Thursday, October 23, 2008
Photo courtesy The New York Times
To me this picture embodies all the pathos, the sadness, the brokenness of a worldview gone wrong, of an old man whose success has suddenly crumbled into not just nothing, but into, as he knows, the suffering of millions, of billions. It's a Lear who has just felt control slip beyond his grasp in the land he handed over, listening with ears perked up to his verdict, meekly accepting his guilt, and helplessly staring a fresh unknown future in the face while carrying the burden of the entire past that he has been so mistaken about. You can see it in the pink watery droop just around his eyes, in the many wrinkles that just weren't there in the more familiar pictures, and perhaps most of all in the buttoned-up wry smile that speaks in negative of unshed tears, the unclenching of absurdity, and a fleeting vision of what had been and what was supposed to be--and an understanding better than most of the enormity of his error.