The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, September 15, 2008


Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club writes brilliantly about Atlantic photographer Jill Greenberg's doctoring of photographs she took of John McCain. What is powerful about this piece is not merely Greenberg's treachery, or the media's unmasking--but what it says about our culture and the tectonic--if not apocalyptic shift which may be coming to a head:
Gerard van der Leun’s article on photographer Jill Greenberg’s decision to use of her Atlantic assigment to take pictures of John McCain so that she could digitally alter and post them on her website focuses on her unprofessional behavior. Professional behavior, is of course, another word for customary behavior in a particular profession. Gerard explains that what Greenberg did was not the done thing. But custom is changing. The question is why. Gerard writes:

“I imagine that Ms. Greenberg was in full charm mode with Senator McCain at the same time she was executing her little partisan plot. Indeed, I am certain she was nothing other than sweetness and light to him. What she was doing was quite another thing, a vile thing. Simply put, it was betrayal for a cheap political frisson for her.

Then Greenberg extended the betrayal to her Client, The Atlantic. She either did not deliver all the images of the shoot to the client or she began to manipulate them for her own uses as seen above. In this digital age, she probably ftp’d the images to The Atlantic, kept the originals on her own system, and then made the cheap and disgusting photoshops seen above.

I’m not sure how the art director of The Atlantic, Jason Treat, feels about this, even though I have written him requesting a reply. Still, during the years that I hired and worked with illustrative photographers, product photographers, news photographers, and fashion photographers in London and New York City, my art directors and myself always got all the film to review. Depending on the contract, the film would or would not go back to the photographer. When digital came it, it was always understood that the out-takes or images we commissioned and paid for would be kept confidential by the photographer — as specified in the rights agreement. At the very least, we would have exclusive use of them for a considerable period of time.”

Whatever restraint — or pretense to restraint — that has not already been abandoned in political discourse is going out the window. For reasons sociologists best understand, the peculiar mix of candidates and issues in the 2008 Presidential elections has proved particularly combustible. Polite argument is now very difficult at least in the public space. Whether the topic is Barack Obama or Sarah Palin, political discussion is now only possible at near apoplectic intensity. Sometimes extreme feelings and deep anxiety are the product of a subconscious realization that the old order is ending; that the time-honored rules no longer apply. In the financial arena at least, recent events on Wall Street have proved that the immovably solid can be ephemeral. Bear Stearns is gone. Lehmann Brothers is tottering. Merill Lynch? Check back next week.

The media industry is also undergoing a revolution. The New York Times ain’t what it used to be. Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman are the new, perishable faces of network broadcast journalism. They will not be missed; but the loss of the sense of permanance may have brought an air of desperation, and with it a kind of wild abandon. Jill Greenberg shoots covers for magazines. Who can say how many of them will be left in five years? This uncertainty suggests that despite the slogan of “change” what many really hanker for is certitude; for the time when when it was easier to be sure of your paycheck and moral superiority; for the easy condescending civility and the reluctance to waste anger on cultural yokels. Things are in flux and people are nervous. Gerard van der Leun calls the picture of the chimp a portrait of Greenberg’s soul. But maybe it’s really a snapshot of where her ambitions and aspirations are going.

When one considers: what is happening with the media and culture in our country; the hardening of the American Left and its desperate moves to consolidate power--both here and elsewhere in the Americas; the worlds financial systems teetering on the brink; Russia marching into neighboring democracies; Islamic terror plots being carried out or else exposed in all corners of the globe, even as Iran continues to make its nukes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the World is as unstable as it has been at any point of my lifetime.

And to this mix we want to add Barack Obama???

The World has gone mad.

UPDATE: It seems that Ms. Greenberg has quite the seedy past--so what is she doing shooting McCain for the Atlantic?? It doesn't get any sicker than this:

Jill Greenberg disgraced her profession well before The Atlantic hired her.

A simple Google search would have turned up my post and posts by many professional photographers disgusted by what she did in 2004 and put on exhibit in 2006. This woman deliberately terrorized children, stripped them, ordered parents to “step out of the studio for a couple minutes” in concerted attempts to make children cry who were not cooperating, and then captioned the photos of the children with anti-Bush slogans.

Let me refresh your memories:

This is unbelievably sick. A left-wing photographer, Jill Greenberg, deliberately makes toddlers cry and turns the pictures into a Los Angeles art exhibit called “End Times” to indulge her Bush Derangement Syndrome. She slaps titles like “Grand Old Party,” “Four More Years,” and “Apocalypse Now” onto photos of the poor children she manipulated and goaded.

The Guardian covers the exhibit here with links to the children’s photos and reports how Greenberg deliberately provoked the children to tears:

When photographer Jill Greenberg decided to take a lollipop away from a small child, she had a broader purpose in mind.

“The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset,” the Los Angeles-based photographer said. “It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation.”

As the 27 two- and three-year-olds featured in her exhibition, End Times, cried and screamed, demanding the return of the lollipop given to them just moments before, Greenberg snapped away.

Someone at YouTube posted the gallery:

Welcome to the American Left.
DiscerningTexan, 9/15/2008 12:09:00 AM |