Reading The Pictures: Underneath The Tea

05/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Michael Shaw Publisher of the visual politics and media literacy site, Reading The Pictures.

I don't know. There were all kinds of seductive symbolic elements (hammers-and-sickles, U.S. flags, Hitlers, pigs, Uncle Sams, Indians, Alfred E. Nuemans, George Washingtons, cows, underdraws, Don't Tread On Me flags, tea bags -- of course) running through Wednesday's tea party protests. It's just hard for me to look at it that seriously. ...In my mind, it's like going back and analyzing those Sarah Palin election hate-fests rallies (well documented by BAGnewsNotes photographer Alan Chin's slideshow from Hershey and Shippensburg.)

If one image did draw me in, however, it was this one.

What it captures for me, in this woman's "crest fallen" version of an anti-tax/anti-Obama/anti-Government/anti-bailout/anti-(fill in the blank) Lady Liberty, is that Americans truly are hurting, angry and depressed ... and thus ripe for such cheap exploitation.

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(image: Scott Olson/Getty Images. Federal Building Plaza April 15, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.