha!) is the oldest continually occupied structure in the US - they've lived there for 2000 years.

People think New England = America's past. Ha! That's just cause it's mostly New England writers and thinkers who have dominated America's thinking and they have been extremely provincial and downright snotty about other parts of the country.

The acequia running through my property in Taos is older than the city of Boston. An acequia is an irrigation ditch, basically. The one that runs through my neighborhood was originally built by the Taos Indians.

And PS - the Indians whom I know call themselves "Indians" and not Native Americans. That's why I do; I hope I don't offend anyone.
posted by Tena at 7:52 AM on April 2, 2009


"It will take time to restore chaos"
posted by dougzilla at 8:30 AM on April 2, 2009


« Older Complete Mars Vacation Guide...  |  The Big Picture has photos tak... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments