The cost of learning

Neo Neocon talks about a Gestalt prompted by a random link to the story behind two famous Vietnam War photographs. Things clicked. The idea that the presentation of the photographs was a part of an insidious agenda was placed in context of many other such propaganda moments in succeeding adventures.

Why did I only remember seeing photos that portrayed what we, or our allies, had done—photos stripped of all context and meant to maximize our feelings of wrongdoing? Photos that emphasized the victimhood of a Viet Cong terrorist, or made it seem as though we were targeting civilians when the civilians were actually being put at risk by the aggressive actions of the enemy in attacking and occupying a village?

And how was it that it had taken me thirty years to become aware of any of this?

It seemed possible that this a pattern of deceit and/or purposefully misleading omissions, one I could no longer deny.

The fact is that we depend upon others for much of our view of the world. These others have their own predispositions or perhaps even their own goals and agendas. The photojournalist has an powerful means of presenting that agenda, one that goes directly to the emotions first without the pause of words gaining meaning. It behooves us to remember this and to make sure we understand the story behind the picture as well as the picture itself if we want to avoid a journey on a false path.

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