Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Big Dead Pope Photo Op

The strangest photo I saw all week was one on the cover of the Times. In the center was the body of The Pope. Crowded around him, like revelers in an Ozzy mosh pit, was a crush of people with cameras, cameras of all sorts. You had your tiny digital guys, your camera-enabled phones and a few, old-fashioned ones which still use film. It was bizarre, if anything is bizarre anymore.

And I have to assume this was just a single moment, and that, for day upon day, people walked by this man and took photos of his body.

Excuse me for asking the obvious question, but, "Is nothing sacred?" I don't care one way or the other about the Pope, but I have to admit that I found this profoundly distasteful.

If you go to Uncle Benny's funeral ("Benny was a tippler, you know...") after he drove into a tree, the last thing you'd think of doing would be to take pictures. But Benny you knew. He was family. You'd even tossed back a few Buds with him from time to time. But you'd never even bring a camera into the Washenschechter Funeral Parlor and Memorial Hall, much less take closeups of Benny's "he looks so" peaceful face.

So why, when the man who is pruported to be the ultimate servant of God on Earth, is taking pictures just ducky? Did the Catholic's see this as a really needed photo op, given the thundering sex scandals of the past 10 years? Did they consider putting up a banner that said, "Mission Accomplished?"

For all the people who walked quietly past the man and thought long and hard about their lives...and their place in this veil of tears, I say bravo. But beware, if you don't duck, someone will take your picture.