Thursday, December 20, 2007
The primary candidates for President now have Christmas (a thousand pardons, Holiday) ads now. Apparently Mike Huckabee has a not so subliminal cross in the form of a window behind his head. As the camera pans over the Christmas tree and lights, the white cross rests firmly on his shoulders for a few seconds. I can't believe people consider this a controversial issue. The notion that this is unintended is both naive and frightening. I'd expect the flack if non-Christians had a problem with the tree, but I suspect many of us have trees ourselves. I guess this pandering to the Christian right is to be expected. But seriously folks, that window is no accident. Every frame in a political ad is purposeful. Every image intended. Don't delude yourself if you think this fuss is all for nothing. It is something.
Crosses abound. As an archetype, they've been popping up in backgrounds for ages. One of the things I miss the most about teaching is working with film and literature. Taking the time to look deeply at everything on the screen always is time well spent. In the opening seconds of the movie version of The Grapes of Wrath, director John Ford begins the exposition with crosses in the form of telephone poles. They surround a crossroads and the faceless form of Tom Joad heads toward the Crossroads Cafe. It is so "Steinbeckian," so right. Keep your eyes peeled for many of your favorite archetypal friends appearing in a theater near you. They never miss a showing. Check out the next wave of political ads too. If they can't get a foot in your door, one in your head works just as well.
The photo that appears here I took on one of my walks across Portland. I especially like the colors and the patchwork design of the wall. The subject of the crucifixion is left for your imagination.