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12:08 am 25/07/2016

IOC rules Russia will not be banned from Rio 2016 Olympics

#^IOC rules Russia will not be banned from Rio 2016 Olympics

Quote:
The International Olympic Committee has rejected calls for a blanket ban on Russia at the Rio 2016 Games, ruling that individual sports federations should decide whether Russian athletes are eligible to compete.

The International Olympic Committee has rejected calls for a blanket ban on Russia at the Rio 2016 Games, ruling that individual sports federations should decide whether Russian athletes are eligible to compete.

Athletes will need to meet strict criteria laid out by the IOC, including proving to international federations that they have a clean doping record and have been tested by “reliable” international anti-doping bodies.

Any athletes with a proven doping history will not be allowed to compete at the Games, even if they have served their sanctions.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board held a three-hour meeting via teleconference on Sunday. The meeting included 15 Olympic leaders, including the Head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov.

“Natural justice requires that an individual must at least have a chance to rebut allegations. And this rewards the presumption of innocence. Therefore we have set the bar to the limit by establishing a number of very strict criteria which every Russian athlete will have to fulfill if he or she wants to participate in the Olympic Games [in] Rio 2016," said IOC President Thomas Bach.

"I think this way we have [a] balance on the line and the desire and [the] need to collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete," stated Bach.

The ruling gives a glimmer of hope to Russian athletes who have not been tarnished by the recent doping scandal engulfing the country, although they will face a race against time to prove they are clean before the Games begin in Rio on August 5.
In addition, the IOC’s ruling states that, “The entry of any Russian athlete ultimately accepted by the IOC will be subject to a rigorous additional out-of-competition testing programme in coordination with the relevant IF [International Federation] and WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency]."

The decision comes shortly after WADA published a report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, which accused the Russian government of having a system that allegedly shielded doping athletes from being caught.

The report claimed that Russian intelligence officers used an unidentified method to tamper with urine samples while sport officials selected athletes who would be shielded by such interventions.

It also alleged that the Russian anti-doping laboratory had been employed to participate in the system rather than fight doping.

On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne rejected a plea from Russian track and field athletes to overturn a competition ban imposed on them by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).


The ban was issued provisionally in November over doping allegations against Russia and was upheld last month, as the IAAF said Russia was not doing enough to address the issue.


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9:03 am 22/07/2016

Conquista Del Desierto Part 1

Conquista Del Desierto Part 1: Why It Happened

This article is one of three looking at why one of Argentina's most famous historical figures said those words and then acted on them, causing what historian Osvaldo Bayer called "the greatest tragedy in Argentine history" and the gravest act of protracted "genocide" in the country, a campaign still known by many as the "Conquest of the Desert."


“Our self-respect as a virile people obliges us to put down as soon as possible, by reason or by force, this handful of savages who destroy our wealth and prevent us from definitively occupying, in the name of law, progress and our own security the richest and most fertile lands of the Republic.”
— Julio Argentino Roca, 1875.
In the 1870s, Roca, who was the War Minister (that’s Defense Minister, pre-newspeak) launched a military campaign that killed or expelled as refugees most of the indigenous people living in what we now call Argentine Patagonia, claiming their lands for the Argentine State in the name of progress.

Roca was following previous campaigns led by similar men for similar reasons. The persecution and drip-feed ethnic cleansing of people of indigenous descent was de-facto State policy in Argentina during the mid and late 1800s.
During the campaign, more than a thousand Mapuche of all ages are estimated to have been slaughtered by Roca’s men, often by firing squad executions, while up to 15,000 others were forced to flee the mechanized violence into neighboring Chile.
It was one of the most notorious and tragic instances of genocide in modern Latin American history. Why did it happen?

Wild Tales

After Argentina won independence in 1816 and inherited the lands previously ruled indirectly by the Spanish monarchy, it was already big. Huge, in fact, compared to many of the other independent nations that slowly began to ossify after decades of internal strife even after the Spanish and Portuguese had been kicked out.
Most of Patagonia, including the parts where many indigenous people including communities of the diverse Mapuche tribes lived on either side of the Andes, was not yet part of the State. This meant Argentina had a frontier, in much the same way the United States did at the same time (if you’re looking for a Gif of Leonardo Di Caprio and a bear demonstrating what that was like up North around the same period, you’re in luck).


In the nineteenth century US, people like Hugh Glass, the frontiersman played by Di Caprio in The Revenant, were helping to open up the vast interior spaces of the continent not technically part of the official nation state just yet, with the help of private capital and the US government. There was a lot of resources and land, and therefore money to be made in doing this. Bears too.
The same, minus the bears (there were pumas), was true in Patagonia, although the state didn’t get heavily involved until much later, gradually becoming more interventionist as the unionist-federalist wars post-independence petered out.
What made the government want to extend the frontier for itself?
What helped Roca as the Minister for War get the approval to send in the troops in extension of this frontier in the late nineteenth century and, in doing so, kill so many people?
A variety of different pressures on the Argentine state, sprinkled with healthy doses of racism and futurist sentiment among Argentina’s political leaders help explain why what they (and the old 100 peso note) called the Conquest of the Desert happened.

‘Progress’

As we can see from the Roca quote at the top of this article, the extermination campaign against the Mapuche — the groups who made up most of the indigenous population south of the Pampas — was carried out in the name of “progress”.
“Progress” was the vogue word of the nineteenth century conquering bourgeoisie. If you called something “progress” that meant it was good.
So cartography, the scientific revolution, the extension of voting rights, the building of the modern nation state, these all counted as progress in the 1800s.
The child-labor-powered cotton mills of Britain’s industrial revolution, the Indian “coolies” dying to build railways on the subcontinent, the racist imperial colonization of continental Africa, these were also examples of nineteenth century progress, at least according to their architects.
Similarly warped views of progress were evident in Latin America, as superhero historian Eric Hobsbawm discussed:

Quote:

“In the republics of Latin America, inspired by the revolutions which had transformed Europe and the USA, ideologues and politicians considered the progress of their countries to be dependent on ‘Aryanization’-i.e. the progressive ‘whitening’ of the people through intermarriage (Brazil) or virtual re-population by imported white Europeans (Argentina).”

So “progress” not only meant supposed advancement of an economic or political kind (see below). It also meant a sinister form of development Roca and his contemporaries hoped to extend to the wild places: ethnic.
When we study the words of the Argentine political elite during the period, it becomes clear that, unlike most of us today, they believed in a world where not all races had equal rights: A hierarchical view of humanity, which put some ethnic groups — Northern Europeans, for example — higher than others, like the Mapuche.

This logic seems strange to us today, but was reinforced during the nineteenth century through such lovely concepts as scientific racism — popular with the great European empires of the age — which justified the domination of white people over so-called “lesser” races.
This in turn led inevitably to a political agenda and policies based on such a view. As oneteam of Argentine historians put it: “Argentine indigenous policies — the hostile as well as the disciplinary — were grounded on the idea of Aboriginal extinction.”

Quote:

“Both federal and provincial governments constructed their policies from a conceptualization of Indigenous peoples as ‘a few survivors,’ ‘the final remains of an ending culture,’ and so on. On the one hand, this omitted naming the causes of this supposed extinction. On the other hand, these policies of invisibilization enabled various forms of repression such as land expropriations, potential forced labor, and, at the same time, massacres.”

Discourse in Argentina about the indigenous people who lived beyond the frontier was often coated in racism. It had helped justify previous military interventions against indigenous people in Argentina before Roca’s Campaign, and would also help him “bring progress” the lands South of the Pampas by ethnically cleansing them in favor of European-descended settlers.

‘Security’ — The Chilean Equation

The Mapuche lived on both sides of the Andes, including in modern-day Chile. Unlike its neighbor, Chile was going about concretely colonizing the lands of the deep South before Argentina.
In the years preceding Roca’s campaign, the Chilean military conducted a series of wars and domestic campaigns to expand the Andean sliver that was its territory. They beat Perú and Bolivia and permanently stole the latter’s coastline, forever hamstringing its economy.
This made Argentina nervous. If the equation Chile > Peru +Bolivia had staying power, how long before Argentina’s number was called?
The flashpoint for both countries looked like being Patagonia. Chile was already expanding into Southern Patagonia by the mid 1800s. It founded what became the two oldest permanent settlements in the region, including Punta Arenas, in the 1840s. It was also helping crush its own Mapuche neighbors in a protracted military campaign, euphemistically known as the Pacification of Araucanía (1860s-1880s).
After that, Chile and what Mapuche remained courted more cordial relations in time, based on trade. This also made Argentina nervous, since the Mapuche often raided Argentine settlements and traded what they stole — cattle, for example — in Chilean towns for weapons or other goods.
Chile was beating Argentina in the frontier race down South and beating all its neighbours on battlefields up North.

The Battle of Arica by Juan Lepiani. Chile beating up it’s neighbours in the War of the Pacific encouraged Argentine leaders to look to their own borders and frontier. Image via wikipedia.org

What could the Argentine government do? He of (old) 50-peso note fame, ex-President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento actually considered joining Perú and Bolivia in their ultimately disastrous War of the Pacific against Chile (1879 – 1883). Fortunately for the Argentine government, this was nixed after they realized it was probably not a viable or winnable plan to consider.
Instead, a comparatively straightforward military campaign against people who didn’t have ironclads or many guns was in order. A land grab in the vast spaces at the bottom of the Southern Cone, to put a lid on Chilean expansionism without actually challenging the country directly….
This reason for launching the Conquista was confirmed after the massacres and expulsions took place: Argentina and Chile signed the Boundary Treaty of 1881 after Roca’s campaign essentially brought most of Patagonia into the Argentine fold and put a lid on potential conflict in the region between the nations.

‘Wealth’ — The Slump

Despite all the wars the Unitarians and Federalists fought each other in Argentina’s post-independence, the national economy had been purring along nicely in the 1800s, spurred by massive immigration to the River Plate zone around greater Buenos Aires and favorable export markets.
Nonetheless, the immediate prelude to Roca’s Campaign in the 1870s painted a different picture.
Former President Nicolás Avellaneda (1873-1879) began his tenure, like most presidents, swamped by a thousand and one different issues all requiring his immediate attention.
Somewhere near the top of the list was the global financial crisis.


Bankers panicking in New York City during the first Great Depression c.1878. Image via wikipedia.org

The market bust, and the subsequent depression in the global economy from 1873 onwards hurt Argentina and her classic agricultural exports. It was the first properly global and properly capitalist slump (it was even known as the Great Depression until 1929 came along).
Argentina’s reliance on selling farm produce to Europe and America hurt her when realities of a globalized world economic system vulnerable to market fluctuations came to bite. It functioned like today, through cyclical booms and busts. In this particular bust after 1873, trade retreated for a time, and this hurt Argentina’s economy.
How to respond to the crisis? Argentina was still unstable in terms of its territory, of where its borders started and finished.
What about a land grab? It stood to reason that more land should, in theory, equal more wealth, since Argentina used the already vast open spaces of its “interior” to act as the engine room of its export-driven economy.
Jose Toribio Martínez de Hoz The Elder was economy minister during the Avellaneda presidency. Roca was the War Minister. Martitnez de Hoz’s children and grandchildren would later be economy ministers and advisers during the last military dictatorship (1976-1983). Roca would later get his face on the 100 peso bill.
Martínez de Hoz bolstered new private investment for the frontier, and had been an enthusiastic advocate of the previous military campaigns against indigenous people of the frontier prior to Roca’s campaign.
He was the Argentine equivalent of the super-rich robber barons from the northern superpowers like Britain and the US — carving open the frontiers of the world, including Argentina, in fact, in the name of progress and profit.
As economy minister, Martínez de Hoz enthusiastically funded the Conquista del Desierto directly.
This made sense. As one of several vastly rich land-owning families in the country, he stood directly to gain from it, which he and the family did. The Martínez de Hoz’s were rewarded with thousands of hectares of land after the massacres as a gift from the government for their “patriotic contributions,” as Bayer, Mariano Aiello and Kristina Hille documented in the unmissable film Awka Liwen: Rebellion At Dawn.

‘Savages’

Finally we come to the pretext Roca actually used for launching the campaign, which as we shall see in part II to led to mass executions, ethnic cleansing and the expulsion of Mapuche families as refugees from Patagonia by the thousands.
European-descended settlers on the Patagonian frontier moved there in the hope of starting a new and economically more prosperous life in the vast, “unclaimed” expanses of the South. They were encouraged by wealthy businessmen like Martínez de Hoz, who considered much of the land his own property (it soon would be on paper), to move onto Mapuche land and place themselves in danger of raids from people who had in some cases already been living there for centuries and weren’t particularly keen on recognizing the vast sell-off of land in the region Martínez de Hoz and the other rich and powerful families were orchestrating in Buenos Aires.


Mapuche family, Chile c.1908. Image via wikipedia.org

Already squeezed out of the more temperate middle zone of Argentina (modern-day Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, La Pampa and Mendoza provinces) by regularly violent Argentine expansionism after 1816, the Mapuche peoples in Patagonia carved out livelihoods through subsistence farming, cattle herding.
They had a very long history of warrior traditions and culture, as historians Matt Restall and Kris Lane described:

Quote:

“Mapuche culture appears to have valued military skill long before the arrival of the Spanish, and successful warriors could expect to gain great status. Mapuche boys were raised to fight and take captives from an early age, and girls were taught to prepare and stockpile food and other supplies.”

Much like what happened on parts of the North American frontier in the 1800s, creeping settlement expansion of “European” pioneers onto land lived and farmed and called home by indigenous people instigated conflict between different ethnic groups.
In this way, Argentine settlement further and further South from Buenos Aires and the Pampas backed up by military campaigns previous to Roca’s (like that of Juan Manuel de Rosas, 1833-4) provoked violent reactions from indigenous people whose land was being encroached upon. These reactions were then used by Roca et al to justify killing the indigenous people.
Without doubt, on the Patagonian frontier, violent raids by Mapuches on settlers were common. Cattle would be stolen, fighting would happen, terrified captives would sometimes be taken because, like we have seen, Mapuche men were raised to do this stuff. What was loosely called the Mapuche Confederation had been fighting for its existence and place in the world since the Spanish, whom they beat repeatedly, had arrived in Argentina. New mainly-pink-skinned settlers with armies at their backs didn’t seem so different from how it had been for centuries before Roca and his predecessor Adolfo Alsina and Rosas led armies against them.
As reports of the “savages” raiding on Argentine settlements filtered back to Buenos Aires, Roca persuaded President Avellaneda to approve another military campaign against them, but this time to eradicate their nuisances once and for all. The die for the climax of a protracted genocide was cast.

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3:46 pm 13/07/2016

Eric Cantona give his awards for Euro 2016

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12:08 am 09/07/2016

Fascism and Right-Wing Extremism | comparisons

Fascism and Right-Wing Extremism

What is fascism?

Is project of authoritarian political, middle class in times of crisis.

characteristics:

fascism:

  • Lay.

  • Populist.

  • Social democratic, authoritarian basis, based on the exploitation of one part of the population of which Part must demonize so that we can steal, hence arises racism within from fascism.

  • It is egalitarian in relation to the excluded, but excludes a small part of the population.

  • Antimilitarist , prefers a parallel civil army (SS, Blackshirts)

  • Authoritarian Keynesianism


A branch that emerges from fascism is the rigorist technocrat (Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher)


Right-Wing Extremism:

  • Monarchic/ religious.

  • Antipopulist.

  • No Social Democratic.

  • Not, equal.

  • Militaristic.

  • Liberalism / neoliberalism

German extreme right struggle against Nazism, Nazism coopted leftist movements to come to power.
That's one reason, why I do not understand why the movements "ultranationalists" place them in the category of Fascists
It's correct?


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12:05 pm 08/07/2016

English now admit Andy Murray is more Scottish than British

Quote:
HE is often said to be viewed as Britain’s best tennis player when he wins, and Scotland’s when he loses.

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9:38 am 28/06/2016

Monarchy Cost UK Taxpayers £40m Last Year

#^Monarchy Cost UK Taxpayers £40m Last Year

Quote:
A review is underway into how much the Queen receives annually from the Treasury, as the Crown Estate makes a record profit.

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1:25 am 19/06/2016

to not forget

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5:13 am 13/06/2016

Cool unicode symbols

























cross































music note / melody















▄︻̷̿┻̿═━一
⌐╦╦═─
BѠbs
/人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人\
kyuubey
•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸❤¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
˙·٠•●♥ Text ♥●•٠·˙
•♥•♥•♥•♥•♥ Text ♥•♥•♥•♥•♥•
▬▬ι═══════ﺤ Text -═══════ι▬▬
|̲̲̲͡͡͡ ̲▫̲͡ ̲̲̲͡͡π̲̲͡͡ ̲̲͡▫̲̲͡͡ ̲|̡̡̡ ̡ ̴̡ı̴̡̡ ̡͌l̡ ̴̡ı̴̴̡ (I’m on vacation!) ̡l̡*̡̡ ̴̡ı̴̴̡ ̡̡͡|̲̲̲͡͡͡ ̲▫̲͡ ̲̲̲͡͡π̲̲͡͡ ̲̲͡▫̲̲͡͡ ̲|
( ̲̅:̲̅:̲̅:̲̅[̲̅ ̲̅]̲̅:̲̅:̲̅:̲̅ ̲̅) (Not feeling so good...) ( ̲̅:̲̅:̲̅:̲̅[̲̅ ̲̅]̲̅:̲̅:̲̅:̲̅ ̲̅)

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7:53 am 18/05/2016

What is the country most Caucasian of Latin America according to the US?

What is the country most Caucasian of Latin America according to the US?

The following information was extracted from the CIA World Factbook, a publication

annual almanac type reveals various statistics on the countries of the world used by the Government of

USA.

POSITION No.10

MEXICO

According to the CWF: Population: 113 724 226
White: 18.0%
Mestizos: 60.0%
Amerindians: 21.0%
Other: 1.0%

POSITION No.9

COLOMBIA

According to the CFW: Population: 44,725,543
White: 20.0%
Mestizos: 58.0%
Mulatos: 14.0%
Native American: 1.0%
Africa: 4.0%
Other: 3.0%


POSITION No.8

VENEZUELA

According to the CFW: Population: 27,635,743
White: 21.0%
Mestizos: 67.0%
Amerindians: 2.0%
Black: 10.0%

POSITION No.7


PUERTO RICO

According to the CWF: Population: 3,989,133
White: 46.2%
Amerindians: 0.2%
Black: 6.9%
Mestizos: 14.4%
Other: 22.3%


POSITION No.6

BRAZIL

According to the CWF: Population: 203 429 773
White: 47.7%
Mulatos: 43.1%
Amerindians: 0.4
Black: 7.6%
Other: 1.1

POSITION No.5

CHILE

According to the CWF: Population: 16,888,760
White: 55.0%
Amerindians: 10.8%
Mestizos: 33.9%
Other: 0.3

POSITION No.4

PARAGUAY

According to the CWF: Population: 6,459,058
White: 60.0%
Mestizos: 35.0%
Other: 5.0%


POSITION No.3

CUBA
According to the CWF: Population: 11,087,330
White: 65.1%
Black: 10.1%
Mestizos: 24.8%

POSITION No.2

URUGUAY

According to the CWF: Population: 3,308,535
White: 78.0%
Mestizos: 18.0%
Black: 4.0%


POSITION No.1

ARGENTINA

Population: 41,769,726
White: 97.0%
Other: 3.0%
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6:53 am 16/04/2016

The Long Collusion of Photography and Crime

The Long Collusion of Photography and Crime


Policeman Posing with Four "Collared" Thugs, photographer unknown.
A policeman posing with four prisoners, photographer unknown.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE BURNS COLLECTION

The picture looks uncannily like a family portrait, one of those late-nineteenth-century tintypes of stiff, sombre-faced ancestors framed in gilt and velvet for the scrutiny of future generations. Four men arranged in a row stare at the camera, their hair dark against pallid skin. Behind the two seated in the middle, a fifth man, lustrously mustachioed, spreads his arms wide to clap a paternal hand on the shoulders of the figures standing at their sides. Only on closer inspection does it become apparent that he is wearing a police officer’s billed cap and badge, and that the others are not his sons but his prisoners, bound together by discreet sets of handcuffs and photographed as a kind of professional trophy. They’ve been captured two times over: first by the law, then by the lens.

“Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play,” an exhibit currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, proposes to examine the numerous ways that photography has influenced that favorite human activity, speculating about crimes and the people who commit them. This would be an ambitious undertaking for a ten-room show; this one is limited to only two. The result is something of a hodgepodge, hemmed in by a vague set of constraints. The bulk of the photos were taken in the United States between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, none after the seventies, and all are in black and white, as if to emphasize their historical remove from our own filtered times. But the aesthetic and ethical questions the exhibit raises—about the American attraction to criminal glamour, and our queasy, not always critical fascination with looking at violence—are the right ones to ask during the current vogue for “true crime,” that funny phrase we use for stories told in public about terrible things others suffer privately.

What, for instance, could have happened to the young couple lying face up on a carpet in a photo from 1940, still clothed down to their shoes? The woman’s blond hair spills out of the frame; she could be a Hitchcock-style heroine in a noir-film still. Actually, the picture was taken—shot, to use one of the many words shared by the vocabularies of crime and photography—in the line of professional duty by a Dr. Edward E. Smith, a coroner in Franklin County, Ohio. The deaths are real, but the composition gives them an unsettling fictional feel.

Other pictures come to us already freighted with meaning. “Crime Stories” features some of the most iconic images of the American twentieth century: Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald; Robert F. Kennedy gaping up from the floor of the Ambassador Hotel; a grainy Patty Hearst caught on surveillance tape during a bank robbery with the Symbionese Liberation Army; the convicted murderer Ruth Snyder strapped to the electric chair at Sing Sing, a cloth wrapped around her face as tight as a tourniquet, as if she herself were a victim—which, in a very real sense, she was. That photo, snapped as the current flooded Snyder’s body, appeared on a 1928 cover of the Daily News and was taken with a concealed camera to flout a prison ban on pictures, an example of the medium’s power to expose what the law would rather keep hidden. It fascinated artists like Walker Evans, who saved it in his scrapbook, and Andy Warhol, whose screen-print electric chair became an American icon in its own right.


Tom Howard, Electrocution of Ruth Snyder, Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, New York, 1928.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM TWENTIETH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY FUND


Surveillance footage of Patty Hearst during the robbery of Hibernia Bank, San Francisco, 1974.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Broadside for the capture of John Wilkes Booth, John Surratt, and David Herold, 1865.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, GILMAN COLLECTION

One of the show’s most striking pictures is a Richard Avedon portrait of Dick Hickock, one of the two murderers immortalized in Truman Capote’s true-crime touchstone “In Cold Blood.” Hickock and Perry Smith, both ex-convicts out on parole, had set out to rob the home of Herbert Clutter, a farmer in Holcomb, Kansas; when they didn’t find the safe they’d been looking for, they killed Clutter, his wife, and his two children. Looking at Hickock’s mug shot, Capote writes, the wife of the case’s investigator is reminded “of a bobcat she’d once seen caught in a trap, and of how, though she’d wanted to release it, the cat’s eyes, radiant with pain and hatred, had drained her of pity and filled her with terror.” Here, Hickock gets the soft-focus celebrity treatment, the line between notoriety and fame as blurred as ever. Hickock, according to Capote, had always been self-conscious about his long, lopsided face. His nose juts out at a Picasso angle, and while his right eye meets Avedon’s lens straight on, his smaller left one seems to look inward. The result is a double portrait, part persona, part awkward, vulnerable self, both haunted by Capote’s own verbal portrait of Hickock’s victims, the Clutter family, at their funeral: “The head of each was completely encased in cotton, a swollen cocoon twice the size of an ordinary blown-up balloon, and the cotton, because it had been sprayed with a glossy substance, twinkled like Christmas-tree snow.”


Richard Avedon, “Dick Hickock, Murderer, Garden City, Kansas, April 15, 1960,” 1960.
© THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION

For all its brash Americanness, “Crime Stories”—and the genre of crime photography itself—is indelibly shaped by the work of the nineteenth-century French police officer Alphonse Bertillon. Law enforcement had relied on photography since the medium’s advent; the first American “wanted” poster to use photographs appeared days after Lincoln’s assassination and featured the famous Romantic-style portrait of a raffish John Wilkes Booth. But it was Bertillon, beginning in the eighteen-eighties, who pioneered the use of forensic photography. His system entailed photographing a crime scene using a wide-angle lens and tripod, as in a picture of an early twentieth-century bourgeois Parisian dining room, perfectly in order save for the body of a stout old woman lying on her back in the foreground, her clothing camouflaged against the dark wood floor. Bertillon went on to photograph her from directly above, eyes shut and hands resting on her stomach as if she were already in her casket—a neutral, God’s-eye-view depiction that only deepens the mystery of her violent end.


Alphonse Bertillon, “Murder of Madame Veuve Bol, Projection on a Vertical Plane,” 1904.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, GILMAN COLLECTION


The influence of this way of looking at corpses is everywhere in the show, most gruesomely in “Human Head Cake Box Murder,” one of the exhibit’s half-dozen images by Weegee, that supreme voyeur of the American macabre. We are looking down at a group of men, their faces hidden by broad-brimmed hats; they are staring at the ground, where a grizzled severed head and the carton it was found in rest against a street post. Another photographer has already beat Weegee to the scene, his own head shrouded under the hood of his camera as he snaps away.


Weegee, “Human Head Cake Box Murder,” circa 1940.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY / GETTY IMAGES, FORD MOTOR COMPANY COLLECTION

Bertillon’s other major legacy in the field of forensics was his invention of the mug shot. In the mid-nineteenth century, criminal photography focussed on identifying types of offenders; the exhibit’s earliest images are from an album of “rogues,” taken around 1860 in the United States by the photographer Samuel G. Szabó, who sought to distinguish the physiognomy of a counterfeiter from that of a “sneak thief,” a burglar, and a pickpocket. (Whatever revealing differences Szabó may have discerned, his subjects all look mad as hell to be stuck in his perp pictures.) Bertillon countered this hypothetical typology with empirical method, taking “anthropometric” measurements—determining the length of a convict’s middle finger, for example—as well as making elaborate verbal descriptions of a subject’s physical aspect, covering everything from his wrinkles to his eyelids, and two standardized photographs of his face, one from the front, one in profile.


Alphonse Bertillon, “Summary Chart of Physical Traits for the Study or the ‘Portrait Parlé,’ “ circa 1909.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART


Alphonse Bertillon, “Feneon. Felix. Clerk of the Galerie Berheim Jeune.”
PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, GILMAN COLLECTION

As science, this system was dubious at best. (The curators fail to mention that Bertillon drew on his theories to testify for the prosecution during the Dreyfus affair.) But Bertillon’s mug shots make for images of extraordinary, if ambiguous, psychological power. Looking at a grid of sixty faces from his collection is like trying to play a game of criminal Guess Who. The bearded man smiling like a kindly country doctor—what did he do? Is the tough lady with the coarse frizz of hair and the boxer’s jaw trying to cover some telltale scar with that big bow around her neck? A young, round-faced woman with sleepy eyes looks steadily at the viewer with level indifference and no small dose of pride. She’s sitting for her portrait, after all.

A similar defiant dignity is evident in two booking photographs taken by the Chicago Police Department, part of a series made between 1936 and 1946. In the first, four black men in suits line up in front of what seems to be a theatre curtain. In the second, they strike the same pose, now in longer coats and with hats, as if auditioning for different parts in the same play. One of the men smiles affably, a flash of personality in a process meant to cloak it. The others look out evenly, returning the camera’s gaze and reminding whoever is behind the shutter that they, too, have the power to see.


Mug shot of Jeff Briggs, Robert Sims, Otis Hall, and Peter Pamphlet from the Chicago Police Department.


Mug shot of Jeff Briggs, Robert Sims, Otis Hall, and Peter Pamphlet from the Chicago Police Department.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM TWENTIETH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY FUND

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