I was really struck by this photo of Rick Santorum's concession speech. Danny called me over to see it and I thought it was a manipulated photo, something done by a snarky Santorum hater. It's photo journalism, but it's more art. So much is on the surface.
The heart of the photo is the almost anachronistic (plaid pinafore), emotionally overwhelmed little girl clutching her doll in a matching outfit. Why don't you like my dad? Why have you been so cruel to my family? Do you know what I've been through? The older brother has a stunned, severe look on his face, used to keeping it together, but clearly on the verge of breaking down. The older sister also has a twisted grimace, a teenage sulk, a little angry, life will be hell tomorrow. She looks more embarassed. It's extreme exposure, were they coached? Did the photographer do something to elicit that reaction? I don't think so. They're just kids, their lives are changing, it was late at night, they were humiliated. I read a ton of really hostile comments about the family and this photo - 8 year old girls don't carry dolls, the boy looks like hitler youth, reason magazine ran the photo with a tongue in cheek headline that said "Your tears are so yummy and sweet." I despise Santorum's politics, I'm glad he's gone. But it could have been any political family. The photo says a lot about American family dynamics, american culture, the brutality of politics.