Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

1.17.2006
MLK Day, yesterday


This image was posted on the Bag yesterday, and, reading other people's posts, I decided to apply some of my thoughts on the event. The image, by a white house photographer, topped an ABC article with the headline, Bush Says King's 'Dream' Not Yet Completed. Of course, it's impossible to avoid the connection with the current Iraqi operation, Bush bringing equality and democracy to monarchic countries. The Bag, always a source of major revelation and insight, pointed out how the contrast in King's mouth was the more distinct, whereas Bush's mouth was closed, non-descript, eyes being the sharpest aspect. So, whereas Martin Luther King used his speaking abilities to reach people and go about getting social change happenin', Bush's eyes (small and beady) are bigger than his stomach. I hope this point connects with the audience. Think about it.. King's eyes are blurred, with his mouth the most focused, and bushes eyes are the most appaent. A commentor on the site related:

Great juxtaposition. There is King who worked for inclusion, for peace, for freedom. And there is Bush who promotes exclusion, war and fear. Incredible.

But look at Bush's eyes. He is truly all choked up. He believes. He knows that he is carrying on King's work, bringing freedom to the oppressed and spreading God's good message.

He believes, and his supporters believe in him. I sure as hell don't understand how this works. The Bush team is a bunch of vultures feeding off of the greatness of King. Rove at his best.


But what I want to get down to is something that was not brought up on the post, and that is the greatness of King, moreso, the idea of the greatness of any one person. We seem to live in a culture that thrives of the idea of heroes. However, whenever the idea of these heroes pop up, be it Martin Luther King for some, George Bush for others, I think of Noam Chomsky's take. His view is that the whole idea of someone being a leader of a movement, such as Martin Luther King, or Chomsky himself, is ignoring the real reason why a person like that can exist in the first place. People like King are not the real heroes. The real heroes are general people who get concerned, the numberless nameless who will never go down in the history books but nevertheless organize and create a public sentiment so that the 'heroes' can materialize.

The idea of the hero appearing and then going about recruiting worthy people to their cause is fuzzy and nice for people to believe in--the story of Jesus is exemplary in this sense--but what I think people like most about it is this: it allows people to be complacent, because they don't have to be heroes themselves. It means that people can wait for the leaders to appear. If nobody does, whose fault was that? This hero concept marginalizes and subdues the populace, because almost no one believes that they could possibly be a Martin Luther King. What most don't realize is that it takes a lot of people getting together to make an arena of public sentiment for those that go down in the history books to appear.
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