After thinking about the power of visuals, branding, marketing and neurological facilities for subliminal association, I'd like to predict that Hillary Clinton will be crowned our next president based soley on the power of her visual representations and images in the media to date. To mark my wee nebish opinion, I've crowned her already, left. Let the ermine cape fall where it may. Maybe I'll be wrong, but... She's already pop iconic. She has the limelight and political audacity to want to seek yet another role and she's fodder for artist play, photographs and editorial stories. She has brand recognition.
Best quote to note: “Well, unless someone can push you off the stage, you’re on the stage,” says John Breaux, the former Louisiana senator and confidant of Bill Clinton’s. “No one has pushed her off. Is anyone even capable? That’s the question.”
Hillary as cover girl. I haven't taken a count of the covers of magazines or media front pages she has graced graphically. I would bet she outpaces all other candidates. Time, Atlantic Monthly, Fortune, New York Post... Newsweek featured her with Obama on the cover in the horserace frame, the best way media frames political races.
She has captured the imagination of the visual power brokers -- the editors who choose the covers that will sell their publications, the artists who can portray images with a controversial flair, and artists and image makers who are beginning to represent the next phase of our leadership.
Ding dang it and hullaballoos: she is everywhere. This image, right, is by artist Tom Tomorrow for the NYTimes, illustrating the article reviewing new books on The Lady-in-Waiting (my phrase). The article is called Good Hillary, Bad Hillary. Controvery sells and leadership is painted in caricature. We've no time in our attention economy to go much deeper than the light snippets.
One of the first things I did when I arrived in NYC was to attend one of her political functions and study the slide show visuals playing on the large screen above the podium for a long long time (it took forever for her to arrive and I left before she got there). I've studied her self-portrayals on her official sites and those positioning her for her run for president.
She understands the power of the visuals. Artists are hearkening to it, editors are playing to it, consumers are buying it. Hillary is a conundrum and the visuals capture this but regardless of the conundrum, the attention that is resulting puts her up in the forefront. From Good Hillary, Bad Hillary:
"Hillary Clinton is still a bafflement — a formidable building that appears, no matter how many times you circle it, to have no door. This impenetrability doubtless accounts for the wide range of feelings she generates (absent knowing what’s inside, voters can ascribe motivations both good and evil). And it’s this impenetrability that doubtless explains why so many journalists can’t stop writing about her..."
The cartoonist Tomorrow is also a political blogger with an eye on the modern world and he illustrated the above referenced article with the Hillustration, above right.
Then, of course, there is the Billary Factor - artistic idea, left, by Darrow in New York Magazine, one of the best ideagraphs I've seen to illustrate this duo dynamism.
The political visuals are what I find interesting and I follow BagNewsNotes for good political media deconstruction. Hillary and Bush get most of the attention there, though. How does the conservative media treat Hillary? Media Matters has a list. I flipped through my Fortune magazine with Hillary on the cover (top right) and the cover's message has way more impact, just in headlines, for getting attention. I wonder how many, like me, won't even read the article and tucked back in our minds will be the tag line that Hillary and business are good for each other?
Yet another media illustration linking her with the (former) president, thus giving us the iconic symbol of her presidential power, is the illustration, bottom right, in this week's New Yorker magazine. Yep, the Billary factor. It's front and center now, as the article states: "Though Bill is a more loquacious politician and a more vigorous campaigner than Hillary, her aides have decided that his popularity among Democrats outweighs the considerable risk that he will overshadow her."
Hillary and Bill. They are EVERYWHERE, visually speaking. He's popping back up as the Cover Guy with his new book. Bottom left shows him on the cover of this month's Atlantic Monthly.
Art & politics. Visually stimulating. A picture is more powerful than words. Attention is attention. Attention breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds...votes?
Related Media/Political Culture Communication Posts:
Rhetoric, from Aristotle to Obama
The Obama Poster
Presidential Campaign Logos
Word Art: Talking Points
The Che Factor
Political Art: Powerful Tools in the Icon Age