There was a lot of commenting back and forth about whether this online image, (note concussion effects on the water surface and 16-inch gun barrels in varying degrees of recoil) had enough resolution. “Resolution way too low” wrote one; “neutral good picture but low resolution,” wrote another (I don’t know what “neutral” means. Must be a technical term.); “the color is nice but does not compensate for the cropping,” said a third.
But I was particularly struck by this exchange:
“Resolution doesn’t really bother me. It’s an awful picture.”
“Guessing you mean an awesome picture.”
“So sorry. You are quite right. Awesome.”
He was right the first time. It is an awful picture. The purpose of those firing guns is to kill, or to practice to kill, or to show off the power to kill. The ability to focus on the technicalities of imaging in the face of what this picture is showing speaks volumes about our capacity to close ourselves off to what is actually happening right under our noses.
The person who put the image online wrote: “As the photo says, this is the USS Iowa firing a ‘full broadside’ way back in 1984. Simpler times and a more simple country. I wish that we could have it back.”
Does he want it back for the sheer military industrial pleasure of doing all over again what happened after 1984? Does he mean by “simpler” that in our wide-eyed innocence we didn’t know how much more unbelievable destruction we would come to be capable of unleashing? That a mere 26 years later so much more stuff would have been added to the obliterating power of the United States it would make your head spin? If that’s what he meant, then, jeepers, you won’t even believe what’s in production now. Of course they’re not telling us everything. Much of it is a big secret because they want it to be a surprise for some holiday.