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Remember the statue of Saddam being pulled down? The Guardian has tracked down the people who were there and interviewed them. The men with the rope noose were Ali Fares and Khaled Hamid. Hamid says: “We weren’t able to catch Saddam himself, so the statue had to stand in. I was happy. I was proud. I know that even President Bush was watching us.” But the pride was tinged with revulsion.

Saddam’s statue

I didn’t say anything at the time, but yes, that whole toppling Saddam’s statue thing did look like manufactured news, from the way it appeared in all the newspapers simultaneously.

Only apparently real

This is a scene a couple of blocks from where I live. The curvature of the pole isn’t just distortion from the cheap zoom lens; it really is leaning over slightly. When I first moved to America, one of the things I noticed was the ugly cabling everywhere. Not just cables, either—big cylindrical metal transformers are stuck out in plain view on the tops of poles. I’m not alone in noticing this; friends who’ve visited from the UK have also taken pictures.