Saturday, February 26, 2005

yesterday's quiz

Ok, here's the answer to yesterday's quiz. First the names of the subjects of the photos:

the first one A, is of Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari at the Portland, Maine airport about to make their fateful connecting flight on the morning of September 11th, 2001.

the second one,B, is of Jorge Luis Borges and Bianca Jagger, taken some time in the '70s. Borges of course was one of the leading practitioners of Latin American magic realism, and Bianca Jagger is a noted human rights activist (and Mick's ex).

the third one C, is of American WW II general Curtis Le May.

The two that have something in common are A and C: Atta, al-Omari and Le May were responsible for killing thousands of civilians. There are crucial differences, of course, not the least of which was that Le May was responsible for air raids on the Japanese population as part of an ongoing, formally declared war,whereas the September 11th attacks were by stealth combatants, i.e. terrorists.

Curtis Le May is said to have been the inspiration for the character of Jack D. Ripper in Terry Southern's screenplay of Doctor Strangelove, and credited with having made the infamous statement about bombing the enemy "back into the stone age" (referring to the North Vietnamese, in the '60s.). Le May was nevertheless a more complicated and morally ambiguous character than those factoids might suggest, and I will post a little more about him shortly.