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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Outside of one of the galleries in Rugby last week I saw this strange combination of things on the step in front of entrance. The flower arrangement had first caught my eye as I loved the colors of the flowers and the deep blue of the container as well as its lack of formality. All so welcoming. Then I noticed the "sign of our times," the hand sanitizer. And there was that bell. I'm not sure what its purpose was as the sign on the door said "open," so it certainly wasn't there to act as a doorbell. When I saw it I had to take this picture because I thought it was such an interesting, and probably unintentional, visual example of juxtaposition. Wikipedia describes this term, as used in painting or photography as a "juxtaposition of colours, shapes, etc, ... used to create contrast, while the position of particular kinds of objects one upon the other or different kinds of characters in proximity to one another is intended to evoke meaning." My freshman year in college our English professor had us read "Ethan Frome" and we were to write a paper about some aspect of the book and what the author might have been meaning. She gave us a list of topics and I selected the possible meaning of the author's several references to a pickle dish. I bring this up now because it reminds me of trying to create some sort of meaning out of an object that even to this day I am not sure really meant that much. I suspect that while the purposeful use of juxtaposition can be identified in our every day lives, we are, by and large, unaware of it. But it is a major factor in speeches and propaganda, things that we are beginning to be inundated with because of the up-coming election. I would suggest that we might want to learn how to recognize it and to think more seriously about how it is being used by our politicians and their teams so that we are not being unconsciously manipulated. I think one of the most important things we do during this election season, is to question what we see and hear and seek the truth behind them. It may take a little extra time and work on your part, but it will make you a more intelligent voter.

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