Saturday, December 22, 2012

Versus | Roland Martin
Emmitt Till v The Newtown 20
When is a photograph necessary?

My actual comment to Roland Martin, on CNN's site:


Mr Martin (yeah, I know your a priest or a reverend or something, but you don't warrant my time to look it up): I think I know more about "lynchings" than you do, because I carry "lynch" as a last name, and as a very responsible photographer, I wanted to learn all I could, and see all I could see, about "lynchings" (also known as barbecues, depending on exactly how far the crime was taken). I know all about the photo postcards which were taken, processed, and sold as souvenirs, and I myself am shocked that within my lifetime (I was born in 1960) "lynchings" still took place. And I know all, or at least 90% of the "iconic" photographs of lynchings, the race riots, the marches, Rosa Parks on the bus and all the rest of them. And, as a matter of fact, I happen to also like extreme horror movies (lately termed "torture porn") for some odd reason. Battles between good and evil ("The Exorcist"), vampires (Dark Shadows), and the "end of the earth" or "planet invasion" movies just don't cut it for me anymore. Yes, I live less than 20 minutes from Newtown, and about 10 minutes away from Cheshire, where a senseless home invasion resulted in the horrid deaths of a mother (who was raped), a daughter (who was raped, tied to her bed and burned), and her sister (who was also tied to her bed, and burned) although the husband, a doctor, was spared. So yes, I've seen home invasion horror movies ("why are you doing this to us?" begged one woman in one scene in one movie, only to hear as a response from a hooded person "because you were home.") Do I have a problem reading the paper and the stories of actual carnage, only to burn through a couple of hard core, extreme DVDs at night? Yes, and I wonder why. But you, Reverend Martin, I find repulsive and unprofessional and intrusive on CNN. I "put up with you" because I can't "erase" your segments. Why CNN promotes an obviously homophobic African-American of little class and keeps a true pro named Don Lemon in the shadows is beyond me. When civilians and military were captured and tortured by having their heads sawed off, and then posted to YouTube, did you watch? Did you need to watch in order "to believe" evil existed? I wonder. I didn't watch. I had respect for the soldiers and the civilians who found themselves in some awful position in an effort to promote democracy throughout the world. I don't need to have some family in Newtown CT take a clinical forensic autopsy (or "in situ") photograph and have it splattered all across every paper in the world, because we both know that would be the end result. They have suffered enough. And, before I forget, I took not one photo during 9/11, Hurricane Andrew, Gianni Versace enjoyed his café cubano on South Beach...nor would I take one photo in Newtown. Does this make me a less professional photographer? Perhaps. But I know I am not a vulture.
And I know the Emmitt Till photograph(s) quite well. I've known them for years. They rank up there with the My Lai Massacre, Nick Ut's photograph of the naked girl, running, covered in napalm, Eddie Adam's Cambodian war photo of a man's face when the trigger was pulled. There are far too many of these photographs, and they will stay burned in my mind forever.
And now for something completely different, I wonder how much you really know of Robert Mapplethorpe and his photographs of nude black men, and his impact on the history of art by elevating the nude black man in the art world's pedestal. If you know that much, do you know what Mapplethorpe said to them, and did to them, in private? Serious racism clouded by an indescribable beauty.
I know the Tweet you "slipped" on SuperBowl weekend. And I'll never forget the day you had to show American Morning your "sandals without socks." Vulgar. Just tacky and vulgar.
To me? You are a pimp who is permitted to blabber on and on and on, and you make no contribution to a sane discussion of anything you set your sights on.
And when you're ready for a real class in the history of photography? Then you can look me up. You might learn a thing or three.
To quote George Michael: "did you cover your eyes when they told you?"
Respectfully.
Bernard M Lynch Jr
@ibernard




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