One of our favorite moments in the history of this blog was when we read that the lensman behind this shot of Paris Hilton sobbing on her way back to jail was the same guy who won a Pulitzer for that famous pic of little naked running Kim Phuc some thirty five years to the day before, Nick Ut. We weren't alone! In those frenzied End Of Year attempts to "make sense of 2007" some newspapers called up Nick Ut for a chance to wax philosophical re how in the intervening three and a half decades every living US American organism has lost 30 I.Q. points. In brief: Nick, a native Vietnamese and AP photographer (he's just "grateful to have work," he says) was back in LA after a vacation home to Vietnam for a vacation in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of his iconic antiwar image. "When I came back from vacation overseas, I hear it's a big story; I say I want to be there," he tells the Post's Phil Kennicott, who proceeds to articulate all the woe-is-civilization outrage readers of this blog are too beaten-down and desensitized to articulate at this point:
Paris Hilton has nothing to do with the war. She is not a cause, or a consequence, or a byproduct, or anything else to do with the war. But in her vapidity, her ridiculousness, her unashamed ignorance and narcissism, she suggests to the world that the values we project through means such as war are not decent, serious values. The image of Kim Phuc said to us, "Here is the war, look at it, it's horrible." The image of Paris Hilton, seen in the context of Ut's earlier photograph, says, "Oh, is there a war on? Really? Like, whatever."
Uh, yeah sorta, says Ut, who saved the life of Kim Phuc, who is now 44 and runs a charity. As he tells the UK's Telegraph:
'It's a strange feeling because I know I will never take another photograph that's as good as this - not as long as I live. When I look at my photograph of Kim and my photograph of Paris Hilton, I think they are both good pictures, in their way. I suppose the big difference is that I grew to love Kim, whereas... well, frankly, I don't give a damn about Paris Hilton.'
Poles And Decades Apart, Two Silent Screams Issue Discomfiting Reverberations [Washington Post]
Nick Ut: Double Negative [Telegraph]