Satanic Portrait (Stephen Bannon on the Cover of Time Magazine)


Jack Romm reads the picture here at the Forward. “Bannon’s left eye looks roughly just below the camera, almost on center, almost at the viewer. And it is towards this eye that we are initially drawn. The position of Bannon’s hand naturally draws our attention to this side of his face, and his finger points up, drawing our gaze to the eye. But it is the right eye that proves more interesting. Bannon’s right eye gazes to the right, off center, out of frame (this lazy eye is yet another marker of his physical ailments). He is looking, in effect, at two things at once. He is sitting for the photo with his left eye, but his mind is elsewhere, somewhere off-camera, somewhere hidden. It is unnerving in the way that all duplicity is unnerving. We can’t help but feel that this photo is a distraction, that, while we look, there is something going on behind us. A plot betrayed by Bannon’s gaze.

This may as well be the picture of the devil. The cover photograph of Stephen Bannon reflects and at the same time generates the fear and loathing provoked by the Trump Administration among large parts of the American public. Black framed in red, the picture is satanic in its portrait of political power, the corruption of democratic norms.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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2 Responses to Satanic Portrait (Stephen Bannon on the Cover of Time Magazine)

  1. efmooney says:

    Belongs with the current Der Spiegel cover: Trump has beheaded Statue of Liberty, bloody knife in left hand, Liberty held by her locks, neck dripping, in right hand.

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