August 25, 2011

Gaddafi's Taste for Rice

Well, I like how they photographed Gaddafi’s Condi Rice scrapbook on top of a flowery mattress in the dictator’s compound. Certainly plays up the pervy-ness. I don’t think it’s such an innocent move, though, even if it was the nearest thing to shoot the binder on.

In the last BagNews Salon, my take — looking at the military’s photos of Osama bin Ladin’s bed during the Abbottabad raid — was that part of the logic in circulating this intimate image was to “strip” OBL of his powerful, militant as well as ascetic identity.

As I said, in regards to this photo:

What’s been at the top of my mind about the coverage [of the death of bin Laden] as a dominant theme is how much the attack on New York and bringing down the towers was a blow to the American ego. It seems to me that a lot of the coverage of bin Laden’s death is … almost an attempt to emasculate bin Laden or an attempt to show him as how someone who is hyper-sexual … as opposed to someone who adhered to Muslim values. So there was a lot of talk of how many wives he had and that he was with the youngest wife … and the fact that he had a porn collection. So … it’s very fascinating in a way, also very hard to look at and talk about, but so much of the American ego and emasculating bin Laden seems to be in a lot of these images.

Maybe this is why, as murderous as Gaddafi is and was, we only see him portrayed in the West as a buffoon.

(photo: Ammar Abd Rabbo / Abaca. caption: Rebels examine a photo album of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which was found in Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, Libya, on August 24.)

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Michael Shaw
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