"The word terror activates your fear, and fear activates the strict father model, which is what conservatives want. The 'war on terror' is not about stopping you from being afraid, it's about making you afraid."
(George Lakoff, 2004)
George Lakoff (2004). "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate", Chelsea Green Publishing.
[George Lakoff uses the metaphor of the family to explain contemporary American conservative politics. He draws a distinction between a strict father model and a nurturing parents model. He believes that George Bush and his conservative cronies evoke the strict father model as a mechanism for enforcing control and reframing debate around issues of security and self-interest. The conservatives in Australia appear to be following a similar line - evident in their anti-terrorism campaign, played-out through television advertisements and train station billboards.]
"As graphic designers we often use the power of image to persuade, convince, reveal or to construct a contextual stage for messages. A great deal of research and consideration goes into this process of deciding what type of imagery will best convey our ideas. As visual thinkers we are accustomed to deciphering the distinctions created by color, form, scale, etc. By cropping away information or altering an images color we can more effectively represent our ideas. All of this, of course, assumes our decisions are correct, that they will elicit from the audience the desired response. But how often do we evaluate these visual decisions after the creative process has concluded? What happens to our work after it is released for public consumption?
In regard to politics the use of image is used to associate personalities with issues, display concern or patriotism and of course create negative associations as well. Notice the recent trend of political speeches in front of a backdrop of issue words or phrases such a 'economic growth' or 'healthcare.' How well do these efforts succeed? More importantly, how visually literate is the general public in terms of detecting and interpreting what they see?
Visual Ideology is an effort to raise awareness to the use of images in messaging. Given the choice, what images would the general public associate with specific ideas or words? How can one image be more meaningful than another similar image? This project asks viewers to to make decisions as to images that best represent their visual definition of political terms or ideas. During this process it is hoped that viewers will begin to develop a better understanding of how visual imagery can influence meaning. By placing the responsibility of making these visual decisions with the viewer they get to experience a part of graphic design. As graphic designers, we get to see how self defined political personalities might be visually represented. Though not necessarily a ideological map, this project will hopefully offer some insight as to how differing political personalities interpret visual information."
Fig.1 "State of the Union... Not Good - by Edo Wilkins (2002)", Uploaded by 'politicalremix' on 26 Mar 2011
Fig.2 "Bush's 'State Of The Union' Parody", Uploaded by 'LastPatriotStanding' on 8 Apr 2008
Fig.3 "Bush: 2004 State of the Union Remix", Uploaded by 'WalrusHat' on 19 Jan 2011
[Insightful parodies of George W. Bush delivering his various State of the Union Addresses]