Sunday, December 21, 2003

flawed truth

"This front page of Al-Moutamar newspaper published in Baghdad on Thursday shows a picture of Saddam Hussein, shaven and in captivity, sitting on the floor across from Ahmed Chalabi, a member of Iraq's American-picked Governing Council."
this is how the Fort Worth Dallas News captions this pic.
but look at the pic - Chalabi is obviously sitting on a stool, and Saddam, equally obviously, is sitting on a low stool, but Chalabi is elevated because his stool is perched on a step up from the floor of the cell - the iconography of reversed status is quite well enough established by that visual statement without having to embellish it with petty, obvious untruths. saddam is not sitting on the floor, in lowly abasement before his captors, but that's how this newspaper wants us to remember this picture, and that's how the american media have been bamboozling the citizens of that poor benighted land throughout this tragic set of misadventures - by feeding the collective fantasy of moral outrage against this monstrous dictator, and thereby disguising the unacceptable truth about this black episode in american history. one only has to look at this pic with eyes undazzled by the hype to realise that the caption is untrue - not mistaken, untrue, because picture editors are not stupid - but it's the notion conveyed in the caption that matters, so it becomes true enough, because it's what we want to see, therefore unquestionably true.

No comments: