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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dept of Weeping Women

posted by on June 10 at 9:34 AM

Huynh Cng t, the same guy who took this photo:


Took this one:


[Insert hilarious, cringe-making joke here.]

Thanks to tipper Jonah.

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fucking amazing.

Posted by wf | June 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Even better, I read he took them on the same day -- June 8th -- 35 years apart.

Posted by jaci | June 10, 2007 10:34 AM

True story:

On Friday night, over cocktails with Steinbacher, I was introduced to a young woman, in town on a visit from Los Angeles. I jokingly asked if she was sorry to be missing her hometowns latest Hilton media circus. I then prodded Bradley to relay this little bit of mind-boggling coincidence, which he had shared with me earlier in the evening.

The pretty young woman (early 20s, tan, blonde, glossy lips, thin) politely listened to the details. She very clearly recognized Paris Hilton (early 20s, tan, blonde, glossy lips, thin) but had absolutely no clue about the Pulitzer Prize-winning image taken exactly 35 years ago to the day, by the very same man.

She knew nothing of the image of a naked young girl, fleeing a Napalm attack. She could not recall ever seeing one of the most widely viewed images of modern day human suffering.

It was an uncomfortable moment and, after an explanation of the image was patiently given, she offered her analysis. I dont go on the internet very much, she said.

Brad and I then did what any rational human being would do in such a situation: we got drunk.

Posted by kerri harrop | June 10, 2007 11:21 AM

ignorance is no excuse for alcoholism. oh, wait. yes it is.

Posted by adrian! | June 10, 2007 11:31 AM

I like people who are ignorant of history and the internet. The LA woman sounds cool, probably a fan of Banksy (not that she'll ever say).

Posted by Garrett | June 10, 2007 11:55 AM

a Slog post well worth reading ..... thanks

Posted by WELL NOW... | June 10, 2007 12:20 PM

The Wikipedia link is incorrect. It should be:

Posted by MC | June 10, 2007 12:31 PM

kerri harrop @ 3,

One of my partner's co-workers, a college graduate in her 20's, had no idea who Dick Cheney is (!).

No joke, I almost fell over.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 10, 2007 12:50 PM

A former co-worker of mine, college-educated, has a shitload of professional certifications (I thought the point of college was not to train you for a career but to make a well-rounded person)... she had no clue what the Dead Sea Scrolls were.

At least once a week me and other co-workers would be discussing current events, or the war, or something topical, and she'd turn to us with a blank look and say "Huh? Wha...?"

If it is not printed in Cosmo, it did not happen in her world.

Posted by Dr_Awesome | June 10, 2007 1:15 PM

Holy shit! @ #3 Kerri Harrop's story. Freakin' hilarious.

Posted by It Warms My Heart To See Paris Cry About Jail | June 10, 2007 1:17 PM

Dead Sea Scrolls?!? What about the Flying Spagetti Moster Tablets? Any of you fancy pants philosophy/theology majors ever read those? In the original Klingon?

Posted by Big Sve | June 10, 2007 2:14 PM

That photo is horrible. You might all hate me for being ignorant, but is there a reason that girl was completely naked?

And is it just me, or is it sort of sad that that photographer has gone from photographing children being tortured during wars to photographing Paris Hilton crying?

Posted by J | June 10, 2007 3:22 PM

the viewer presumes she is naked because she's running from her village which is being napalmed. perhaps she was taking a shower or peeing or changing her clothes when the bombing started.

But Huynh Cng t taking both of these phoots?

Posted by call me a snot | June 10, 2007 3:55 PM

J, the reason the girl is completely naked is because her clothes were on fire as a result of a napalm attack on her village during the Vietnam war. She tore them off or she would have died. The children are all crying because they are fleeing their burning village. This is one of the most famous photos taken during the Vietnam war. It won a Pulitzer prize, and is often credited for helping turn the tide of public opinion against the war.

Napalm. Fun stuff.

Posted by SDA in SEA | June 10, 2007 3:56 PM

Why is it so amazing that this photographer took Hilton's picture 35 years to the day after he took the other picture?

The Vietnam War picture is significant for the reasons discussed at 14. How is a picture of a maladjusted, tear-smeared millionaire getting hauled off to jail remotely comparable? Because they're all crying? Seems a tenuous link at best.

Posted by I don't get it | June 10, 2007 4:39 PM

I'm just sorry that a famous, decorated photographer like Ut can't get a real job. Papparazzi are fucking scum. A little napalm on the photographer scrum would hit the mark.

Posted by Fnarf | June 10, 2007 4:51 PM

To Fnarf @ 16: He (Ut) still works for the AP (i.e. he still has a "real job"), so technically he's not a papparazzo. You might say it's sad that the Paris Hilton debacle is considered newsworthy enough for the AP and sadder that Ut's talents are being squandered, but he hardly qualifies as "fucking scum." I'm guessing he's taking the soft news assignments so he can have more time with his family. Maybe such bourgeois ideals are worthy of a round of napalm, but I'm not so sure...

Posted by buzzkill | June 10, 2007 8:22 PM

I met someone the other day who didn't know that trivial knowledge makes you a better person in the eyes of Jesus.

I tell ya, it takes all kinds!!

Posted by jamier | June 10, 2007 8:47 PM

What, all this carping and no cringe-inducing jokes?

How about: "Boy, that Huynh Cng t really knows despair when he sees it."


Posted by northbound | June 10, 2007 10:46 PM

cynical and jaded fnarf is spouting/grouching more often these days, sad, for a while I thought he was intelligent

news photos are a reflection of the action at the moment, like it or not like it, Paris is celeb news --- oh, celeb news in America, for the first time, I guess, eh, fnarf

Posted by Freddy | June 11, 2007 6:48 AM

Wow, seriously?

That is stunning.
I'll tell you why it's interesting to me, IDGI; Fnarf and buzzkill are close. That someone who has seen and been able to capture one even has interest or has to be made to witness the other... What's shocking is the gulf between the two: in location, in quality, in situation, culturally, in value, in importance....

Reminds me of something my boyfriend and I were talking about yesterday regarding Ms. Hilton. I made fun of her screaming in court and then immediately felt bad. Grief/suffering within each human is relative to experience. If you think about her cushy life, relative to anything else she's experienced this is serious tragedy. It's almost humorous to everyone else, and seems nothing compared to the trials of thousands of LA residents around her, but her pain, inside, is real and hurts as much as the next person. I can't really feel sorry for her because her situation relative to mine is unequal, but pain is pain. Maybe the photographer knows something I don't yet.

That makes me uncomfortable, as I share very little experience with either Hilton or a bunch of napalmed kids, but I know grief and suffering, as do you. We don't know each other's. So what happens to relative weight?

Posted by tamara | June 11, 2007 8:50 AM
Posted by elswinger | June 11, 2007 9:21 AM

Serves those kids right for driving drunk!

Posted by Jonabend | June 11, 2007 11:26 AM

Ignorance on display, astounding. This post was fairly self-explanatory and simple, as was post 3, but people's reactions to both are amazing to me. What's not to get? First: The guy who got one of the most famous photos of one of the more important times in recent history has now taken one of the most famous photos of an utterly unimportant piece of fake news, and this is kind of mind-blowing. Hence the post. Kerri Harrop's friend was oblivious to something everyone in the USA should have seen by now. So she got drunk. Again, perfectly self-explanatory and reasonable. People's reactions to these: Big Sve (11) thinks it's acceptable for someone to not know what the dead sea scrolls are just because the Bible is mythology, and insults previous posters with his sarcasm on it. Hey dumbass- Some mythology is actually important for people to know about. I'm not saying everyone needs to read the Dead Sea scrolls, but not knowing what they are IS incredibly fucking ignorant. Then J (12): Yes, I hate you for being ignorant. Also, your second question is just reiterating the point of the original post. It's like someone came up to you and said "The sky is blue" and you said "Isn't the sky blue?"... Then "Idon't get it" (15) says "How is it...remotely comparable?" It isn't and that was the point, genius. WTF, people? Next jamier (18) makes a post that casts all this stuff as trivial knowledge. Vietnam is HISTORY, Paris Hilton is trivia.
I guess aside from that, the replies to the post weren't bad. But seriously, 11,12,15, & 18 make me want to never again read post replies on the slog. I get enough evidence of American Stupid every day without this sort of thing. Adios.

Posted by christopher | June 11, 2007 12:21 PM

I don't think punch lines are advisable as captions to these photos. Nevertheless, I think what is noteworthy about these photos, beyond the fact that they were taken by the same extraordinary photographer, is that the anguish on the faces of Paris and the little girl whose clothes were literally burned off (along with most of her skin, eventually) are nearly identical. The juxtaposition is poetry--one child's despair caused by her own, spoiled, holier-than-thou, child-of-privilege behavior; the other's caused by an agent of an unjust war.

In the little girl's own words (courtesy of Wikipedia):

"'Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine,' said Kim Phuc, a napalm bombing survivor known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. 'Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius.' Phuc sustained third-degree burns to half her body and was not expected to live. But thanks to assistance from South Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut, and after surviving a 14-month hospital stay and 17 operations, she became an outspoken peace activist."

Posted by SB | June 11, 2007 12:31 PM

P.S. That the 20-somethings of the world cannot recognize the napalm photo or its historical importance is admittedly distressing. Never fear, however, because her generation will have (already has) its own set of horrifically recognizable photos from another unjust war.

Posted by SB | June 11, 2007 12:35 PM

Way to raise the level of discourse, Christopher.

My post, intelligibly responded to by Tamara, simply asks why people believe this to be so remarkable. The guy is a career photographer. He reacts to the events around him and chronicles them. It doesn't amaze me that some of those events are worlds apart in significance or that this photographer has captured images at both ends of the spectrum. It's his job and his artistic medium. To me, it is not "mind-blowing."

So, that's it. Nothing to get too fired up about, Christopher. Life goes on.

To anyone who is going to feel sadness as a result of Christopher not reading the comments anymore, my apologies - you can blame me. After all, Christopher has weighed in and your responses "weren't bad." Sounds like there's room for improvement, but, on the whole, good job everyone.

Posted by I don't get it | June 11, 2007 12:56 PM

They're both great photos, but for completely different reasons. And it is neat that it was the same photographer who took it, on the very same day 35 years prior.

But why are people criticizing Ut for that? Most of the people posting here are younger than the amount of time that has lapsed since the two photos were taken. If I had been doing the same type of work 35 years later, I'd probably a) be quite old, and b) want to relax a bit in the cozier world of photographing rich celebrities rather than war scenes, too.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 11, 2007 1:05 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:46 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:47 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 3:47 PM

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