Monday, December 3, 2007


The Sontag article was about the photographs that had emerged from the prison in Abu Ghraib. She discussed how our politicians would dance around terms like “torture” and not address the actual issues that were present behind the photos and were only “outraged” by the photos themselves. She makes comparisons to lynchings, Rwanda, and other places where torture has taken place. She also talks about what kind of place America really is and that we basically get off on torturing others like in video games and frat hazings, etc., and how it seems to be incorporated into our everyday lives. In other times like the Holocaust the torturers were rarely photographed next to those being tortured (unlike the Abu Ghraib photos). Also, she talks about how digital photography makes these images so much more accessible, and that every soldier has a digital camera, and how editing has a lot to do with what we think is really happening. (Like cropping and how many images the press released cropped out how many soldiers were actually present during these times.) Digital cameras also mean that these images wont stop and are being constantly taken and will continue to leak out of the war.

Zizek’s piece was about the attacks on 9-11 and the repercussions they had on American mentality. Americans seemed to be in a state of mind that was “unreal”, and he compares this state of mind to the movie The Matrix, or The Truman Show. But after 9-11, American’s suddenly woke up to the notion that this really could happen to them, and now have experienced what people around the world have experienced every day for all of history (and continue to today.) He compares this to other Hollywood films, and that 9-11 just seemed to affirm American’s destructive fantasies. He also points out that things like this do happen in the US every day in the forms of crime against other Americans, but we don’t tend to see it that way or notice it.

The Junod article was about the “Falling Man” picture taken on 9-11. It went over all the mass media surrounding the image: where it was printed, how it outraged people, the debate whether it should be shown, as well as other art being made around 9-11 and the controversy around it too. I couldn’t help but think about the other two articles and their implications about Americans and their voyeurism when it comes to violence. But this one seemed to be much more of a “train wreck” scenario: we know we shouldn’t look but we can’t help it—as opposed to the other articles where we just get off on it. The article also goes over the search for the identification of the person in the photograph, and how many people who’s son/father/brother/friend it may be are curious as to whether it is but none of them want to identify him or even want him to be the man in the photo. Junod debates whether this image is ethical or not and basically recaps all the debate around whether it is or not and whether the man should even be identified.

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