[lbo-talk] Memorial Day

Jerry Monaco monacojerry at gmail.com
Mon May 28 09:57:50 PDT 2007

On 5/28/07, Carl Remick <carlremick at hotmail.com> wrote:
> The caption of this photo reads: "The
> country began its Memorial Day observances. Mary McHugh visited the grave
> of
> her fiancé, Sgt. James J. Regan, who was killed in Iraq." But Ms. McHugh
> isn't shown just visiting the grave -- she's shown lying, extended,
> face-down on the grave in what can only be described as a romantic
> embrace.
> I have seen many horrifying scenes of intense misery throughout this war,
> but I have seen no sight more sorrowful than that of this young woman
> prostrate with grief on the grave of her dead lover.
> The photo is at
> <http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/05/27/world/28vigil-2-337.jpg>
> Carl

Don't you think that choosing this photo of _sexualized_ grief, a representation of almost visceral necrophiliac desire, is in fact a piece of propaganda? And not only is it propaganda it is also an intrusion on grief and true mourning? Turns grief into kitsch. Yeah the photo breaks my heart, but with a little thought I feel manipulated and a dirty for allowing myself to be manipulated. Ms. McHugh had her own reasons for giving her name so that this photo could run. But do you think, the New York Times would have published it if instead of a young woman laying her body on the grave, instead there was a fat old man with bare feet laying down on the grave of his son? So imagine all the other photos that the New York Times wouldn't take because it would not be "pretty", would not fit the propaganda purposes of providing a young beautiful female Orphic-image morning her mortal lover. Nobody questions the power of this image to evoke sympathy but I keep on asking, why did the New York Times picture a big angry fat Italian mama wailing her eyes out with big open mouth.. an image I am familiar with. (You can substitute any other image of grief from your own ethnic background if you like.) Because that image would not be so decorous or beautiful, or sexualized.

I hate the lies and superstitions of Memorial days. These lives we remember were wasted and the people's whose lives we remember in turn wasted other lives, and how do we factor this waste into our grief?

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-- Jerry Monaco's Philosophy, Politics, Culture Weblog is Shandean Postscripts to Politics, Philosophy, and Culture http://monacojerry.livejournal.com/

His fiction, poetry, weblog is Hopeful Monsters: Fiction, Poetry, Memories http://www.livejournal.com/users/jerrymonaco/

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