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Tony Grist

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Cheap [Dec. 28th, 2004|01:08 pm]
Tony Grist
The tsunami puts our man-made disasters (Iraq for instance) into perspective. Politicians disappear from the news broadcasts. Nothing they have done or could do is half as fearsome as this. We see the same footage over and over again: big frothing waves chase holiday-makers through hotel gardens, people huddle in the shelter of a wall until the water sweeps them away, a train that the sea caught broadside lies wrecked in the jungle while a voice-over tells us that some its carriages have still to be found.

I don't like to watch. It makes me feel cheap in every sense of the word. This isn't stuff one should be viewing from one's reclining armchair with a mince-pie in one's fist.

They interviewed a man who was in a fifth floor room when the sea hit his hotel. He said he didn't see how anyone on the beach could have survived. "Afterwards," he added, "we went downstairs and took pictures."

Would I have taken pictures? I hope not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-28 06:03 am (UTC)
What has stayed with me is the grieving and weeping, people undone by their suffering.

One man propped up by his crutches, sobbing.

This is awful.

I know what you mean: how can we have this going on in the background while we play scrabble?

I cannot imagine being a cameraman who is focusing his camera on a suffering mother who has lost her entire family?

The numbers are now up to 40,000, and the diseases haven't even begun yet.

One bit of good news for you this morning: a twenty-day-old baby was found alive floating on a mattress and was reunited with his parents.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-28 06:26 am (UTC)
It's an intrusion. We have no business poking our noses into other people's grief.

And some of that footage is just being run because of its value as entertainment. Pah, it makes me feel like I'm a spectator in the Coliseum.

fourthorns edits footage for a TV news programme. She has written some searing posts about just what this entails.

That's wonderful about the baby.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2004-12-28 08:25 am (UTC)
I've always felt like a voyeur when it comes to watching the news about something like this. How awful.

For all the stories about *good* things, like the baby being reunited with his parents, are thousands and thousands of horror stories. And this is a zillion times worse than all the people who spent Christmas in the airport, here in the U.S. I hope they realize that.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-28 08:49 am (UTC)
The "News", I'm afraid, is just another branch of show business.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2004-12-28 10:46 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, you're right I just keep forgetting that. One of my officemates is DEVOTED to Fox News, and I make fun of her (gently, and to her face) for liking the 'yellow journalism of television'. Yet there isn't that much difference anymore, there isn't anywhere you can go that isn't skewed in some direction.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-28 01:21 pm (UTC)
Fox is notorious for bias, but even the halfway decent news services- like the dear old BBC- have an agenda, usually one weighted towards the concerns and interests of the establishment.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2004-12-28 01:48 pm (UTC)

Sometimes I am still Pollyanna - 'everything is fine, no one has an agenda, the news is only the truth and everything you read in the newspapers is true.

Then I am reminded to grow up.

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From: morrison_maiden
2004-12-28 11:05 am (UTC)
I don't like to watch. It makes me feel cheap in every sense of the word. This isn't stuff one should be viewing from one's reclining armchair with a mince-pie in one's fist.

I feel the same way. I was watching it yesterday and the cameras panned by the covered corpses. I think that's horrible. To film the dead when they have no way of preventing it from being done. I'm pretty sure that most people would not want to be photographed when they have died...

I love photography as much as the next curious person, but had I been there (or in any similar natural catastrophe), I would not have pulled out a camera :\
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-28 02:47 pm (UTC)
I think there are times when photographing the dead is appropriate. I think, for example, that Brady and co were entirely justified in photgraphing the civil war battlefields and bringing the horror back home. But natural disasters are a different matter. War photography can have a moral effect, but I don't see that there's any moral purpose behind photographing drowned corpses.
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From: morrison_maiden
2004-12-28 08:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see what you mean. War is definitely a situation where photos are important to understand what it's like. I mean, history books would probably not be as fascinating without the photos from then.
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[User Picture]From: dakegra
2004-12-28 05:32 pm (UTC)
I was stunned to hear one reporter ask a woman 'are you relieved that your mother is safe?'

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-29 01:50 am (UTC)
There is a ritual that has to be gone through. It involves people being asked the stupidest of questions. No real information is elicited. Shocked eyewitnesses say exactly what they are supposed to say on these occasions. The schedules get filled with vapid and intrusive nonsense because it's what everyone expects. Big stories get big coverage even though there's so little to be said that reporters and newscasters have to keep on saying the same thing over and over again.
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2004-12-29 12:58 am (UTC)
Our family saw this on the news right before sitting down to dinner. Eating a nice dinner knowing what was going on almost seemed a crime.
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[User Picture]From: hepo
2004-12-30 08:31 am (UTC)
I too sat and watched the horror unfold on a local news programme as wave upon wave raced through an Indian resort. The shots were taken by a holiday maker from the balcony of a Hotels second floor using a small hand held Digi camera. He filmed a group of locals clinging to a disintegrating one story building - there screams and their eventual demise as each one in turn was swept away. How annoyed I was by the Camera users callous attitude putting horrific drama above all human life. In disgust I shouted at my TV screen for him to put the camera down and help them. Of course he could not hear me, and besides the scene was a day old.

With additional information about the terrible catastrophe still unfolding -a ticker tape to my TV - I began asking myself simple questions: why didn't the amateur cameraman run down to a first floor window and grab the locals as they swept past? Could he not have made a make shift rope and tossed it to them? or perhaps just shout words of encouragement, such as 'Hold On!' But no, he just holds a camera and films it all. And why did the News agency pay for such a film!

I guess, for some, we have become a nation of drama junkies force fed by the News media. As to cold turkey: it came earlier in the year when a man, caught on a camera phone from a passing train, was seen sodomising a goat. Such is the sick world we live in.

Yours

HePo
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-30 08:47 am (UTC)
I saw that footage and thought, I'm watching a snuff movie here....
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