Monday, April 9, 2007

The Vice President: A guide to unexplained phenomena

This clip's been out in circulation for almost a week, but it's taken me that long to wrestle with the question of what the hell it means--and I'm not sure I'm much nearer than I was at the beginning.

Last Tuesday, Bush held a press briefing in which he once again attempted to push all his failings in Iraq onto the Democrats. It was, in that regard, a pretty unremarkable moment.

But there's another direction from which the event was just plain weird. And you know what I mean: Not funny-weird. Not Uncle-Moe-playing- "got-your-nose"-weird.


And, amazingly, the NYTimes report of the briefing doesn’t even mention it--doesn't even hint at it--even though their picture is obviously cropped to put it there for all to see:

(Photo by Stephen Crowley/New York Times)

Say it with me: What the hell is Cheney doing over there? Why is he lurking off in the hedges to the left, a dyspeptic grimace replacing his trademark scowl while Bush rattles on?

Perhaps he was late to the presser, and the Times photo simply caught a frozen moment as he cut across the landscape to get to his seat? Let's go to the tape and double-check:

Nope. No frozen moment there. He was just standing, staring.

A generous reading could say that Cheney, having inadvertently walked into the press gathering in the Rose Garden with the President, didn't want to upstage Bush by strolling into the scene until his remarks were over.

A less generous reading would having him watching, measuring, monitoring, biding, a Richelieu-like presence hovering just off stage as the Boy King fronts the operation, projecting his indomitable will across fifty yards of open space toward Bush at the podium.

On the other hand, privately hired photo experts have gone over this video frame by frame, and have produced this digitally enhanced detail--

(Photo via Fortean Times)

--which should certainly go a long way toward explaining something, if only Cheney's fondness for spending time in "undisclosed locations."

But most convincing theory might be that this little tableau is simply Cheney offering his personal homage to this classic bit of 1960's shtick:

(Photo via Muppet Wiki.)

The evidence isn't yet conclusive, but I'm beginning to think I know how I'm voting.

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