Living in a country where a direct £40 bribe will get me more healthcare and planning permission than any election candidate can ever offer, I’m not normally that interested in politics. But I’m disturbed by this US election thing: what’s with all the grinning straight at the camera?? Everybody’s saying what a nutter Sarah Palin is now they’ve heard her views on creationism and the environment, but couldn’t they’ve discovered that earlier just by looking at her publicity photos?? Everything about the picture above says “I’m going to believe what I believe and use up the world’s oil and make polar bears apologise and I don’t have to give you a reason why”. It’s not really having a grin I object to, it’s the new angle of attack and the lack of psychological restraint that disturbs me. (Even former president Carter the Unstoppable Grinning Machine, circa 1977, seemed to keep a more respectful distance and one ear hidden out of modesty.) Below is a painting by certified Norwegian nutter (and genius) Edvard Munch.
I once heard a psychiatrist explain that in art therapy sessions any patient who draws a self-portrait absolutely head-on is a nutter. I’m pretty sure the chap in the painting is Eddie himself as he paints like this many times. You’d be very well advised to visit the museum dedicated to him in Oslo, but (despite his talents) not to elect him as your vice-president. Here in Romania I'm continually enchanted by wedding photographs from the 1950s and 60s in homes that I visit. Always shot in glorious black-and-white and at a ¾ perspective with the couple looking into the middle distance to the side of the camera. It doesn’t matter how much they’ve come to resemble Albert Steptoe and his sister Dolly, they always look like film stars in the wedding photo. Even Comrade Ceauşescu knew to avert his eyes a little so’s not to scare us. Now, this is deeply unfair, and let us not forget what America has done for us over the last century by way of cartoons and jazz music, but here’s the alternative to Sarah Palin, perhaps just 1 degree better, Joe Biden: