Are Americans Genetically Corrupt? Yes, If The New York Times Had Its Way

The New York Times Lens Blog ran a rather interesting set of images earlier today. Titled An X-Ray Of Russian Corruption it featured that fine work of (presumably) Russian photographer Misha Friedman. It purports to be a study of the various ways in which corruption has contorted the social, civic, political and industrial life of Russia. But just as I was getting ready to parse through an interesting set of images, I was struck by the text, written by one Jesse Newman, which seemed to transform the images from being a photographer’s imaginative exploration of the failures of the Russia state, into something far more insidious. Jesse Newman claimed that:

Mishsa Friedman is training his camera on what seems like a common train in his national genetic code. Corruption

I have to admit that it either takes an incredible level of courage and an even greater level of stupidity, to write such a generalization – complete with all the bigotry that it encapsulate, anywhere, let alone in a major newspaper’s blog. Clearly the editors at Lens are being a bit lazy these days. I can’t believe that Jesse Newman meant what s/he wrote here. But then again, I have to believe that s/he meant it only because of a terrible lack of self-reflection. Details »