Today's the 40th anniversary of photographer Nick Ut shooting his famous 'Napalm Girl' and five years since he shot Paris Hilton crying in 2007. Which means it's one more chance for The New York Daily News to remind us how far society has slipped. "Nick Ut will commemorate a pair of anniversaries today — both stemming from iconic photographs he snapped of two tearful girls in the throes of terror," writes The Daily News' Bill Hutchinson. It's worth remembering that Daily News writer David Hinckley wrote a similar story in 2007, making this another near anniversary. Five years and four days ago, Hinckley wrote: "But these tears, it turns out, had something in common: Exactly thirty-five years apart, they both ended up in the lens of Nick Ut's camera."
"Same day, almost same hour. Hilton and Kim Phúc have same hair, both crying. Everything same," Ut told the Daily News this year. We get it: Yes, it is a coincidence that how both these pictures were taken on June 8 and the meta-message of just how far the world's priorities have slipped. But perhaps it's testament to Hilton's waning celebrity (and maybe our standards) that most of the news stories out there today are commemorating the photo of Kim Phúc, who is now living in Toronto and runs a non-profit group, and ignoring the Hilton parallel. Well, except for Hutchinson.
"The photo changed the world’s perception of the Vietnam War and, arguably, sped up America’s retreat from the region," writes Hutchinson. "Unlike with his Hilton picture, rarely a day goes by without someone thanking Ut for the one he snapped of Kim Phúc."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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