Flower, Power

I’m not familiar with semiotics. Hell, I wouldn’t even be able to comprehend symbology, the field of expertise of the American boffin with the mullet in the Da Vinci Code. Anyway, it so happens the Da Vinci Code is a bit like Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, only awful, and Umberto Eco is probably the world’s only well known semiotician, and he wrote a book called the Name of The Rose. Literature buffs will be familiar with a literary canon heaving with symbolic representations of the rose. Like in Rosemonde by Apollinaire, The Sick Rose by William Blake, and Kiss from A Rose by Seal. A rose can symbolise pretty much anything, from religious purity (e.g. Rosa Mundi – the Virgin Mary) to male and female genitalia. So it’s a pretty versatile flower, even though it can require quite a lot of blood and bone meal to keep it going.

In party politics, the rose is the insignia of parties of labour – examples include the British Labour Party (although that’s not immediately apparent from looking at their website); the Irish Labour Party (the rose does appear, but alas! it looks rather shrunken); and, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) (call that a rose?).

Turns out, anyway, that the rose symbolism has been put to use in a poster campaign for Ogra Partido Popular, or Nuevas Generaciones (New Generations) as they’re called in Spain. Have a full-size butcher’s here.

It is pretty clear that the rose is intended to symbolise the PSOE, but (and this is where some basic knowledge of semiotics might come in useful – feel free to add your own interpretations if the fancy takes you), the intention appears to be to render the PSOE cognate with blindness, subjugation, manipulation, and the bad old days of black and white, replete with Athena prints and dodgy Elvis Costello albums:

Removal of the rose, and by extension, the PSOE, brings liberation, colour, and, by the looks of things, some happy hardcore dance moves. That the liberated individuals look like they were auditioning for a laxative commercial in the ‘liberated’ pic appears to have been missed by the poster designers.

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May 2006
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