Peter Maass, The Toppling

April 12, 2011  |  permalink

Toppling Dictators in the Youtube Age

The world’s first icons, predating the era of mass reproduction, originated in times when it was at least theoretically possible to smash every painting of a religious figure or tear down every statue of a potentate. That’s no longer possible. As the uprisings in the Middle East show, the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, along with the eternal life the Internet grants to digital imagery, is reshaping the form and impact of political iconography. Hosni Mubarak will not be the last dictator to suffer the consequences. My thoughts on the subject are in a video-studded posting at NewYorker.com. The text-only version is here.


About The Toppling by Peter Maass

On April 9, 2003, American Marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square in Baghdad. Broadcast across the world, the event symbolized what was thought to be an American victory in Iraq. My reconstruction, written with support from ProPublica and the Shorenstein Center, was published in The New Yorker. This section contains documents, photos, videos and links related to the story.


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