I am not sure if there are two Benjamins or one (I copy pasted emails 
that did not appear on the list) ? I forward these emails to Nettime


benjamin wrote:

> interesting points on an ever-open issue.
> consider that without mass-media, would it be possible to say that 
> very few people would hear about the grievances of the world? 

news spread without media, gossip is still faster than the press

> if so it could be said that the mass-media is both guilty of supplying 
> information and more often than not, 

yes - they live on that first of all. imagine no war on the planet for a 
year: CNN becoming a peace station - > falling number of the public - > 
loosing jobs war reporters. no "brave" prefix to journalist heroes

> leaving it's observers totally helpless towards being able to 
> influence. on the other hand; in "following" a story, the observer is 
> able to satisfy their caring impulses by being able to express their 
> concern with other sharers of the mass's global information media - to 
> neutralize such impulses through passive engagement in the materials 
> without which there would have most probably been no issue in the 
> first place.


> entertainment for the compassionate soul? what can we learn of 
> humanitarian impulses when drawing a distinction with say sexual 
> impulses for example?

mean like eros and thanatos consuming. but these images are different in 
peace and war society.

> afterthought: what differences and similarities lay between the 
> mass-media of a country with a functioning economy and working public, 
> and the mass-media of a country which does not have this stability?... 
> pacification/motivation ?

i don't think it matters. advertising and propaganda do function the 
same way, only goals are different.

Benjamin Geer wrote:

> "The night they showed POWs and the dead soldiers, Al Jazeera showed
> them, it was powerful, because Americans don't show those kinds of
> images.  In most of the news, America won't show really gory images,
> and this showed American soldiers in uniform, strewn about a floor, a
> cold tile floor, and it was revolting.  It was absolutely revolting.
> It made me sick at my stomach.  And then what hit me was, the night
> before, there had been some kind of bombing in Basra, and Al Jazeera
> had shown images of the people, and they were equally if not more
> horrifying, the images were.  And I remember having seen it in the Al
> Jazeera office and thought to myself, 'Wow, that's gross.  That's
> bad.'  And then going away and probably eating dinner or something,
> and you know, it didn't affect me as much.  So the impact that had on
> me made me realise that I just saw people on the other side, and those
> people in the Al Jazeera office must have felt the way I was feeling
> that night.  And it upset me on a profound level that I wasn't
> bothered as much the night before."
> I found this very strange.  Why was it different for him to see dead
> American bodies than to see dead Iraqi bodies?  The only explanation I
> can think of is nationalism.  Nationalism makes you feel compassion
> for some people and not others.

But that is media intoxication. Show him ANY body not telling the nation 
and ask how he feels and you can see only two things: a human or a 
psychopath. If the second - deal with care...

> So you're right that showing dead bodies isn't necessarily going to
> make any difference.  But the media play an important role in
> constructing people's nationalist feelings, in teaching people that
> some dead bodies matter more than others.

That is the actual calculation with death, but media is supporting that 
as if the number matters!!! No number matters as those are persons, and 
for their families only some matter. The calculation of numbers of dead 
people is really, really necrophiliac.

But what matters are their families - so what you have at the end is 
families of 8500 people and it is natural that everyone tries to find 
some meaning in death (a big deal of the civilization based on that 
quest). And when none recognizes their lost it is what you get. First 
one that say "it was not without reason" are getting them into more and 
more of troubles, nation is one explanation, it can be religion too, 
social explanation.... But, the worst is that after becoming a number - 
they are used to provoke a new conflict which probably they would not 
approve themselves if they would be alive.

>> > If
>> > there were no news about the war, nobody outside Iraq would even be
>> > aware that there's a war going on.
>> One may give the opposite argument: if there would be no report on war
>> on Iraq it would never been used in different campaigns so - less evil
>> would happen.
> I don't understand.  What campaigns?  Do you mean the anti-war campaigns?

Also war campaign.

> Here in Egypt where I live at the moment, nearly everyone seems to
> watch Al Jazeera.  I watch it, too.  Practically every evening, the
> lead story is about the dead and wounded in Iraq or the occupied
> Palestinian territories.  Millions of viewers are accustomed to
> turning on the TV every evening and seeing Arabs dying at the hands of
> Americans or Israelis.  They also frequently see talk shows in which
> the guests describe George Bush as a war criminal.  OK, they don't
> necessarily do anything about it.  But everyone I've talked to here is
> outraged about it.  They're not enjoying a spectacle.  

Says nothing - a live horror nearby. Well all until they react they are 
actually perverse, as they can zip channels and enjoy a love story.

> They feel that
> this is happening to their neighbours, to people very much like
> themselves, and that it could happen to them, too.  I think those
> feelings aren't good for a regime like Egypt's; everyone here seems to
> be well aware that their government is an American client that
> receives billions of dollars per year in US military aid in exchange
> for maintaining its peace treaty with Israel, and for allowing US
> warships to go through the Suez canal on their way to the Persian
> Gulf.

Well I don't know what is everyone (generalization) but each one on own 
place can change things as otherwise when it happens to them - things 
are going to be similarly received...

>> > case of wars waged secretly by the CIA: by the time Americans found
>> > out what their country had done, it was too late to take action; the
>> > war was over, the victims were dead.
>> And did reports on war in Iraq reports stopped them?
> > This has indeed happened in the
> I remember vividly watching the TV images of bombs falling on Iraq in
> 1991.  I remember being horrified and angry.  I think this is one of
> the reasons I got into political activism in the first place.
> I think you're the one who's playing games here, because for some
> reason you don't like the phrase "public opinion".  

No as I do not think there is "the public" but are, when it is the 
matter of life and death - individuals, as that is how each of them 
comes and goes from the planet. They should be addressed as individuals 
on the matter of own moral conscience, not the average move of the 
statistics of minds

As, if the public opinion is the thing that is enforced, it is actually 
based on the system of underlining the majority which actually serves 
the voting system only that, of course, justifies again the action done 
by whoever has invested the most in the campaign it seems.

> Fine.  Use
> whatever phrase you want.  Some people thought apartheid was good.
> Other people thought it was bad.  What do you call that difference?

This is relativist attitude, but I don't think it is about thinking 
still. Death is about fear, rage and emotions... all different is perverse.

> In everyday language, it's called a difference in public opinion.
> Gradually public opinion turned against apartheid, and that was a
> major factor in bringing it to an end.

you don't think that was an engineered opinion but people were afraid to 
tell each and one for oneself that actually they do not feel good about 
the system that is self-improving itself? I doubt. that would actually  
forward most of the people were "bad" and suddenly they turned "good"  I 
am of the opinion many people didn't like it at all but - they didn't 

> The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just a military one, it's a
> conflict for global public opinion.  Palestinian activists are trying
> to get the American public to see Israel as an apartheid state;
> Zionists are trying to get the American public to see Palestinians as
> terrorists.  

That is media interpretation - simplified on the double bind that allows 
the procedure of the conflict. It is actually some people being 
endangered on both sides that are for some particular reason staying 
with some other people... some lost someone, some do not want to loose 
something, and those things are personal, but interpreted as such.

> Both sides know that if the Palestinians win that battle,
> the US may force Israel to make major concessions.  Therefore one side
> shows Palestinian bodies on TV, and the other side shows Israeli
> bodies (and tries to pretend that they're as numerous as the
> Palestinian ones).

Which the "neutral force" is not clearing up in victims economy; 
therefore 1. revenge economy, 2. media economy. - > 3 revenge via the 
media argument? = producing the war by the media.

> You're avoiding the question.  Either TV news can incite people to
> take political action or it can't.  Which is it?

Well, that sounds like a double bind, which is not: - most of
TV stations are "interpreting" / making discourse which are
self-justifying, consistent, coherent to the explanation which in the
basis of their ownership), especially speaking on war, where rarely
media does not choose sides (literally or connotatively).

As Sontag argues, and I do see functioning - images of "distant death"
are actually enforcing passivity not the action. But, voting is not
a real action (thought action) but is also a passive choice made
by the media's choice to promote, or advertising working behind.
Neither those that consume death or those that are addressed to as
voters are doing things. So, no. But there were some cases where it
happened /Eastern Europe, when it was breaking the censorship within
the country)

> but do correct me in practice not by emails.
> If emails are useless, why did you start this discussion?

when you say to japanese and french artists they are war profiteers
they are insulted but they do not do it again : P (works on ego and
stops at least some)


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