Monday, May 9, 2011

The Pornography Principle

The media , the television news media in particular, have a fetish over what Bill Maher termed 'disaster porn' or the well done but over-analyzed news stories that cover death and destruction in every corner in the earth that it can be found. the coverage of these stories are necessary and are in the mandate of modern news media to inform the public, however in this this pursuit of not only the disaster or the various tales of human misery paraded to audiences in a much cooler political climate in the search for viewership, reveals the pornography principle that underlies coverage of such disaster. 

The pornography principle described so far is not meant to allude to the sexual context which the word 'pornography' immediately signifies but to the point at the heart of pornography itself, that being, sex (in the word 'pornography' original context with regard to its meaning), on a scale, (or quality) most will not experience.In pornography, the physical and psychological barriers that may impede on average person's sex life are absent as the participants placed in front of the viewer enjoy sex at a scale most people will never come across, thus what is left is the fantasy, which serves the purpose of stimulation to the viewer. 

Apply the pornography principle to news media with regard to coverage of disasters, the principles holds the same only the context (political, economic, ecological disaster) and consequence (human misery) changes with the stimulus intent on invoking shock or fear. In the 24 hour news cycle this principle is exacerbated with a echo chamber effect caused by the same news constantly referred to on every news channel regardless of location and viewership. 

The viewer is then over saturated with powerful images  which becomes devoid of the context of the news story, thus the consequence of this process ensures news no longer informs but provides spectacle, presenting images of disaster and human misery on a scale the viewer will never encounter. With this spectacle the telos of news reporting (informing the public) becomes lost in the parading of spectacle with stimulation provided by it, though negative, is as captivating as the images found in the pornographic in it's proper context. In sum, the pornography principle in  news media can be pernicious so long as the viewer is aware of has the means to derive context of the spectacle presented to him or her.                    

Brilliant Short on Consent

 From Brendan McCooney

A view on UK Foreign Policy

Classic clip from Yes Prime Minister

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Living in the End Times:

Brilliant Documentary by Marxist Philosopher Slavoj Zizek

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Death of Bin Laden: Why the 10 year Wait?

The death of Osama Bin laden, source of triumph for the Obama administration and a source of US suspicion and embarrassment of the pakistani intelligence community, has brought an end to a manhunt that has spanned a decade and a half. Bin Laden was found in a compound worth $1 million in a relatively affluent area in Pakistan situated next to the country's 'equivalent 'Westpoint or Sandhurst'. The discovery then liquidation of Bin Laden, while celebrated by the US government officials and the general public at large, has brought up more questions than answers, two of which proved to be prominent, firstly, how can Bin Laden go undetected  in compound near to a military academy not to mention the various clues that should have led to at least a minor growth of suspicion with respect to million dollar property with colombian drug dealer like security levels without internet access or any another form of communication and secondly, why has it taken so long to find, capture, and kill Osama Bin Laden given that Bin Laden's broke his usual pattern of evasion in 2005, despite it being well known his whereabouts were in pakistan. A plausible answer to these questions lies in a change in priorities as shown in the video below.

Bush's attitude in the video towards the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden seems to provide ample reason why finding Bin Laden required such a wait and can explain why the CIA shut down Alec Station in 2006, a unit dedicated well before Bin Laden became a 'household name' to killing or capturing him with focus shifted to foiling plots from 'Al-Qaeda inspired groups' rather than actually addressing key 'Organisations and Individuals'. This follows the trend experienced by other units in pursuits of Bin Laden such as Delta Force were reassigned from their hunt for Bin Laden to Al-Zarqawi, with the escalation of the iraq war between 2005-06. 

It can be argued that this change in tact and target could be due to considerable growth in the knowledge of Al-Qaeda an organization acknowledging the decentralized structure and the increased occurrence of  terrorist attacks independent of any central command. In sum, the death of Bin Laden signals neither the beginning or end with respect to the war on terror but a major scalp on the battlefield from which the US can draw hope, however the 'scalp in question happens to be a scalp that should not have taken ten years to claim.                 


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