March 3, 2011

And Hitler Had a Funny Mustache: How to Look at TIME's "Crazy Clothes" Gaddafi Slideshow

I have to say, the edit on this “funny clothes” TIME Gaddafi photo-gallery is great, and the photos — this one, in particular — are luscious. But then, what about the overall tone — reflected by the title and captions?

I hate to spoil the party but the Western media has got to get sober when it comes to the dictator.

Sure, Libya — to most people — is who-knows-where exactly, and guys like Kim Jong il are great for giggles and funny pictures, but really, let’s stop and really consider what it means to run a piece like this now, entertaining how much this garment is “great for hiding mustard stains” at the exact same time this guy’s mercenaries and murderous thugs are going house-to-house in Tripoli and he’s using his air force to strafe his own people. God help us, and clever caption writers, too, if tomorrow’s news brings us mustard gas.

Bottom line, though, the simple question is — is Gaddafi to be treated like a funny joke and the media’s piñata, or is he to be looked at hard for what he is —  a certifiable madman, a bleeding sore on the face of humanity and a, right now, a very live threat? Because, I don’t see that much difference between the media letting him do his thing as long as he makes for good copy and the world letting him do his thing as long as he keeps open the petrol station.

Slideshow: Gaddafi Fashion: The Emperor Has Some Crazy Clothes

(photo: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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