Reading Image In Times Of Crisis
You think that PeaceBang banging the drum of being camera-ready in a highly visual world is frivolous, do ye?
You wonder why PeaceBang is trying so hard to get religious leaders to pay closer attention to the details of their voice, posture, presence and comportment, dost thou?
Today's New York Times, a periodical not exactly known for its frivolity, analyzes the television coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings by several major network anchors, including NBC's Katie Couric and ABC's Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson is praised for his authenticity and for "keeping an even keel," while Brian Williams of the "NBC Nightly News" turns "long-winded and cloying" in personal interviews.
Miss Couric, "who anchored Monday's broadcast in white slacks and very little make-up to signal to viewers that she was hard at work in the field," is criticized for emoting on camera with "gauzy, sorrowful looks." Mr. Gibson is described as "rumpled, pleasant and serious" onscreen.
PeaceBang brings this article to your attention nout not to say that it is fair, or that it is even good journalism, or to start a kind of American Idol competition between news anchors, but simply to point out that contemporary Americans are becoming more and more expert readers of image, and more and more conscious of how those who seek their trust gain it through a combination of personal relationship, public trustworthiness, and that ineffable thing called "presence."
We must know all that we can about our own pastoral and leadership presence. We are responsible for it. We have been trained well, most of us, to be deeply in touch with our insides. Being in touch with our outsides is different work, and challenging work, but it matters. Oh, it matters, my friends.
Personal to Miss Couric: Yes, I agree with you that it was snide and sexist for the NY Times to comment on your make-up or lack thereof, but you're powerful enough to let that roll off your back, I hope. As for white slacks, why not a nice navy? At least 'til after Memorial Day? White seems a little beachy for such a tragic story.