May 2, 2009

The "X" Factor

This photo was taken day-before-yesterday by Spencer Platt, the fine Getty photographer. In the foreground, we see an investigation scene in Brooklyn after a policeman was reportedly attacked and civilians were shot in the aftermath. (See caption below.) Behind it is a well-centered and foreboding ad for the movie “X-Men Origins.”

My question — considering the aggressiveness of the poster and the way the Wolverine blades, in particular, seem to meld with the stabbing-and-shooting investigation (especially the way the bald detective in the foreground sticks his hand out) — is: to what extent is Spencer borrowing from the background to reflect on societal violence, and to what extent is he leveraging the shooting and Hollywood’s “dance with the dark side” to more simply produce a sensational image?

(slightly edited 5/3 9:50 am PST)

(image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images. caption: Members of the New York Police Department investigate a police-involved shooting on April 30, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Two people were reportedly shot at the Crown Heights-Utica Avenue station when a male stabbed a police officer in the shoulder with a screwdriver, prompting shots being fired, according to police. The suspect was shot in the leg and transported to Kings County Hospital. Another individual was shot in the chest, according to reports, but by whom was not clear. The person’s condition was not immediately available.)

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Michael Shaw
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