Monday, September 07, 2009

How Many Words is a Picture Worth?

Check out an angry Fred Reed. An excerpt:
The web is covered in stink today because of a reporter for the Associated Press, Julie Jacobson, who photographed the death of a Marine whose legs had just been blown off. The kid was Joshua Bernard, a Lance Corporal of 21 years. When the photo appeared, Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense [sic] furiously tried to get the AP to quash the photo. It didn’t, to its everlasting credit.

[ ... ]

Photographs are death to a war, boys and girls. They can asphyxiate a war faster than roadside bombs can even dream. Gates does not want the sprawling somnolent inattentive beast, the public, to see what his wars really are.

In wars, there are many enlightening things to see. For example, the Marine with a third of his face and half a lung, going ku-kuk-kuk as red gunch rolls out of his mouth and he drowns in his blood. Ruined or dying teenagers whimpering the trinity of the badly wounded: Mother, wife, and water. The brain-shot guy jerking like an epileptic as he tries not to die. Ever see brain tissue from gunshot? I have. It makes a pink spew across the ground. Like strawberry chiffon.

[ ... ]

Next to keeping the public quiescent, keeping the troops (and potential recruits) bamboozled is vital. If a high-school kid saw what awaited, if he saw the cartilage glistening in wrecked joints, he wouldn’t sign.

Do I think that the press should publish such photos? Not yes but hell yes on afterburner. Every time an editor covers for the Pentagon, every time papers refuse to show the charred bodies still ... slowly ... moving, the dead children, the ... never mind. The effect is to ensure that more kids will die the same way. And the press almost always does exactly this. We are a trade of whores and shills. Except that whores give value for money. The press kills our children.
And -- let's not forget! -- other people's children, too.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. An honest man is hard to find.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again. I did an article about his post.

Jim Wetzel said...

Thank you for your kind words. Mr. Reed often makes me cringe with the way he writes and what seems to me to be a gratuitous appeal to the reader's lower nature, but you're right: he's honest, and that's both unusual and very powerful.

TW said...

Personally, I don't think graphically showing the horrors of war is any better than showing the horrors of a Texas chainsaw massacre, rape-murder, or any other horrendous killing or maiming that occurs in real life. If you show one you'll end up having to show them all. They'll be no limits on anything. Pornography included. The flood gates will be opened.

You think maybe it would work for abortion? I might be able to get behind that one.

The majority of the U.S. and the world's citizens aren't smart enough to examine, digest, and evaluate these sorts of pictures in a rational manner. If they were, we wouldn't have crime and war to begin with.

TW said...

BTW, that Marine Joshua Bernard that was killed was a member of the same Company of Marines as the neighborhood kid Marine named Sott who I've been sending "care" packages to for the last 4 months. Different platoon, but the same Company. One of Scott's friends was killed in June as well. His name was Joshua too. Joshua R. Whittle stepped on a mine and died June 6th 2009. They hadn't been there long by that date. I'm closely following Scott's outfit and keeping in touch with him via email. Your prayers for Scott and his fellow Marines would be most appreciated.