Category Archives: Uncategorized

The slow decline in public heroes

With the passing of Neil Armstrong, not Neil Young NBC, I pause and despair for the state of our cultural economy. This was the first man to land on ground not of this earth, and yet too many young people know more about  Snookie than the achievements of this amazing man and his very few peers.

9 men ever landed on the moon, many millions behave embarrassingly and do little more for notoriety. As a society we must challenge what our young people are idolising. Our lives are reliant on men like Armstrong, engineers who have resurfaced this globe to our bidding. Scientists who have given us the power to communicate across the globe, with computers more powerful than the Eagle lunar module.

So here are a few names of those whom we should ensure that our young people know, and never forget the gifts they have bestowed upon us.

Neil Armstrong – First Man on The Moon.

Buzz Aldrin – Second Man on The Moon.

Alexander Fleming – Discoverer of Penicillin.

Nikolas Tesla – Electrical engineer and creator of AC current systems.

Archimedes – Arguably a founding father of Experimental Engineering.

Alan Turing – Developed Binary (the code your computer is using to reproduce my words).

Leonardo da Vinci – All Round Visionary

Sir Tim Berners Lee – Creator of the Internet

I’m keen to hear your submissions.

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Tax and Politicians

Tax efficiency/avoidance by politicians is so poisonous, not for the pure idea of tax avoidance being morally wrong, but because it leads to individuals who do not pay on the same terms as the people, controlling the people’s finances.

At least when a CEO avoids tax through their company they are controlling an entity that they have a significant stake in. If they incorrectly move too much money from one part of the company to another, it will go bust. Where as with Tax, when a company or its executives do not pay its full dues to the country in which they operate, the corporate or individual entities may maintain a financial benefit which may not cause an immediately noticeable detriment to themselves.

It comes though to a rather finer point, that when a tax avoider, or someone whose family wealth has come form off shore funds, is responsible for spending and controlling revenues in which they have no financial stake, poor decisions are easier to make, and lack of faith from the people (unable to avoid paying) can only follow.

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NYPD Fail To Follow The Law Again

So the Occupy Wall St protests are continuing in New York, and so they should.

However sadly another aspect of the protests is also continuing. The NYPD’s disregard for Press freedoms.

After the eviction and clearance of Zuccotti Park in mid November, it seems that some NYPD officers haven’t quite got the memo about not disrupting the accredited presses duty to cover protests.

The video below, from around the 2 minute mark clearly shows a police offcer ducking and weaving to disrupt Robert Stolarik’s, who was on assignment for the New York Times, attempts to get an image of an arrest. You also get shown in the video how visible the PJ’s accreditation is hanging around his neck!

You would think that after the amount of negative press the NYPD got last month, for penning away and arresting members of the press, that they’s be a little less obvious and pathetic in the attempts and disruption.

The true irony for me though is the police officer who comes up with a video camera filming everyone who’s trying to film the arrests, as if people filming the police making arrests is a security issue. Hmm I wonder why they would think that.

The video is from Logan Price one of the protestors at OWS

Irony Absent at Mirror

Now I’m one for clarity and transparency, but when a documentary film crew put a behind the scenes video about how they got footage of something which is impossible to film in the wild. You don’t splash on the front page that they’ve deceived people.

Especially if you have in your history a front page of unverified and false images which put the lives of British military personnel at risk!

So you can imagine my [non]amusement when the Mirror decided to splash on their front page the other day that the “Beeb Faked Frozen Planet.” Which is disingenuous as a headline alone.

Then you cast your mind back to a rather sorry state of affairs which saw then Mirror editor Piers [I’m a douche] Morgan booted from the paper in disgrace.

Yes, it was The Mirror who in 200 splashed on their front page their own little fakery. An image, and more inside, of what they claimed to be British armed forces mistreating Iraqi PoW’s. Now for me, at the time about to join the army, when those images were published ruled out me ever reading/paying for/being associated with The Mirror.

Now however they seem to lack an irony sensor to alert them when they’re about to commit another falsehood upon the British public.

To splash on the front page a story that a documentary producer has published on their website how they filmed something, and you were stupid enough to not realise it, is truly ignorant of their own history and record of failure to provide the truth to their audience.

The two front pages provided for you below.
Mirror abuse FPMirror, Faked Frozen planet

Is Gore Needed To Report War?

This last week the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all used similar images on their front pages to report the bombing of a shiite Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The attack which together with a second bombing made it one of the bloodiest day in the 10 years of War, was claimed by Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants from Pakistan.

The days events were dramatic and terrifying, for picture editors trying to mediate this in picture form to readers is a difficult and sometimes impossible job. Especially when you have to balance the need for showing the most descriptive images and causing distress to those unsuspecting browsers of the mornings newsstands.

In an interview for a Washington Post Blog, the Editors each laid out their reasonings for use of such similar and graphic images.

However the most telling is their reasons for leaving certain aspects of the images out, Like the baby in yellow. Which is visible in the images used by the NYT and WaPo even if the body is slightly obscured by the WaPo’s editing.

wsjpage

Jack Van Antwerp from the Journal explains his crop saying: “We have a very high sensitivity at the journal to scenes of death and blood. We chose to make the photo as viewable as possible yet still be true to the intention of the moment.”

However Michele McNally of the Times verifies her use of the wider crop saying: “I feel like this is a turning point, sectarian violence in an area that never had such. I don’t feel it was gratuitous – Suicide bombs kill men, women and children.”

nytagain

Speaking generally of the Posts choice, Michel Ducille said: “When there is a dramatic photograph from what i consider a very significant news situation, I think we have an obligation to give a true representation of the event. This scene showed the lifeless bodies of children and the anguished faces of those who lived through the ordeal.”

washpostcover

When during the first Gulf war the Guardian chose to put a picture of a torched body on Pg 2 and 3 there were many complaints sent to the papers picture editor Roger Tooth, who said in a talk at Staffordshire University, that to not show the picture was to deny the reality of war from the public.

charred-iraqi-soldier-600-pix

Willful Blindness and Guilt by Association

The Mail leads today with a photostory about a Tory MP from Cannock Chase, who whilst at a Stag party in France was party to chants of “Hitler!! Hitler!! Hitler!!” salutes to the Third Reich and a man dressed in an SS uniform. Now part of me says well if the MP didn’t actually partake in these acts and was merely present but not directly associated with the group then he’s done nothing wrong. He may have been in the toilet at the point these chants were made and so be completely unaware of the actions of his associates.

However in an apology published on the BBC website Aidan Burley says the following: “There was clearly inappropriate behaviour by some of the other guests and I deeply regret that this happened. I am extremely sorry for any offence that will undoubtedly have been caused.”

Now he could have chosen at this juncture to point out that he personally was offended by the actions taken that he felt compelled to leave the party. Which in mind is what one should do when people start saluting to a regime of prejudice and hatred. However he does not, instead he makes no mention of any disagreement with the behaviour of those involved.

By not out right condemning the actions as offensive in his mind he suggests that the only reason he is apologising is not because he feels they are wrong but because he’s been caught out doing something which he finds ok but which many of us find absolutely reprehensible.

According to the mail story the excuse of it being a stag do and a joke has been fronted. However can we really accept such behaviour in the name of drunken high jinx? I mean whats wrong with dressing the Groom in stockings suspenders and a clownish makeup and tying them to a lamppost? Do we really have to lower the taste to, even ironically, cheering one of the most vile ideologies in Europe’s history?

Update: As of Saturday 17th December Aidan Burley has been sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary, for the Department of Transport.

Britain a Police State?

Student protestors got back on the streets on the 9 of November. A year after the temporary occupation of Millbank, and with the Riots only just behind them, it seems the Police have gotten a bit tired of being pushed around by the youth of the nation on London’s streets.

The police accepted the protest but put on enough officers to have a two man escort for each protestor. and a few spare horses. The feeling as the march through the west end was jovial but after a break out at Trafalgar Square and an (ultimately failed) attempt to occupy the square, the police stepped things up. With the feeling going into the square mile more like something from 1984 or a scene from Children of Men.

Now I know this blog is meant to be on images in the media. But how about the images that we see with our own lives.

The sense of foreboding I felt after witnessing a met snatch squad take a protestor in what could easily have been labeled as a political kidnapping in another country labeled as authoritarian by the west.

The image given to protesters is one of complete control over their movements and actions.

On the 30 November during the national Strike called by the TUC over Public sector pension reforms. Trafalgar square was cordoned off by a 7 foot steel fence. Not some flimsy thing you get around building sites but a solid wall.

The suggestion from the government that all protest in and around London during the Olympics will be banned. It is truly chilling that only 4 years ago the national press, the government and opposition of the time condemned the same brutal policing of protest by China.

As a watcher from afar I supported the police during the G20 riots outside the Bank of England in 2009. I thought of the police as hard done by in trying to control a protest which goaded them into action.

After only a few protests attended as a member of the press, there to document events objectively. I find myself becoming amazed at the abuse of power and heavy handedness of the state to protect businesses and organisations complicit in the market collapse from peaceful protest in a public forum.

The hypocrisy of the West, and the manner in which we excuse police and government authoritarianism, because we think we have power through a vote held at the governments request, leaves me in amazement.

I Have Black Friends Look!

It seems Football and racism are incredibly hard to separate. Especially when the head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter is intent on making ridiculous and prejudiced remarks. In an interview Mr Blatter said: “During a match you may say something to someone who’s not looking exactly like you, but at end of match it’s forgotten.” Claiming that racial abuse, even in the heat of competition on the football pitch can be simply forgotten over a hand shake is ludicrous in its entirety. 

His remarks though show a deeper ignorance, they come only shortly after saying that homosexuals should refrain from being open about their sexuality when the world cup goes to Qatar in 2022.

What was truly amazing though was the image that FIFA used on their press release, Mr Blatter, with Tokyo Sexwale. It was the pictorial equivalent of ‘look I have black friends, I can’t be racist!’ Maybe i’m being cynical, but It seems others have the same thoughts, the joy of the internet is the one trend blog.

Screen Shot 2011-11-18 at 15.25.45

Heavy Policing, But Restrained

Heavy policing but with large amounts of restraint.

 

The video is my own footage, shot at Holborn Circus during the November 9th Student protest. It shows the point that a policeman gets struck by what appears to be a Peroni beer bottle.

 

 

 

Celebration, Justice, or Just Macabre

When the press reported the extrajudicial killing of Osama Bin Laden in February, they were restricted to stock images and archive footage, in their reporting.
Fleet street were left to indulge their sense of humour and ego’s with their headlines rather than use of images. The Sun in their usual crass and low wit form used “Bin Bagged”. In New York the Post went with “GOT HIM!” and the Guardian, as is usual asked a question, “But how could he hide for so long?”

bin-laden-front-pages

When reporting the death or capture of a wanted person the British tabloids are renowned for showing little mercy in the destruction of any possible good memory of the person by their family. or any defense that may have been put in a court of law had they been put to trial in a civilized manner for their ‘crimes’.

When given the chance however the Press will gladly splash their front pages with gore and gloating.

Gathafi

When Gathafi was killed, in what his supporters will attempt to claim was either a blaze of glory as he went out in battle.

Sun
Or as some rebels claim cowering on his knees after being beaten into submission and executed. The papers went on a feeding frenzy, covering their papers in blood, humiliation and bravado. The Sun, ever solemn in its reporting⸘, splashed with “That’s For Lockerbie” seeming to claim responsibility for the event, as the Sun is all powerful and nothing happens without its knowledge or say so⸘

New York Post

The New York Post another from the News Int stable, claimed an American link with its claim of “Khadafy Killed By Yankee Fan” 

Most obvious in the coverage is the free use of death images. Many of the papers used images which were of Gathafi still alive but visibly beaten and very close to death. The major exception to this in the UK is of The Mirror, who printed an image of the despot dead on a mattress.

The Sun’s photographer sent to get images for the follow up stories, spoke of his thoughts about capturing images of himself and Gathafi in a blog post on his site, at the end he asks “I keep thinking I should have had my picture taken with the Colonel himself, but would that have been wrong?” Why would it be wrong to have an image of himself smiling net to the dead dictator but not wrong for the paper to gloat over his death on the front pages?

Mirror

Is it really justified, in the name of showing justice to be done, to display the macabre and brutal end of a man in a judgement against his actions without trial. Why in the act of murder when the act is done from our side, in the name of justice we have no qualms about publishing the gruesome result, about glorifying vengeance, whilst defaming the others for attempting to do the same. The media particularly the red top/tabloid press, engage in extreme hypocrisy on a nearly daily basis. But none more so when it comes to the reporting of war.

Samuel Johnson has had the popular presses number for some time: “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” (The Idler, 1758)

“In war, truth is the first casualty,” attributed to Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC).

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