Monday, December 19, 2011

Reading Pictures: Let Me Stand Next to your Fire

The most disturbing quality of the still images from the surveillance camera which shows a man dressed as an exterminator spray an elderly woman in an elevator with a flammable liquid before setting her on fire is absence of the crude, horrible clumsiness normally present when one sees real violence captured. If the quality of the images were better it would read like a choreographed hollywood scene. He looks like a performer confidently taking the stage in the first still and has the relaxed swagger of a rock musician in the last. The strap slung across his shoulder doesn't help. There is after all a certain violence implied by rock 'n roll, why else would a guitar be referred to as an axe and a great performance said to "slay".

There is in fact an element of performance in this man's actions. If he does not actually work as an exterminator he took the time to plan this premeditated act, create the disguised and stand around pretending to be an exterminator while he waited for the chance to kill this woman. I wonder if the vile irony was conscious on the part of this man?

Police: Arrest made in New York elevator burning death