June 11, 2006

Something's wrong

We live in a culture and a country which rises up in a spasm of outrage because some performer bares part of her breast for a fraction of a second on national television, which then leads to politicians spewing huge volumes of hot air and demanding action, and the federal regulatory body in charge then raises fines for "indecency" in order to protect us from Howard Stern and Janet Jackson's boob.

Yet no one thinks twice about displaying the bloated, distorted ultra-close-up image of the bloody mangled face of the corpse of al-Zarqawi. It's broadcast literally thousands upon thousands of times around the clock, across every possible media outlet, sometimes several times in one short report, alternating between two equally gruesome shots taken from inches away. You can almost smell the death.

Every gruesome detail is shown in close up living (or dead) color. Same with Sadaam's sons whose corpse shots were even more gruesome.

Yet Bush wouldn't even allow the press to take so much as a picture of the flag draped coffins of our servicemen and women arriving home from Iraq. They also flew into an outrage when al Jazeera broadcast pictures of a couple of our captive servicemen as clearly violating the rules of the Geneva convention.

Rise up and take action to protect our precious children from being "harmed" by being subjected to a glimpse of a woman's breast, but blast-cast a picture of the gory mangled image of a corpse in their faces so repetitively that it's seared into their consciences.

Which one contributes more to a "coarsening of our culture" as the right so often decry? (it's the fault of "liberals" of course)

Something is seriously out of whack.

Boobs bad, violent death good, as long as it's a bad guy and one of "them".

Onward Christian soldiers.

25 Comments:

At 6/11/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Ellen Beth said...

I was thinking the same thing. What a change our country has undergone to have this image all over the place and no one raises a comment. Sure feels like we've become a banana republic now.

 
At 6/11/2006 3:12 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

You're barking up the wrong tree here Dope.

It is the press who choses what images we see. A court order mandated that "flagged draped coffins" be shown. Reporters demanded bloated corpses be shown in the aftermath of Katrina. Grisley photos of US civilians killed, torched and strung up on a bridge in Falluja were all in the public domain and certainly available on the internet, as are al Qaeda and other terrorists groups of beheadings and explosions involving both military and civilians.

It's so easy to Blame Bush (tm) for everything (including the fact that the FCC Chairman at the time of the Janet Jackson kerfuffle, Michael Powell, was a Clinton appointee) but why don't we see all these grisley photos you think we should see? Hint----it ain' GWB, it's the press.

I'm not particularly religious myself, but I find your constant snide and snarky comments about Christianity,such as "Onward Christian soldiers" bigoted and obnoxious.

Stop it now.

 
At 6/11/2006 4:29 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dook,
I think your views are somewhat ignorant.

As to your opinion of my views of some "Christian" leaders, good for you. I find them obnoxious and bigoted as well.

 
At 6/11/2006 10:44 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

It is okay because the terrorists did it first and in a much more gruesome way. I mean if we wanted to even the score, we could have beheaded Zarqawi, but we didn't.

Now there is speculation that he might have had a little "help" dying. If it was the same outfit who was on the scene at Ron Brown's plane crash, I am confident they did a nice clean job finishing off Zarquawi.

In the old Wild West, when the outlaws were gunned down, they laid out their bullet riddled corpses for all to see. If anything, it was proof that they were indeed dead.

At the end of WW2 when Mussolini was killed by a mob, they strung'em up by the heels in the town square for all to see. Kicked his head in and spat on him.

I am saying that this kind of thing is not without precedent. And after all, a good terrorist is a dead terrorist, right?

In the same vein, but a little off topic, but I think there is something wrong with our culture when teenagers and seemingly "normal" adults use crystal meth because they think that it is actually safe and harmless and good for them. And then there is heroin, which has made a comeback. For so long, teens have seen it glamorized in movies that they think it is a safe drug. What happened to the good old days when kids were scared of needles?

 
At 6/12/2006 12:59 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,
You have a pretty strange way of argueing this point.

Of course, no one said that violence and public display of the dead, mutilated bodies of the enemy of the moment is without precedent.

I guess you win that argument, though no one was arguing differently.

But in your cavalcade of historical instances of gruesome brutality and murder for all to see, you might have included the public spectacle of lynching as well.

We have a fine history of that in this country, to the point where they'd make post cards out of sickening pictures of blacks with broken necks dangling from trees with men, women, and little children standing around gawking.

The atmosphere was nearly festive.

So are you saying that such instances excuse their use in 2006 by a supposedly civilized country?

You think we're a tad morally superior because we didn't behead the guy?

I'm sorry, but that's insane thinking.

Putting your enemies heads on a pike is barbaric, uncivilized, and a sickening practice.

Certainly one would have hoped that we as a country had evolved a bit further than nearly gleefully indulging in it.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:48 AM, Blogger IHG said...

I have absolutely no problem celebrating the death of a murderer and terrorist like Zarqawi.

He saws the head off of our men and women and puts it on the internet and you write a column like this?

Also, the Janet Jackson 'costume malfunction' was during a family viewing time (they have purposely made Super Bowl halftimes a show so that everyone watches), this picture was a bloated face and nothing more.

I agree with the others, you picked the wrong topic and the wrong side to the topic here...

 
At 6/12/2006 2:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

No IHG... You've picked the wrong side here. It shows some sort of sick warped priorities when you think it's just peachy to show a close up of a bloody corpse's face nearly every 30 seconds and feel it's really a danger to the nation to show a split second shot of a woman's breast ONE TIME on television.

Wallowing in "death porn" is completely warped, desensitizes people to violence and death (much more the violent video games which I'm sure you feel is a blight on our youth.)

It glorifies revenge, and lowers ourselves to the level of Zarqawri.

(By the way, anyone hear that there was a pregnant woman who was also blown to bits in this attack? It was reported initially, then mysteriously never mentioned again. Too bad for her and her child, eh. The baby should have known better than to hang around such characters.)

You twist the argument to suggest it's about whether Zaquawri was a bad guy and deserved to die, which any child can see is NOT what's being argued at all. (show me where that came from?)

If you want to be a ghoul and "celebrate" someone's brutal murder, even that of a an enemy and one who was responsible for murder themselves, then have at it.

Gather your young kids around, prop up a big blown up photo of Zaqawri's bloody face shot so close you can see up into his bloody nostril, and break out the cake and ice cream.

Is that our great American values in action?

I find it immoral and creepy that anyone would "celebrate" anything to do with violent death, no matter if it's considered justified or not.

And of course, we're not debating whether this attack was justified, but rather whether the coverage required that graphic, gory photos of Zaquawri's face be displayed thousands upon thousands of times.

You also try to make the point that the insurgents showed beheadings on the internet. WHO showed them? Was it the official news organizations of a supposedly civilized country?

Or was it ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and every other cable channel, which is where the Zaquari death porn was wallowed in?

There's something very warped and sick about "celebrating" violent death while trying to get the public outraged over a glimpse of a breast.

If your values "celebrate" bloody revenge and the incessant display of your enemies bloody heads, while trying to suggest that children are "harmed" by a split second glimpse of a woman's breast, then I feel confident it's your morals and priorities that are questionable, not mine.

 
At 6/12/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Dope sez: "Dook, I think your views are somewhat ignorant".

Is that all you got?

How unfortunate that this is what passes for intelligent debate in DopeWorld.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I'm not sure exactly what to think about posting Zarqawri's pic all over. I do think that it brings the reality of his death to would-be terrorists out there. I'm sure it deters some from taking the path to violence, and I'd guess that anybody it incites to violence was probably already leaning that way anyway.

The point I thought was interesting was that you talked about how the coffins of American soldiers are still off-limits. This policy is a result of the same fact as above with Zarqawri: Such pictures bring the reality of the war into focus. By, preventing those images from reaching the American people, it is easier for many Americans not to think about it. That is a problem. War is probably the most serious matter any government can commit to, and the people responbile for electing a nation's leaders should have all the information available to them to make an educated choice. They should go to a funeral, to both honor the dead for their service, and to look at the costs of our policy and make a decision as to whether they really want that policy to continue. For those who cannot attend a funeral. Appropriately solemn pictures of Dover would be powerful symbols to inspire contemplation.

If Zarqawri's picture is somehow inspiration that the war is worth fighting (which the administration has been using it for), it only seems right that other images be public in order to make people think about the issue.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dook, that's all that I could say.

I don't think you know what you're talking about and I don't think you know my views either.

You say you think my views are ignorant and biggotted. Is that what passes for debate on your end?

What can I say to that?

That's your view, I think it's dead wrong, and I think your views are largely ignorant of facts regarding this new "Christian" political jihad.

Sorry I didn't go into a book length disertaion, but I'm afraid this isn't the place for that.

Suffice it to say that I believe the so-called Christian Right is neither.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:34 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Lemme see if I got IHG right: We want our children to watch the Super Bowl but we do not expect them to be watching the National News.

I'm having trouble getting my arms around how that leads to responsible citizens.

 
At 6/12/2006 11:16 PM, Blogger tiz said...

I'm glad Zarqawi's dead, but constantly seeing his corpse or any corpse for that matter seems a bit much. I remember a while back you had a picture of a dead Iraqi kid on the front page and several people threw a fit about it, many of whom I'd guess are in the anti-war camp. I guess we don't mind looking at dead people as long as they're bad guys. I think it's definitely an American thing because if you watch any other country's coverage you see dead people from both sides (but usually only once to get the point across).

Americans are also very weird about sex, which is why a gazillion people call in to complain when we see the 0.005 square inches of Janet's boob that wasn't already visible. Any mother who routinely breast feeds in public can probably relate. I wonder, per capita, if there's less or more rape, sex crimes, and whatnot in cultures like ours or in cultures where you can see a pair of breasts on primetime and/or on the beach and not think twice.

Either way, I probably wouldn't want my kids to see either. I on the other hand probably still have jpegs from that superbowl somewhere. :)

 
At 6/13/2006 9:21 AM, Blogger Anon 10:32 said...

You are an anti-American sympothiser. Get on the right track with America.

 
At 6/13/2006 12:49 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

IHG writes, "I have absolutely no problem celebrating the death of a murderer and terrorist like Zarqawi. He saws the head off of our men and women and puts it on the internet and you write a column like this?"

Ultimately, I suppose that we all find some satisfaction from the ravages of our vengeance. We feel charged up with the knowledge that we killed a savage like Zarqawi. It's enough to make us all feel a little stronger and braver. It's enough to make many of us overlook the hand of the dead child, reaching up to the sky from the rubble of the home that we destroyed.

In some respect, I suppose that Zarqawi is not unlike the serial killers Timothy McVeigh, or Gacy, or Dahmer. He is not unlike those beastly beings tried during the Nuremburg trials. What separates him from such other monsters? The other monsters received a trial. They received due process.

We are a nation of law and due process. We are nation of civility in the face of the most abhorrent conduct. We are a nation that must never rightly celebrate summary execution in the stead of capture and due process.

From an article I read recently:

"Dennis Hutchinson of the University of Chicago in a November 18, 2001 Chicago Tribune article cited the comments of Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, chosen to represent the US in any post-war proceeding, explaining the options he presented to President Harry Truman: “We could execute or otherwise punish them [the Nazi officials] without a hearing. But undiscriminating executions or punishments without definite findings of guilt, fairly arrived at, would ... not set easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride.” Jackson insisted that the only appropriate “course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times and horrors we deal with will permit, and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear.”

Jackson feared that summary executions would erode the moral high ground that the victorious powers enjoyed, according to Hutchinson, and that it was necessary as well to document the precise nature of the Nazi crimes for posterity. Jackson commented: “Unless we write the record of this movement with clarity and precision, we cannot blame the future if in days of peace it finds incredible accusatory generalities uttered during the war. We must establish incredible events by credible evidence.”

In a comment directly relevant to the current international situation, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jackson noted that the Allied triumph by itself did not provide the victors with the legal sanction to punish German officials, nor did Allied claims and proclamations. The guilt of the Nazi leaders had to be proven in a court of law.

Jackson declared, “The president of the United States has no power to convict anyone. He can only accuse. He cannot arrest in most cases without judicial authority. Therefore, the accusation made carries no weight in an American trial whatsoever. These declarations are an accusation and not a conviction. That requires a judicial finding. Now we could not be parties to setting up a formal judicial body to ratify a political decision to convict. Then judges will have to inquire into the evidence and give an independent decision.”

 
At 6/13/2006 2:08 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Dope, you're wrong about my "ignorance". But until now, I didn't know that you had imbibed the kool-aid flavor known as Theocracy.

I've read enough paranoid and hysterical rants by the likes of Bill Moyers and Frank Rich to know a segment of the left in this country is convinced that the religious right is more dangerous, harmful and evil than a world full of jihadis.

I never found Moyers',or anyone's, argument about theocracy convincing. Ignorance of theocracy is not the same as rejection of theocracy. Learn the difference.

Also, I said you were an obnoxious bigot, not an ignorant bigot. Learn the difference. ;-)

 
At 6/13/2006 10:23 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Anon 1032,

"Sympothiser", that's an instrument with a keyboard and a microchip, right?

 
At 6/14/2006 12:15 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, way back in the day, I used to have a MOOG sypothiser. It was awesome. Of course now days, they're much more sufisticated.

 
At 6/14/2006 9:02 AM, Blogger IHG said...

This line of discussion is beneath all of you. I looked at the photos again last night in 'US News & World Report' and 'Time' and unless one was told, you could not tell whether the man was dead or sleeping. If this qualifies for offensive in your book, you have issues!

You would all be in the crowd whereby without a picture you would start into the conspiracy theory of 'well if he really is dead, why won't they provide a picture as proof?'

 
At 6/14/2006 9:37 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'm sorry IHG, but I can't help but feeling your views are warped.

If I was sleeping and looked like that, I'd sure the hell hope someone got me to an ER FAST!

Blood clotted in his nose, bloated and severely battered and bloodied face. Yeah.. really peaceful, like a little child sleeping.

Egads man! Get a grip. You really don't have to go to such extremes to try to pretend everything is just fine and dandy.

Things are changing in this country in a very major way, and it's NOT going the way most people want it to go. Apparently, all the disturbing developments and attempts to literally change our form of government and take more and more freedoms away from us don't trouble you in the slightest.

That's fine, but when you go to such farcical lengths to try to rationalize stuff that is obviously wrong, it just gets weird.

I don't want my kids or anyone's kids being confronted with graphic death over and over and over and over again, ESPECIALLY when you and others think the government should throw it's huge resources at saving kids from seeing a slit second of a woman's breast on TV, AND when this administration made the judgement for all of us that we couldn't handle and shouldn't be exposed to the sight of neat, tidy, sanitized photos of flag-draped coffins arriving at Edwards Air Force base!

We shouldn't be allowed to see that from time to time as a reminder of the horrible toll George's excellent adventure is costing all of us?

But a guy that looks like a ton of bricks landed on his face should be shown literally thousands of times around the clock? Simply because he's a "bad guy" and it's A-OK to indulge in unbridled blood lust?

I just think that's twisted. Sorry.

As to your dodge that we're all better off now that the guy is dead... I ask, really? You really buy that?

If so, it's very slightly. The actions of this administration have created literally legions of terrorists where none were before.
Killing the leader of a small subset of them is but a drop in the bucket.

bin Laden wanted Zawquari dead anyway, as he was killing fellow Muslims and was a loose cannon. Some say bin Laden himself made sure he was given up. Who knows?

And as far as needing a picture to believe he was dead. A picture doesn't mean anything. If a two-bit murderer for hire can fake a picture of someone's death, I kinda think the CIA or military would be capable of it.

I don't doubt the guy is dead. I also don't believe a word of the explanation of the events surrounding it. Hell, it changed about five times in the first 48 hours afterwards!

If it changed about 30 more times, it would have tied the times that Bush has changed the reason we're supposedly stuck in this meat-grinder in Iraq to begin with.

I can't even remember what it is now. Is it "freedom on the march", or are we establishing democracy in the region, or any of the other dozen or so ever-changing rationales?

You seem to be a willing dupe for every propaganda ploy that comes down the pipe. You actually have stated that you subscribe to the "flypaper" idea that fighting people in Iraq keeps them from attacking us here. A more ridiculous notion can't be imagined, but apparently you buy it.

But we didn't need a picture of a bloody battered face to think he was dead. If anyone doubts he's dead, the picture isn't going to stop them from doubting. That argument is, typically, simplistic and facile.

And it also ignores the point that the gory pictures were shown WALL TO WALL for over two days.

People used to parade the bloody severed heads of their enemys on pikes.

Haven't we progressed a little bit since then? Because all this reveling in blood lust amounts to is the same thing fitted to the media age.

I find it a step in exactly the wrong dirction, especially when those who profess to have a handle on what morality is correct defend and excuse it.

(sorry for going on so long, but this sort of hypocritical thinking just pisses me off.)

 
At 6/14/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger IHG said...

Wow, chill Dope. Let's get a grip on reality, the fact is that there are bloody pictures on TV, newspapers, etc. all the time. I am sorry that a bruised face, a broken nose and a few drops of blood affect you to such a degree.

You are bent out of shape because something good came out of Iraq - nothing more, nothing less.

To mask your disdain of Bush, the effort in Iraq, whatever, under the guise of morality - come on. I don't know you, but even this is beneath you.

If you are so outraged by death, if you want to hide death and the ugliness of death from our children, then I invite you to get a shovel and start getting all the road kill off the side of the road, as this really is gross and offends my child (my wife too).

 
At 6/14/2006 3:56 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Dope, you and some other commenters are wrong about the flag draped coffins.

First thing, this policy of not photographing the coffins was initiated during BushI Administration, was continued by Clinton and now BushII. So you can't "Blame Bush" (tm) on this.

Second thing is that last year a college professor filed a FOIA on this and the photos of the coffins were released. I hope this makes you happy. I don't understand why the press didn't "flood the zone" with these pictures once they were released, except they probably think the daily photos of what blew up in Iraq are more graphic, and therefore more sexy. Here's the proof.

Third thing is, and I know I have mentioned this before, it is the PRESS that decides what we get to see, and how often----not the POTUS, whoever he/she may be.

Hope this helps.

 
At 6/14/2006 11:13 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dook, I accept your premise that it's the press who ultimately decides what's aired and how often. But I also maintain that it's the White House who has an enormous amount of influence on what's released, when it's released, and how it's played.

To that extent, the press is, very wrongly, an all too willing press adjunct of the White House, and in Fox New's case, in all but name, a closely coordinated White House press operation.

 
At 6/15/2006 2:26 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Well gee Dope, if the WH has so much influence, why do you suppose the Abu Graib photos were played on a continual loop for months. Abu Graib was on the front page of the NYTimes, even on days when there was no new "news", for a solid month. Yeah, I know, the NYTimes is just a right-wing newsletter. Whatever.

 
At 6/16/2006 9:21 AM, Blogger IHG said...

Dope, "the White House has great influence in the press." Gad zooks man you have totally lost it!

 
At 6/16/2006 9:05 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I haven't lost it bub.

You're just not thinking things through. The White House has ENORMOUS influence over the news.

Don't mistake the fact that from time to time, despite their obsession with control, loyalty, and secrecy, by all accounts even worse than the Nixon White House, some damaging evidence trickles out and the press reports it.

The right then feels that these very rare occasions are the end of the world and screetch and hollar about that damn "liberal media". Of course, they don't say much about whether the reports are TRUE... just get outraged that the press dare even to report anything which shows Bush and his cronies in a bad light.

The White House dictates what it will release and what it won't. They also strictly control the timing of what they release. If it's good news, then they release it at the right time for coverage.. if it's bad news, then they dump it late on Friday afternoons.

Watch or read the transcripts of one of Scott McClellan's press conferences and tell me the White House doesn't control what information is given to us.

Also, there is a definite link between the corporations which own news outlets and the White House. When these corporations are fighting tooth fang and claw to be allowed to further merge and consolodate and they need the Bush FCC to waive rules to allow it, they are NOT going to be rushing to report things damaging to Bush.

And even if they do, one call from the White House is enough to kill a story.

Another way the White House has huge influence is in simply the carrot and stick approach to the White House press corp.

If any reporter dare question Bush too hard, or report something they don't like, that reporter finds their sources dried up and vanished, they are denied access to figures, and essentially, are out of business.
A reporter can't function without sources, and they are intensely aware that this White House most definitely won't hesitate to punish them for reporting anything unfavorable to Bush. The accounts and instances of this are numerous.

Banishment is alive and well in the Bush White House press corp. (unless you're a gay prostitute from some phony press organization who asks softball questions, in which case you're granted unprecidented access to the White House hundreds of times. See the Jeff Gannon episode.)

And with this administration being the most pro-corporate administration perhaps in history, and that some of those corporations own nearly all news outlets, and many others sponsor programming and spend billions in advertising dollars every year.

Since these corporations are mostly tilted towards the right, with CEOs and officers who are huge Bush supporters, the subtle and powerful pressure is there that it's not appreciated if the media reports too strongly on Bush or certainly, it's frowned on to do much hard-hitting investigation.

The result is that even when stories appear which are negative for Bush, the news outlets bend over backwards to provide someone to defend the administration.

Even though wrong is wrong, and the Bushies are often dead wrong, no news outlet (and I'm thinking cable news) will dare state the obvious. They always present it as open to debate and make sure that someone is given time to present the White House spin.

This goes so far as to have supposedly neutral presenters (Blitzer, Zahn, etc.) who will argue vigorously for the White House spin points against anyone who is discussing their misdeeds or lies, so scared are they of being judged "biased", as well as knowing that they won't last long if they're perceived as not defending the right wing line.

This hasn't been the case prior to this administration.

I'm not saying that it's soley the Bushie's fault, but they've certainly cultivated it and actively encouraged the press to be supine and pliable to their wishes.

The White House also actually holds an event where right wing talk show hosts can broadcast from the White House, complete with dozens of top administration officials available for soft-ball interviews to present the spin.

Add to this their control over media coverage in Iraq, where they dictate where and when reporters are allowed to go.

And the massive, multi-million dollar effort by the White House press office which blast faxes thousands of media outlets on a regular basis providing spin and talking points which are then in turn regurgitated by hundreds of radio hosts, newspaper columnists, and pundits, sometimes verbatim. (this too has been documented extensively)

If you think the White House has no infleuence over the media, I suggest it's you who's "lost it", or more corectly, never got it to begin with.

 

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