Archive for September, 2015

Doctor Diesel

September 23, 2015

Round One: Martin Winterkorn

Forgive me ... I have sinned. [Reuters]

Forgive me … I have sinned. [Reuters]

Round Two: Ferdinand Piech

Picture tells story.

Picture tells story.

Round Three: TBD


Hawk Eyes

September 15, 2015

Sergei Eisenstein probably would have considered it a clever (but cynical) real-world example of intellectual montage.  Others might call it an understandable visual error or write it off as an amusing coincidence worthy of little more than a quick double take. But I’m always looking for the meaning and message in the scenic backdrop, so when I saw two gigantic flags arrayed behind Barack Obama during his recent trip to Des Moines (literally, The Monks’), I felt that something didn’t look quite right.

Why was a huge flag of Mexico prominently displayed onstage behind the President?  Oops!  My bad.  Upon closer examination, turns out it’s the state flag of Iowa.  Despite the fact that Iowans are known in Midwest colloquy as “Hawkeyes,” the state flag actually depicts a eagle … just as does the national flag of Mexico.  And Iowa’s tricolor of blue-white-red might sometimes somewhat resemble the green-white-red tricolor of Mexico –in the right (or wrong) shade of light. So, at a quick glance, an Eastern Seaboarder who has never before laid eyes on Iowa’s state flag might understandably think he’s looking at the Mexican flag. And wonder why.


In 2001, a survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) placed Iowa’s flag 42nd in design quality out of the 72 Canadian provincial, U.S. state and U.S. territorial flags ranked.


I’m thinking it’s no coincidence at all that the Iowa flag loomed large behind President Obama’s left shoulder. I’m thinking that somebody in Obama’s advance team also noticed the similarities in flag design, and made sure that the Iowa flag formed part of the backdrop.  And I’m thinking it’s a none-too-subtle message to Donald Trump … and to all the Latino voters enraged by Trump’s stupidity and arrogance.  There may not be a tremendous number of Mexican-American voters in Iowa, but Iowa is just the beginning.  And Donald Trump won’t be around at the end.

Montage (for Independence Day)

what’s present in the visual representation:

  • a tricolor flag … but not El Tri
  • an eagle
  • a thin serpentine object in the eagle’s beak –it’s (merely) a caption banner

what’s absent (but supplied by the mind of the viewer):

  • snake (don’t tread on me?)
  • nopal cactus
  • Lake Texcoco
  • islet in the marsh
  • laurel wreath

new combi-nations (the image of the theme):

  • founding myth(s)
  • divine guidance
  • our future united states –the hybrid MexAmerica coming into being

Viva Los Nuevos Estados Unidos!