Center for Strategic Communication

[ by Charles Cameron — juxtaposition offers us a potent way to connect “equal but opposite” dots ]

Jimmy Chen at HTMLGiant captures the griefs and joyful reliefs of war by juxtaposing two war photos that had separately become iconic — and their joint impact is precisely the kind I’m reaching for with my DoubleQuotes. I’ve re-framed them accordingly and slipped them into my DQ format, and here they are:


In Chen’s own words:

Time may be a sedative, for it’s always harder to know who exactly the bad people were, yet so easy to tell — in the incessant now from which we cannot run — who the bad people are. Either moral clarity diminishes with time, or we simply stop caring, the euphemism being humility. Prisoner of war Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California on March 17, 1973, about a year after Phan Thi Kim Phuc, aged 9, was photographed running from a South Vietnamese napalm attack on their own land after it had been occupied by the North.

The specifics of those two photographs may be slowly eroding in memory, as Chen suggests — but I don’t believe their power to evoke joy or grief will fade — and I am grateful to Jimmy Chen for reminding me, once again.