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March 14, 2009

Your Turn: Barbie Celebrates Her Big Five-Oh

Eddie_Adams Barbie.jpg

by contributor John Lucaites

Eddie Adams’ infamous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner in the middle of a Saigon street is among a small handful of photographs regularly referred to when one considers the Vietnam War.

As with so many other iconic photographs, it retains its symbolic value through mass circulation and reproduction as it is appropriated, performed, and parodied according to particular cultural and political interests. I was recently reminded of the ubiquity of such usages by a collection of examples at the site, A quick Google search turned up still others, including the one above by an artist named minipliman.

I leave it to you to interpret this image as it marks that key cultural event this year, the mass media celebration of Barbie’s fiftieth birthday.

Adapted from a post at No Caption Need. Other NCN posts regarding the Eddie Adams photo can be found here, here, and here.

(image 1 Eddie Adams/AP. image 2: © 2009 by minipliman at

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