A letter to from reader Melissa McEwan responding to Farhad Manjoo's article on the Nick Berg beheading video:

Coincidentally, just before I read Farhad Manjoo's latest article, 'Horror Show,' my husband was pointing out to me the top searches list on For months on end, it has been the usual drivel; the week after the Super Bowl, the top five searches were something like Janet Jackson Super Bowl; Janet Jackson halftime show; Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime, Janet Jackson breast; and Janet Jackson Super Bowl breast.' And for months on end, we've been bemoaning the complacency of the American public; why aren't they searching for Fallujah, Taguba, something — anything — that resembles an interest in something other than celebrity scandal?

Today the top searches include Iraqi Prisoner Photos and Abu Ghraib. He commented that it seems like the tide is finally turning; people are finally interested. Perhaps, I said. Hopefully, I said. But the only thing that's changed, the only thing we can be sure of, is that there are finally pictures. Does the average searcher on MSN make a distinction between searching for pictures of Janet Jackson's breast and searching for pictures of Iraqis being tortured? Is it just more of a titillating sameness, or are people really starting to pay attention, now that they have something almost unavoidable to pay attention to? I hope it's the latter.

It is ironic, then, that the AI-generated Sponsored Links listing at the bottom of the Salon page featured this:

Courtesy of


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