Muammar Gaddafi in death, below Hans Holbein The Younger’s great “Dead Christ,” in the Basel Kunstmuseum.
Images of Gaddafi, taken Thursday as he was battered and bleeding and then dead, are everywhere, and everyone should find them hard to look at. They operate as war porn and gore porn, not much different from the ton of less newsworthy carnage that floats free in cyberspace, and that probably shouldn’t. But we still need to look at the Gaddafi shots, I think, because pornography is only part of their story. To my Christian-trained eyes, there’s huge pathos in these images, regardless of the monster they show. And to other, maybe Muslim eyes, they may depict the real, repugnant Gaddafi.