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November 8, 2013

Twin Towers. Jetliner. Man Leaping.

Maybe I’m too sensitized to political images — and their echoes. Looking at this random news photo, 69th out of 79 in the Lightbox “Pictures of the Week” gallery Friday-before-last, I just keep thinking 9/11 and “The Falling Man” – especially since that image hasn’t got much airing by traditional media until this past year’s anniversary. But the photographer and the editor are banking on us feeling the connection, right?

So, I know I’ve tainted your ability to see this with fresh eyes, but I’m still interested in what you’re thinking.

(photo: Francis R. Malasig—EPA. caption: Oct. 31, 2013. A Filipino boy jumps between apartment type tombs at a public cemetery in Paranaque city, south of Manila, Philippines.)

  • black_dog_barking

    Maybe I’ve moved on. I see: “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

    Moving on.

    • jonst

      maybe its time we all did…….too.

    • bks3bks

      I don’t think I would have tried that jump. But at least Michael has moved beyond using Twitter as the sine qua non of photojournalism.

  • Scarabus

    Come along, guys! Time to move on? Move on from what? to where?

    9/11/01 wasn’t a single self-contained incident, which we can choose to remember, forget, or exploit. It’s just a symbolic marker for the beginning of a disastrous phase of American democracy, a tipping point toward inexorable decline.

    A handful of religious fanatics killed thousands and caused millions of dollars in material damage. That’s what was done to the U.S. by those few Sunni wackos. The rest of the far deeper and more lasting damage to the U.S. has been largely self-inflicted. The Patriot Act (sic!!!), the Department of Homeland Security, torture, war crimes, assassinations, disastrous unprovoked invasions of other nations, runaway NSA, etc.? That didn’t happen once on a single day. That continues to burgeon day by day.

    It happened; it’s over; and we should “move on”? Tell that to the family of the murdered LAX TSA agent.

    OK. Apologies for the rant. I agree we should cease piously to obsess over a single day. I agree that playing endless variations on just a few visual motifs has gone from boring to annoying and way beyond. But! From Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus:

    FAUSTUS. And what are you that live with Lucifer?

    MEPHIST. Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer,
    Conspir’d against our God with Lucifer,
    And are for ever damn’d with Lucifer.

    FAUSTUS. Where are you damn’d?

    MEPHIST. In hell.

    FAUSTUS. How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?

    MEPHIST. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it:[57]

    This is “9/11,” nor are we out of it. We can’t “move on” from it, because it isn’t just a time or a place. It’s a state of being.

    • black_dog_barking

      9/11 is an unofficial “holiday” that still informs our collective perception of the world we live in. Yes, a state of being.

      Tomorrow is an official holiday, marked on my calendar as Veterans’ Day. The general perception of this holiday in my part of the world is that of “bankers’ holiday”, a day off for government employees and banks, a white collar perk.

      It was originally set aside that we might remember the horrors brought down on the “civilized” world by the Great War, that we might somehow turn something truly awful into a lesson for all us for generations to come. At least in my part of the world we’ve moved on from that.

      Well, we should do the same for 9/11 as we’ve done for 11/11/11. But for a different reason, because we took a very wrong lesson from 9/11. Tomorrow at 11am I intend to take two minutes to think about this.

  • anonymous

    /le parkour

  • acm

    I just see parkour. A strange setting. No twin towers or tiny figure falling for me; thanks for the effort to poison me though… ;)

  • Ian

    I definitely see the twin towers; the plane clinches it. I’m not sure we’ll ever move on from this, but I do suspect it’ll lose it’s tragedy as it gets chewed into grist for the culture machine. Case-in-point: I spend a lot of time on tumblr and have seen numerous postings of twin towers photos on young teenagers’ blogs, alongside hipsters smoking pot, high-top sneakers, and young couples making out. (See link below… the ‘tags’ this poster attached to the flaming buildings include “hipster” “grunge” “retro” and “indie”). If you’re a 15-year-old blogger today, you were an infant when 9/11 hit, and to you it’s just a primordial memory from another generation, fodder for your visual identity scrapbook.

    This same thing happens with all disasters… atomic bomb photos? Lana Del Rey with her re-imagination of the JFK assassination? Or the hindenburg?? Led Zeppelin anyone? (And of course this hearkens back to the discussion a few days ago inre: hitler).

    Tumblr post:
    Lana Del Rey / JFK:
    Led Zeppelin:
    Atom bomb:$file/Jesus+Hits+Like+the+Atom+Bomb.jpg

  • Scarabus

    Second the motion.

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