September 6, 2005

Your Turn: There's Water and There's The Barrel


Several of you wrote me about this lead image on the NYT website Saturday. 

The on-line caption read: Troops from the National Guard handed out food and supplies this morning at the convention center in New Orleans. The newspaper image accompanied a story about the long-term emotional effects of hurricane Katrina. The caption read: Refugees received food from the National Guard yesterday in new Orleans.  The emotional impact of the disaster will stay with some people for a long time, according to experts.

I was wondering what makes this image so resonant?  Of course, most of your messages referred to the illusion of the gun pointing at the boy.  How much can one realistically draw from this, however, and how fair is it to focus on? 

On the other hand, are there more practical dynamics of militarization? 



For example, is pressure rising on the media to transform the theme of humanitarian crisis into an us-against-them law-and-order story?  …Or is security just a reasonable (if not central) aspect of the situation right now?

(UPDATE 9/7/05 10:41a.m. PST — The latter two images appeared in this mornings NYT’s  Katrina slide show for “Day Nine.”  The first shot shows California national guard troops patrolling Napoean St. in New Orleans.  The second shot shows the creation of a temporary jail at a New Orleans bus station.)

(image 1: Vincent Laforet for the New York Times.  September 4, 2005.  New York Times, p. A20. image 2: Nicole Bengivenu for the New York Times. September 6, 2005. image 3; Chang Lee for the New York Times. September 6, 2005.

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Michael Shaw
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