Sunday, December 23, 2007

How Many Words Does a Picture Speak?

There has been a minor brouhaha in the blogosphere. This tempest in a teakettle involves several bloggers who are trying to smear Ron Paul with the "racist" label, based upon a photo of him and a white supremacist leader. The photo was taken at an event attended by hundreds of people. Both the Daily Kos and Little Green Footballs, among prominent bloggers, state that this photograph provides dispositive proof that, since Ron Paul appears in the same frame as a white supremacist, Dr. Paul must himself be a white supremacist.

By that logic, any two people appearing in a photograph together must hold the same views, have the same aspirations, and perhaps even share the same occupation.

Let's test this assumption, which I believe constitutes nothing less than jumping to conclusions.

Here are some photos that I have taken over the years, along with some photos that feature me. (If I appear in one of these photographs, it was taken with my camera.)

Here's my first example. This snapshot was taken at Cape Canaveral, Florida:

According to the logic described above, I must be an astronaut.

Here's another one. In this one I am alone, but I am studying something on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond:

Apparently, I must have been elected to the House of Delegates in 1993, because there I am at the State Capitol. My election was due in no small part to this campaign advertisement, which appeared in Michael's, the predecessor publication to Metro Weekly in Washington. (I did not take the photo in this ad.)

(Believe it or not, we got calls at campaign headquarters asking if I was the hot guy in the ad. Sadly, no.)

OK, maybe I wasn't elected to the Virginia General Assembly. I was, however (following LGF's logic), elected to the British House of Commons. Look:

I'm standing in front of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. Surely that must mean I won a seat. (No doubt I'm still a backbencher.)

Now here's something that will get the right-wing blogosphere roiling. I took this picture about 15 years ago:

Your eyes do not deceive you. That's Ambassador Joseph Wilson (husband of Valerie Plame) with Congressman William "Cold Hard Cash" Jefferson of Louisiana. Why do they look so happy? What shenanigans are on their mind?

Of course, I could ask the same question about this picture:

Yep, that's me with the same Congressman William Jefferson. Both of us have a satisfied look on our faces. I wonder where our hands -- and pockets -- are?

Let's jump to some more conclusions. Here's me with former Governor (now Mayor) L. Douglas Wilder:

I guess that makes me a Richmond Democrat.

Speaking of Democrats, what am I doing in this photograph with then-Congressman Tim Penny of Minnesota?

I guess that makes me a Vikings fan.

Turning away from politics, check this out:

That's me eating sushi at Yo! Sushi, a Covent Garden restaurant, with actor Daniel Brocklebank (Shakespeare in Love, Merlin). That must mean I'm a Japanese-speaking, classically-trained, British actor. The photo proves it!

Here are two former mayors:

That's then-D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams with former French President Jacques Chirac. Since Chirac was once mayor of Paris, then -- logically, remember -- Williams must have been mayor of Paris, too. After all, they're in the same photograph.

And here, from the same event, the proof that Virginia conservatives knew was there but didn't know where to find it:

That's Virginia Senator John Warner on the left, with President Chirac in the center and former Senator Chuck Robb on the right. Notice that both Chirac and Robb are talking with their hands. Obviously, Chuck Robb is French. Q.E.D.

When speaking conspiratorially, one cannot ignore these images:

Ron Paul is from Texas. So is the Texas Book Depository. If Ron Paul wasn't in the building, he must have been on the grassy knoll. Logic demands it.

I've been saving this shot for last:

That's me with Congressman Paul. Since I'm gay and Ron Paul is in the same photograph as me, following the logic of Daily Kos and Little Green Footballs, there is only one conclusion: Ron Paul is gay.

I wonder if Tim Russert will ask about that on Meet the Press today, when Ron Paul is his featured guest.


Anonymous said...

There's also that famous picture of Al and Tipper Gore with Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church and his wife. They are all smiles; apparently Phelps gave Gore a big check for his presidential campaign.

Does the picture of Phelps and Gore prove that Gore believes "God Hates Fags"?

Latimer said...

Rick have you really met all these people???!

Shaun Kenney said...

Simply put: Correlation does not imply causality.

Chad said...

Good lord that was funny. Thank you for putting this excellent piece together to expose the ridiculous nature of the mud being slung at Dr. Paul.

Oh, and thanks for exposing Dr. Paul as wunnadem queers. The evidence is conclusive and I'll never look at him the same way.