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View Diary: The obscenity of television 9/11 (185 comments)

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  •  Thanks. (39+ / 0-)

    What I was trying to get at was how each thing... a bicycle chained up that would never be unchained, the ash covered cars that would never be moved, the found papers, the weekly discoveries of damage, the debate over where to take the debris, the daily briefings from a completely politicized EPA that refused to tell the truth because it was talking to cameras rather than citizens, the mayor giving stupid messages about going shopping in lower Manhattan to defeat terror, and then giving good messages about going shopping in lower Manhattan to keep those shop keepers alive (and then they failed anyway), with a rumor here and there per day..... It was daily life. It was melancholy and a steady pressure, and it didn't feel like an "attack" that someone would go "get even" for. It felt like misery.

    I think, in a way, an image-only experience intensifies the anger. Probably the same is true of those peaceful middle eastern nations that see attacks on al Jazeera. The effect of seeing images without the life surrounding can help anger and hate. The effect of misery and long suffering might well be violence, too, but it's less likely to be that Lee Greenwood/Toby Keith kind of thing.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 04:19:19 PM PDT

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    •  "Each thing" was a powerful symbol (5+ / 0-)

      I can only imagine the misery. TV could have made an attempt, without strident voice over, of documenting some of those symbols. But TV started every program on the attack with images of the planes hitting the buildings in a loup.

      Yesterday, I saw on tv a couple, parents who had lost their son, open up what they were given as their son's personal effects and what they found on their own at Fresh Kills. One of the items was a battered key marked

      "World Trade Center, do not duplicate"

      Tv showed it as personal effects in their story but in addition, as a stand alone symbol it was so poetic and powerful.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Tue Sep 06, 2011 at 08:23:58 AM PDT

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    •  a bike (0+ / 0-)

      that no one would ever come back for.

      Hoboken Path station had one. (sigh)

      you're so right about the smell, and the posters. I worked right off Wall st. (at a non-profit) and got madder and sadder as the days and months went by.

      I don't quite agree with !00% of your post, because I see TV as technology, a tool without intrinsic evil or value, although context and content do make some TV objectionable. I live in VERmont, and get tired of people acting as if TV is somehow a negative force (one that these people also "never watch" so I suppose someone used some other communicating tool and told them about how bad it is???) I do appear on TV sometimes, so I do like it...

      other than inspiring some of that stuff in the comments, I need to thank you for your post. my wife was teaching that day, one of her kids dad died in the WTC...

      •  The bikes from the uncounted, too (0+ / 0-)

        After the attacks, the NY Observer and then the Times, or the other way around, began talking about the uncounted dead. There were a lot of them. The street vendors, undocumented immigrants, temp workers.... Not everyone was a Sachs worker. People were just working people, and I hate the attempt to make everyone a saint or a soldier, both. They were people. They were children and parents.

        I didn't put it in the post, but we were fortunate that only three of our children lost a parent, as we had eighteen with parents there, and none of our teachers with children working there lost any.

        My view on television is not to blame television for being television but to note when and where the medium, because of what it does, creates an evil effect. The people who put the original coverage together were freaked out. They were not meaning to do bad at all. However, Marshal MacLuhan talked about the hot and cool mediums, and television is cold. It puts the viewer there, involves every sense, including the narrative sense.

        I watch documentaries, science shows, and stupid comedies. I grew up in the 1970's and wanted to be Johnny Quest. At the same time, this medium is a technology that, by its shape and feel, does some things and does not do others. It does not give context. It's anti-contextual in news. If we add in "commercial" to "television," it is actively anti-contextual. That would be intolerable to viewers by itself, and so it is heavily, heavily narrative. Sometimes, that makes things worse.

        Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

        by The Geogre on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:06:11 AM PDT

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