In 2017 a photograph goes viral: three white men in cargo shorts and polos like they just came from a Trump rally, playing a round of golf as a wildfire rages behind them.
‘In the pantheon of visual metaphors for America today, this is the money shot,’ journalist and Wire showrunner David Simon tweets. It scores 193,994 likes. I save the image to my desktop. When I look at it back then, my gaze is drawn to two focal points, the fire and the men, each dangerously oblivious of the other. Five years later when I look at the image I hardly see the men. What stands out is the deep green pigment of the grass. The poplars and firs at the edge of a well-tended fairway are the ‘wild’ in golf terms but are nonetheless tame in contrast to the blazing wilderness beyond. A golf course is a depopulated, managed simulation of nature on which people stage a game you can win.
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