The Would-Be Assassin and the Camera

Great article and phot

L.M. Sacasas

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that they were haunted by an image, often an old photograph. It is a figurative and evocative expression. To say that an image is haunting is to say that the image has lodged itself in the mind like a ghost might stubbornly take up residence in a house, or that it has somehow gotten a hold of the imagination and in the imagination lives on as a spectral after-image. When we speak of images of the deceased, of course, the language of haunting approaches its literal meaning. In these photographs, the dead enjoy an afterlife in the imagination.

Lewis Powell

I’ve lately been haunted myself by one such photograph. It is a well-known image of Lewis Powell, the man hung for his failed attempt to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward. On the same night that John Wilkes Booth murdered the president, Powell was to…

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The Republican Ghost Dance

One of the classic study elements of all anthropology students is the ghost dance/cargo cult. While examples come in a multitude of forms from various cultures the all have similar elements. If the cultural distressed people perform a dance or ceremony or act in a certain way their ancestors will rise up and deliver the good life or sweep their enemies from the land.

As I watched the Republicans doubling down on the message Tuesday and Wednesday I could not help but be reminded of a ghost dance. If they were more conservative in their values a white majority would come and sweep the benefit class off the land/away from the polls and a proper president would be delivered into office.

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