Dushko Petrovich at n+1:
I kept looking at the recently infamous—now half-forgotten—picture of the Bidens visiting the Carters. The photo was taken and passed around feverishly almost two months ago, when I saw it repeatedly on my scroll and dragged the file onto my desktop, and I haven’t been able to forget it since. Everyone else moved on to Joyce Carol Oates negging Mad Men, Elon Musk going on SNL, Bennifer 2.0, and a bunch of other things I’m forgetting, but here I am, late at night, still staring at little Rosalynn, little Jimmy, big Jill, and big Joe. Also the armchairs, the blue-green walls, the blue-blue carpeting, the “unfinished” cameo-style paintings of the Carters, the blank canvas keyed to the off-white upholstery of their chairs. I’ve reviewed the institutional sheen on those cabinets, zoomed in on the trio of mask-like ceramics facing up to the ceiling on the side table, pondered the bulbous bronze bookends holding a three-volume set of something important on that same table. But mostly I’ve been staring at the little Carters and the big Bidens, trying to understand what is so transfixing to me there. And I think I finally have an answer. So at the risk of disrespecting the immutable orientation of our media universe, I want to return to the topic that was on everyone’s minds on May 3, 2021. I want to turn and watch the sunset.