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What's cooler than cool?
March 5, 2013 8:37 AM   Subscribe

One man, a revolutionary, stood on the firing lines, awaiting death. Staring down the line of guns, nobody could be cooler.

His name was Fortino Samano. An unheralded foot soldier in the Mexican War. The picture was taken by Agustín Casasola, a "partial founder of the Mexican Association of Press Photographers".

The photo inspired a poem by French Poet Virginie Lalucq and Professor Jean-Luc Nancy.

(Post inspired by libcom.org's posting of the photo)
posted by symbioid (18 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was going to say that this guy's apparent insouciance might be a simple misrepresentation of a moment -- a grimace of fear, a shifting of weight. But then I read the "poem" link:

Her series is a meditation on the single, extant photograph of Fortino Sámano, a Zapatista lieutenant and counterfeiter, which Casasola snapped as Sámano, smoking a last cigar, appeared to stare death nonchalantly in the face moments before his execution by firing squad (it was reported that he himself gave the order to fire).

Okay, this guy seems legitimately bad ass.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:45 AM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]




That's not even a defiant "do your worse" stance. That's more of an "I'll just hang out here until you morons get your shit together and we can do this" stance.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:49 AM on March 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


I didn't know that Jed Clampett cosplay used to be a capital offense.

BUT I KID THE HISTORICAL BADASS.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:52 AM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of the part of The Death of Artemio Cruz when Cruz is captured by Zapatista forces:
Neither one took the matter personally. Their feelings had been worn away, effaced by everyday events, by the relentless grind of their blind struggle. They had spoken mechanically, without revealing their true emotions. Zagal asked for information and offered him the opportunity to choose between freedom and execution; the prisoner refused to supply the information. They spoke not like Zagal and Cruz but like gears in two opposed war machines. For that reason, the prisoner received the information about his execution with absolute indifference. An indifference, of course, that obliged him to realize the monstrous tranquility with which he accepted his own death. Then he, too, stood and set his jaw.
posted by anewnadir at 8:59 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Casasola produced some amazing photographs of the Mexican Revolution. He's the one responsible for the photo of the dead Zapata too.
posted by vacapinta at 9:03 AM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's more of an "I'll just hang out here until you morons get your shit together and we can do this" stance.

Kinda looks more like a "Hurry the fuck up already--I have to pee."
posted by dersins at 9:10 AM on March 5, 2013


Here's where I get to share a link to B. Travens' novel General from the Jungle. More badassery from Zapatista rebels.
posted by notyou at 9:16 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


He looks terrified to me.
posted by thelonius at 9:31 AM on March 5, 2013


... smoking a last cigar, appeared to stare death nonchalantly in the face moments before his execution by firing squad (it was reported that he himself gave the order to fire).

That's being cool. It's not necessarily cool. Gary Gilmore went calmly to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to face execution by firing squad and no one would call him cool.
posted by three blind mice at 9:39 AM on March 5, 2013


This is where I also get to plug my distant relative Gildardo*.

He was Zapata's second-in-command and his successor. Not really the scruffy soldier type, more of the charming university-educated intellectual. He is rumored to have taught Pancho Villa to read. Anyways, just to defy stereotype of what Zapatistas were like.

Gildardo's family was from the same small Mexican village that my parents and 4 grandparents are from. And our families share the same two last names. Haven't found the direct connection though, yet.
posted by vacapinta at 9:40 AM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
posted by ersatz at 9:57 AM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of Joe Hill, who supposedly gave the order to his executioners himself:

Firing line commander: "Ready... Aim..."
Joe Hill: "FIRE!"
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:17 AM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Shoot straight, you bastards; don't make a mess of it."
-Breaker Morant
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:24 AM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ice cold
posted by Old Man McKay at 10:55 AM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Moments later, with a larger angle, here he is hat-in-hand with the firing squad aiming.
posted by Houstonian at 10:57 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's not even a defiant "do your worse" stance. That's more of an "I'll just hang out here until you morons get your shit together and we can do this" stance.

One recollects the last words of the serial killer Carl Panzram, standing on the gallows and asked whether he had anything to say: "Yes, hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could hang a dozen men while you're screwing around!"
posted by mr. digits at 2:51 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of this fella:

"Before his execution, in a spirit of reconciliation, Childers shook hands with each of the firing squad. He also obtained a promise from his then 16-year-old son, the future President Erskine Hamilton Childers, to seek out and shake the hand of every man who had signed his father's death warrant. His last words, spoken to them, were (characteristically) in the nature of a joke: 'Take a step or two forward, lads. It will be easier that way.'"
posted by Diablevert at 6:13 PM on March 5, 2013


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