Friday, September 09, 2011

Opposite views from opposite sides of the pond

No matter where you turn in the media, there are a LOT of people offering up a 9/11-related post this week. Here's mine ...

"Beauty," Margaret Hungerford once suggested, "is in the eyes of the beholder." I suspect the same could be said for icons ... which is how I feel about my disagreement with Britain's Jonathan Jones over a photo taken that day by photographer Thomas Hoepker, an image that, according to Jones, "is becoming one of the iconic photos of 9/11."

I disagree.

"It is now established as one of the defining photographs of that day," Jones writes. "With the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Centre's destruction approaching, the Observer Review republished it this August as the 9/11 photograph."

You can see the photo in question, and read Jones' complete post
HERE. I've read it more than once, as well as the spirited discussion launched by the post. And I found myself agreeing with a number of the commenters who stated that, for all its supposed importance, for all its iconic status, this was the first time any of us had even seen the photo. In the foreground, a group of New Yorkers sit chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn - apparently unmoved by the huge column of smoke rising from Manhattan, just across the water, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Some have embraced the idea of their apparent nonchelance, and not just on the other side of the Atlantic ... Jones' post includes a quote from the New York Times' Frank Rich, who suggested "
The young people in Mr. Hoepker's photo aren't necessarilly callous. They're just American."

But you know what? So were the people who show up in some of MY iconic photos of that day ... especially the firefighters ... there has always been a special place in my heart and my prayers for firefighters, as there should be in the hearts and prayers of us all ... those rushing into the towers of the World Trade Center, and up the stairwells, even as the WTC rumbled and fell ... FDNY Chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge who remained in the lobby of the north tower, offering aid and prayers until he was killed in the tower's collapse ... and those who found a way to pursue their simple, daily routine of raising the American flag, even in this setting of terrible carnage.

Anyway, ten years later, those remain among the iconic images of that terrible day ... at least for this beholder.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Company I Keep ...

Among those born on this day are Queen Elizabeth the First (1558), painter Grandma Moses (1860), financier John Pierpont Morgan, Jr. (1837), novelist Taylor Caldwell (1900), heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey (1908), astronomer/space scientist James Alfred Van Allen (1914), football coach/owner Paul Brown (1908), film director/producer Elia Kazan (1909), jazz musician Sonny Rollins (1930), singer Gloria Gaynor (1949), and West Texas' very own rock legend, Charles Hardin "Buddy" Holly (1936) .....
..... oh, yeah ..... and me (1957).