July 22, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Penn State Joe Paterno Statue Removal Photo


If you were tracking the social media on Sunday morning, surely you stumbled or tumbled across this TweetPic from CenterDaily.com. It shows the famous Joe Paterno statue being hauled away. (Our Friday “key edits of the week” post actually included a shot of the statue captured in a way that strangely presaged Sunday’s action.)

Just afterwards, I came upon a tweet referencing the photo from Jim Roberts (@nytjim), the Managing Editor of the New York Times, that read:

Jim Roberts Paterno tweet

It seems clear from Jim’s takeaway (pardon the pun) he didn’t get the full anthropomorphic hit of the image. Now I wouldn’t go this far, but when I saw this snapshot of Joe Pa’s removal, what immediately crossed my mind is: He didn’t go willingly!

Of course, the finger in the air while “he’s being hauled off” reads like an act of pride — and defiance. (Still number one!) That, I have to imagine, is mostly what the die-hard defenders of the coach, and certainly, of the statue, are going to read in the picture. Especially for the former, the key to the photo is the tarp (or the blanket, actually). Akin to images stored in our brains of some target stolen away bound and hooded, what the photo stirs up for the faithful is nothing short of an abduction.

(photo 1: twitter.com/centredailycom. linked photo: Reuters/Al Iraqiya. Baghdad. December 30, 2006. file photo)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus