CLICKME for Gopnik's essay comparing the images of death of Jesus vs. Gaddafi

Pornography is only part of the story of these two pictures.

Blake Gopnik

To my Christian-trained eyes, there’s huge pathos in these images, regardless of the monster they show. Since the Middle Ages at least, Western image-making has had the sight of greatness, cast down and bloodied, right at its heart. Before any war was caught in pictures, before any artist had even painted a subject from life, Europeans already had images of a great figure – the Christ himself, King of Kings and God of Gods, as Handel has us sing in Messiah – tortured and strung up and then finally slaughtered. It goes without saying that Gaddafi himself was perfectly evil and un-Christ-like. Anyone who believes in hell imagines him there now. But our Western eyes aren’t as smart as our morals: They see those photos of Gaddafi, alive and suffering and then as a blasted corpse, and head straight to the crucifixion scenes that are the bedrock of our visual culture.

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