What's In an Image? In "Defense" of the New Yorker magazine

This photo headlines an article in this week's (Sept. 9, 2013) New Yorker magazine titled "The Return". It explores the challenges soldiers face upon their return to civilian society after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, after years in an alternate universe of war. They can't just flip a switch and compartmentalize that very different reality and, sadly, because we are so removed as a society from the wars we wage, they can't share it with us here at home. We simply don't understand.

I love the New Yorker for many different reasons. Stories like these chief among them. Of course I love the artwork too (and, yes, the cartoons). Even if you didn't read this story, the picture alone makes you think. You could probably guess the content of the article from the picture. Or you might guess that it is about the American economy wearing one of its many "hats"... propped up in a large part by the $500 billion defense industry. Or maybe you would think it is about how guarded we feel as citizens in an increasingly armed society where our friends and family, our children are regularly gunned down in schools, malls, movie theaters and military bases.
Or it could be about the New Yorker itself and the state of emergency in the journalism industry, fighting to survive the tsunami of the internet, the dilution of advertising dollars and, more importantly, the dilution of facts. 

I hope the New Yorker is able to win this battle because I don't want to live in a world without pictures and stories like this that remind me every day to think outside the comfort of my local reality and opinions. Maybe a dose of well reported perspective every day will allow us to understand each other a little better, take off our helmets and lower our guns and act and live with empathy, compassion and intelligence.

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