Eyelines

I don’t know whether Mike Pence has conjunctivitis — a possible Covid-19 symptom — I don’t know whether he’s bleeding out of his eyes, out of his wherever — but I wish C-Span would get its eyelines sorted out.

The above shot clearly establishes the layout of the debate.

But in the Warholian splitscreen shot we see most of the time — a format, incidentally, that makes it easier for any speaker who wants to interrupt to do so and grab the viewer’s attention — the positioning of the cameras means that Kamala Harris looks off screen left when addressing the moderator. This is surprising and confusing to the viewer who naturally expects her to look slightly to camera right.

So this tends to weaken Harris because her closeup is puzzling and Pence’s makes more visual sense. It’s quite possible that things turned out this way because, for social distancing reasons, no camera could be positioned more logically. Still, a thing like this couldn’t happen twice, could it?

Well, actually it did, and on the previous occasion it was the Democratic side who were disadvantaged also. I don’t think this is deliberate sabotage, and as I say, it’s probably caused by some practical consideration, but still, I wish the Dems would insist on equal QUALITY coverage as well as equal airtime (which they don’t get anyway since Trump turns every appearance into a campaign speech, something that was particularly egregious when he was supposed to be informing the American people about the Coronavirus and instead just talked about what a great job he was doing).

I may use this piece to help my students understand eyelines, though, so it serves some small positive purpose.

10 Responses to “Eyelines”

  1. David Ehrenstein Says:

    This “debate” made clear the Republican party’s contempt for and abject fear of women

  2. A fear and contempt that Mike Pence embodies so very, very well.

  3. Sudarshan Ramani Says:

    Cowards, both of them. As is obvious with Trump’s reaction to the 2nd debate going virtual, he sees this debates as an opportunity to infect Biden and is angry that he is denied his attempt at murder.

  4. And yet, Harris is an upstanding steward of white supremacy in her institutional role, far more directly and concretely responsible for imprisoning black men than Pence. Hard time for soft drugs if you’re black; no time for white Banskters, who are, thanks to DA’s around the country, roaming free. Fitting that Harris should partner with Joe Biden, who pushed Ronald Reagan to federally fund mass incarceration. Reagan had been too cheap; and “Joe”, as Harris affectionately calls him, harangued the then-Pres (while positioning himself to Reagan’s political RIGHT!). Ew.

  5. I think we would all be happier with a different presidential and vide-presidential ticket going up against Trump. But this team look like they can win, which seems essential right now.

  6. I can’t believe they rebooted SCANNERS and left out the most iconic moment.

  7. The urgency of defeating this or that monster on the Right should not, and need not, depend on promoting Rightward momentum generally. But that is precisely the conscious decision that “progressives” make. The strategy never changes. It is, and will always be, the excuse for a misnomered politics treating white supremacy as a mere foible whenever it has a “D” in front of it.

  8. Well, I support pushing for Biden and Harris now that they’re the candidates, and supported pushing for more left-progressive players before we got saddled with them. And I will support pushing them to be more progressive if we’re lucky and they get in… I’m not even a citizen so I can’t do much else.

  9. It’s precisely “one-off” mentality that kills: every four years treating our Lesser-Evil Dem-vs-Greater-Evil Repub as if it were THE unique and all-consuming crisis “IN AMERICA’S HISTORY!” As an ideology, capital “E” Electoralism means never having to say your sorry for producing crises (plural) in the first place. More to the point, it blots out long-haul responsibility, taking governance into “our” (dreaded word — “icky”) hands. If Dems define “populism” as “right-wing (they do), then they must also fundamentally deny thumpingly obvious facts: Presidents are antagonists to the public good; the clearer that pernicious relationship appears to a broad populace the better. Under Trump, white people were sparked in their millions to support Black people, and calls for abolishing police became (if only for a hot second) mainstream political expression. Under the calming influence of a Black District Attorney and her new boss (both of whom continue to boast about a record of collusion with the KKK), white supremacy will return to the conceptual sphere of Common Sense. Signed, Democrat Voters NEVER Push Democrat Presidents Leftward (it’s a fib).

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