What is David Cameron an expression of?

“You know, when they forced Khruschev out, he sat down and wrote two letters to his successor. He said – ‘When you get yourself into a situation you can’t get out of, open the first letter, and you’ll be safe. When you get yourself into another situation you can’t get out of, open the second letter’. Well, soon enough, this guy found himself into a tight place, so he opened the first letter. Which said – ‘Blame everything on me’. So he blames the old man, it worked like a charm. He got himself into a second situation he couldn’t get out of, he opened the second letter. It said – ‘Sit down, and write two letters’” – An old anecdote, quoted in Traffic

Barack Obama needed a response to the loss of Teddy Kennedy’s old seat to the Republicans, and while he talked about being more direct with the voters, and, as per the advice from Khruschev (or was it Stalin?), he landed a punch on the old guy as well:  “Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the country — the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office…. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”

Fine stuff, but it’s the first part of Obama’s reply that’s really interesting – and perhaps shows his true character, an incisive, but remote observer comfortable with theory, even at his own expense. To be a compelling politician, to achieve his remarkable victory, he needed to be an expression of cultural forces, views and desires.

So what then, is David Cameron – who at times has tried to harness some of the Obama magic – an expression of?

Continue reading

How can you tell if an image has been Photoshopped?

Photoshop Disasters is great fun if you want to see just how warped software can make people (well, women usually) look – think missing limbs, plastic skin and banana-shaped spines – but these images are easy to detect because they’re just obviously wrong. How do you spot the Photoshop work that isn’t a disaster? This post takes a photo from Victoria’s Secret and puts it through a CSI-esque process to find out what’s been fiddled with.

Previously on The Wired Jester: Too Much Photoshop.

Too much Photoshop

When is too much in Photoshop? This article (translated from Danish) tells the story of a photographer who entered a competition, and was then asked to send unedited samples of his images. The article reproduces the pictures – before and after – so you can judge for yourself if there’s too much editing going on.

Those images are mostly landscapes; Photoshopping on humans is much more widely discussed (both behind the scenes, and in front of camera, as in the Dove ‘real beauty’ adverts), but Shakesville’s series, ‘Impossibly Beautiful‘ does a good job of showcasing what, post-software, is considered beautiful.

Update: Co-incidentially, this month’s French Elle is not only Photoshop free, it’s also dispensed with make-up for its female cover stars, who include Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci, Sophie Marceau, and Charlotte Rampling.