One Second Is Worth A Thousand Words

This is, quite obviously, going to be a picture for the history books.

One Second Is Worth A Thousand Words

As Matthew Stinson and Matt Dawson point out, though, it’s a picture from a narrative. It could well have been this picture:

One Second Is Worth A Thousand Words

Both Trump and anti-Trump have latched on to the first picture as one that supports their narrative. There are even some “Trump and Abe versus the world!” takes on the pro-Trump side, and the sense that Trump being obstinant while dreaded globalist foreign leaders are upset fits a picture that many like.

What I find interesting, and I need to remember, how much story can be told by the selection of one photograph instead of another. Stinson, a photographer, explains further in his Twitter thread.

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17 thoughts on “One Second Is Worth A Thousand Words

  1. That top picture had my lefty friends on twitter saying, paraphrased, “THIS CONFIRMS MY PRIORS!”

    To contrast, my righty friends looked at the same picture and said “NO, THIS CONFIRMS *MY* PRIORS!”

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  2. The first photo doesn’t only confirm my priors, but seems to be portray the actual ambiance and outcomes of the G7 meeting better than the second photo, which makes it a fair choice imho.
    I mean, regardless of photos, it’s not like Donald and Angela are suddenly besties planning sleepovers and sharing a ice-cream.

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  3. One thing that bothered me from early in the administration was how an entire narrative of a marriage was spun by selecting certain photos from probably millions of shots of Melania. I’m not saying she’s happy, but there were plenty of photos showing her happy if people wanted to show that instead.

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  4. Mark is right. We know that the G7 was an absolute disaster and Trump seems hell bent on destroying the alliance that existed since 1945. Why are we supposed to believe that if media picked the second picture everything would be rosy?

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    • Hell bent is probably the wrong description. In some ways that would at least annotate that he has a plan, or purpose, or though process. I am far more troubled by the casual off-handedness of everything Trump does. Occasionally that works for him but situations like this it is obvious that he just doesn’t care. I am well aware this is a major selling point to his most die hard supporters, but it is also one of the main reasons I could not support his candidacy. It was obvious his leadership style is that of a chaos maker, and it is not translatable to running the executive of our country. Eventually it will fail, and spectacularly so.

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      • Coherent philosophies can also fail spectacularly!

        I don’t think Trump understands the idea of a win-win situation. This might be slightly understandable in the world of Manhattan real estate. He seems to surround himself with people whose views of the world are zero-sum.

        And Trump’s spectacular fail is going to cause long term damage to our credibility, trustworthiness, and economy. The only way Anyone will be pleased is if they are hardcore isolationists.

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        • Since the federal government needs these papers, a White House employee has to tape them back up again.

          I believe the two people doing that were fired. They don’t know why, they just showed up to work and told they were no longer employed, and the only answer they got was “You serve at the pleasure of the President”.

          I give it maybe 15% odds that they were replaced, or that Trump’s torn-up papers are being taped back together.

          Which I think violates a few laws, but what else is new?

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    • I think the right picture for the right narrative was chosen, in the overall. The fact that pro-Trump and anti-Trump people both seem to like it actually sort of indicates that these are the dynamics we are working with.

      What mostly stood out to me was how much a picture can help shape a narrative, whether right or wrong.

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      • I think is right. The first picture was treated as accurate because it matches people’s priors, and the second picture would have been dismissed for clashing with them.

        That’s sort of what “priors” are, after all.

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    • As long as I have been aware of politics, dating to the Vietnam era, there has been a percentage of Americans who hold what I call the “drunk at the end of the bar” mentality of world events.

      Except until now there have been adults in the room.

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      • I don’t think hardcore nationalism is unique to the United States. Japan has long been known for right-wing nationalist forces that continually wish to downplay their crimes against humanity during the 1930s and WWII. I admit my zero knowledge of Japanese makes it impossible for me to say whether this nationalism is expressed in equivalent language.

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