The memorials to George H.W. Bush mostly talk about him as an emblem of the age before this one, someone who stands for an old-fashioned and human, if not humane, kind of government. Watching his funeral on TV, though, brings back the memory of how much of the Bush era was audiovisual performance. The original Gulf War was, above all, a tightly produced television performance, scripted and edited to prevent the loss of narrative control that went with the loss of military control in Vietnam. Feed the networks visuals of Patriot and Scud missiles to fill the screen with booms and flashes, wrap the whole thing up in 100 hours. Today we shut down America one last time, so the major networks could bear the president to his final resting place.
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