Saturday, 6 June 2009

Can the Sonic Save Gordon?

So what with the labour party seemingly disintegrating before our eyes, and despite whispers of minority parties being the main beneficiaries, the Tory's now looking firm favourites to take charge within the year, I question how different things may be if our society were less visually dominant.

I pose this question because way before recession, expenses and party infighting there was the nagging doubt that Gordon Brown was not the charismatic, photogenic poster boy that Blair was and that Cameron strives to be. Brown is a man of thought and policy, and although many of us would still disagree with the direction taken by Labour over the last few years, there is no real suggestion from the Tory's that they have any better ideas, and I would seriously question any sweeping statements they make about being the new party of the people.

But this appears not to matter because the Tory's are fronted by a man who is younger, smilier and never one to miss out on a photo opportunity. Pit this against the only pictures we seem to see of Brown these days, either head in hands or grinning like a mad man and it is easy to see why people have lost faith in him.

I have no doubt that take away Cameron's smug, smarmy face and Browns jowly tautness and actually listen to the two men and things wouldn't appear quite so black and white. To listen is to consider, to let vibrations pass through your body, to think and engage. Images can be too easily constructed to tell a different story altogether. I believe that as a nation we are largely focusing on the visual, the bold headlines and striking images whilst letting the sonic content wash over us. This has to change.

So how would British politics fair if it weren't for the imagery? I suppose we would still live in two party system given their hold over the media but it would be interesting to see how we voted. Would the majority of us even engage if our thoughts weren't already constructed for us? Can we even engage with a topic without visual accompaniment anymore?

Yes, we do it when we read, we construct our images based on the text by using our minds and imaginations, engaging our brains, digesting information and making informed choices. Based on this theory I think that Gordon Brown would look like a dignified professor, probably wearing a tweed jacket, definitely sat in a grand old chair in the corner of a family living room, a trustworthy man with our best interests at heart. And Cameron...yeah he'd still look like a smarm faced simpleton. I know who I'd vote for.