Hillary Clinton shimming with delight at the first presidential debate of 2016.

A Critical Analysis Of Gifs: Debate Night Shimmy

On September 28th, 2016 in Critique

One of the wonderful things about gifs is how they capture moments. Photographs and movies can capture moments too, sure. However, the former is often a piece of a moment, dependent on the imperfection of memory to fill in the blanks and the latter, though it provides the entire moment, is buried under a mountain of lead-up and exposition and after-the facts.

Gifs, on the other hand, highlight the moment by definition . They are only the moment. A good gif will not be dependent on the surrounding context which created it.

Knowledge of context may enhance enjoyment of a gif, but, often, the moment will be recognizable as an echo of a shared human experience. Anger, joy, lust, confusion, etc. Intense emotional moments are a common choice to gif, as evidenced by their circulation as the ubiquitous Reaction Gifs™.

All this is to say, that is what we see in this gif.

It is a moment of intense joy, the thrill of being in your element and knowing it. She is a batter realizing the pitcher has given her a free home run. She is a viking warrior about to strike down her opponent. She is playing a casual game of lawn chess and her opponent just did exactly what she wanted them to.

The context: she is a brilliant woman shaking off the dirt being shoveled on to her by thousands of years of patriarchy. She has spent decades building a career and today Hillary Rodham Clinton is running to be President of the United States of America. She does not know if she will win in November but she knows she is about to crush this moment on the national stage.