I haven’t owned a television in four years. During the recent election madness I have watched alot of tv, and the experience has been both fascinating and somewhat bewildering. I was particularly struck last night on CNN, when Anderson Cooper appeared on a studio set, talking to a hologram. Its potent metaphorical value for the political process as hollow and engineered is amusing and resonant, but beyond that it holds even greater significance. The camera’s POV during the conversation were dominated by over the shoulder POV shots from Cooper’s perspective, and therefore the viewer was privy most of the time to Cooper’s perspective, looking at this figure. The over the shoulder POV shots from the hologram’s perspectives showed Cooper’s face, rather unexpressive and unfocused. Was this because he was literally talking to a blank space in front of him? Or does laser technology beam a three dimensional image into the studio for him to talk to? The image left me confused but also a bit frightened. I was brought up to not to believe everything you see on TV. Even an event as culturally significant as the moon landing is disputed by some to have been engineered. This hologram brought up the issue of seeing and believing. What is real? What is fabricated? Is the goal of TV networks to allow us to see the difference or be diverted from it? The syuzhet of the election, if you will, is in some ways alot of smoke and mirrors. 

The visual representation of both candidates in the media from print to commercials to television appearances are extremely important aspects of their  public images, and more often than not have more to do with pageantry than politics. But ultimately, it all feels so constructed, so carefully controlled, and so, well, hollow, that its hard to know if what we are seeing is real, or to figure out what that even means. Constructing a fabula, or a story out of the election results was an important process of the synthesis of politics and story telling. Barack Obama’s victory as the first black president of the United States is a long story of causal relations that has lead up to this point in time. Drawing on the significance of Ann Nixon Cooper, the 106 year old woman who voted for Obama, brings the story of his victory into a whole new perspective, one of time and struggle and perseverance. Making these ties to history in the narrative of his speech allows for a more complete picture of what this election means, beyond color wars and polls and numbers. It is the narrative that we remember, the writing of history. 


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