Archive for the ‘media’ Category

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dead eyes; are you just like me?

April 22, 2007

it seems like everyone is talking about the Virginia Tech massacre right now, and rightfully so – thirty-two people lost their lives when a disturbed young man, Seung-Hui Cho, went on a killing spree a few days ago.  it’s definitely important to discuss this tragedy, and to try to find some sort of sense in it.  at least, that’s what i’m sure many of the people personally involved in this tragedy are trying to discover – what was the reason behind Cho’s actions?  what motivated him to kill someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s friend?  and all around the world, people are trying to determine the same thing.  what could possibly drive someone to commit such a horrendous act against his fellow man?

(c) Seung-Hui Cho & NBC

it was a tragic incident, and needs to be discussed.  so was it wrong of American broadcasting network NBC to air and distribute portions of Cho’s multimedia suicide note?  many seem to think so.  the parents of one of the victims even went as far as cancelling their appearance on NBC’s TODAY Show.  but as far as i’m concerned (and my husband Dylan backs me up on this one), pissing off a bunch of viewers and offending the victim’s parents is a small price to pay to allow us, the disattached masses, a glimpse into the mind of a killer.  i’m sure my remarks sound callous, but let’s be realistic – for a start, what could the parents of one of the victims say that we, the viewers, don’t already know?  we know the families and friends of the victims are grieving – we grieve with them.  we know that losing a loved one is one of the most painful events anyone could possibly experience.  there is nothing that these people personally affected by the tragedy could say that a compassionate public doesn’t already understand.  what we don’t understand, however, is what the killer was going through at the time, and how he could commit such a brutal act.  we can’t comprehend how one man could take thirty-two innocent lives.  and quite often in these situations, we will never know. 

however, this killer left us a clue in the form of the multimedia “manifesto” that he compiled and sent to NBC on the morning of the massacre, after he had already killed two people and was about to kill a whole lot more.  this “manifesto”, and Cho’s sketchy past, are the only real clues we have to what was going on in his mind at the time, and it is not until we take all this information into consideration can we formulate any sort of theory about why he did it, and what we, the compassionate public, can do to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

unfortunately, one of the first articles i read about the incident immediately delved into the conspiratorial aspects of the tragedy, and suggested that instead of blaming lax firearms laws, we should blame violent video games and antidepressants.  i remember the good old days when television was blamed as the root of all evil, but now, instead of taking into account the thousands of people being killed in George W. Bush’s illegal war, or the graphic violence shown in our movie theatres, we point the finger at…  video games?  yes, Cho was disturbed, but was this really due to a combination of first-person shooters and prozac?  video games don’t kill people – guns kill people.  and why was he taking antidepressants in the first place?  was it due to the bullying he recieved at school?  was his intense anger caused not by videogames but by everyday people in everyday society? 

don’t get me wrong – i’m not trying to blame the victims, nor am i defending the killer.  all i’m saying is that the answers aren’t always so easy to find.

i’ll be the first person to admit that i’m a loner.  i was bullied a bit at school.  i take prozac for my depression (ie, stress) and social anxiety.  and guess what – i also play violent video games.  fortunately, this combination of factors hasn’t turned me into a gun-toting maniac, and to be honest, i’m not afraid it ever will.  i’m also reasonably confident that even having possession of a gun wouldn’t be enough to sway me to kill someone.  but let’s face it – the likelihood of these people dying would have been greatly decreased had Cho’s access to guns not been quite so easy.  apparently, one of his guns was purchased from a pawnshop, and the other was ordered online.  it’s the ease with which he purchased these weapons that causes me the most amount of concern.  but naturally, Americans want to protect their second amendement right to bear arms, so the fact that a 23-year-old college student had two guns is not as important as what he did in his spare time.  after all, if another student present during the shooting had had a gun of their own, there is a possibility that they could have prevented (some of) the killings by shooting Cho themselves.  someone needs to remind people sharing this point of view that two wrongs do not make a right.  conversely, Cho’s troubled past does not justify his actions either.  all i am trying to say is that there are two sides to every story, even if one (or both) of the sides is “wrong”, and it’s important that we, the public, is able to see all sides, if not just for the basic human right of being allowed to make up one’s own mind.

so was NBC wrong for making Cho’s final words available to the public?  in my humble opinion, no.  sure, i found many of his personal photographs chilling, and probably just watched the clips to satisy a morbid curiosity to see what all the fuss was about.  but i saved the clips i watched, and have filed them in a multimedia folder on my hard drive next to “911 truth” clips and the Daniel Pearl execution.  does viewing – and saving – these clips make me a sick bastard?  i’m sure my family, partner and kitty cat will attest to the fact that i am not evil or mentally disturbed.  so why did i keep them?  because they’re real.  because these types of events happen all too frequently, and we, as a society, need to learn from them to stop history reapeating itself. 

recently, my father sent me a link to a clip compiling 60 sniper shots by Iraqi insurgents against the US military, and for a moment, i was a little taken aback.  why was my father, one of the most gentle and compassionate people i know, forwarding clips showing American soldiers being murdered?  but the answer’s really quite simple – because it happened.  these things happen every day, but we’re lucky if it’s featured in the crawl along the bottom of the screen during a news programme.  we’re told about these soldiers being killed, but without seeing it for ourselves, the reality of the horror is often completely missed by the audience.  the deaths become a statistic, merely faceless numbers.  sometimes we need to be reminded that these are real people committing these horrific acts, and that these are real people that are dying.

Light & Ryuk - Death Note

i’m sure some people (ie, manga fans) will be horrified by my making this connection, but i can’t help thinking about this whole Cho/”manifesto” business while i’m watching the anime Death Note.  the main protagonist in the story is Light Yagami, otherwise known as Kira, who has the power to kill using a supernatural notebook dropped by a Death God.  by simply picturing his victim’s face while writing their name in the Death Note, Light takes it upon himself to rid the world of evil by killing all the criminals.  he hopes that when society realises evil deeds will lead to certain death, a form of utopia will be created – a utopia where he is the “ruler god”, where he is justice.  all the while, he is being pursued by the world’s most brilliant criminal investigator known as only as L.  i’m usually not a huge fan of manga, but i find this series both engrossing and incredibly thought-provoking.  the line between right and wrong is often blurred, and it’s difficult not to sympathise with Light.  although we know that two wrongs don’t necessarily make a right, and technically we know that Light’s actions are morally (and socially) objectionable, we can’t help thinking that if we were in a similar situation with the same sort of power, perhaps we would do the same thing – for the “good” of all mankind.  and this has been happening throughout history for as far back as we can remember – the religious crusades, ethnic cleansing and even the actions of people such as Seung-Hui Cho were all committed because someone thought the world would be “better off” without certain types of people.  the compassionate human knows these ideas are not right – are not good – but usually we don’t really know how or why someone else would think otherwise.  that’s the beauty of Death Note – it lets us into the mind of the highly intelligent and charismatic Light, helping us to understand that sometimes good intentions are, in fact, morally reprehensible, even though they may seem perfectly sane and reasonable.

English-subtitled episodes of Death Note are available in a number of places online.  You can get them through BitTorrent, or download them from couple of websites.  my preferred choice is Death Fan, which has all the episodes available through MegaUpload, but Death Note TV also has most of the episodes, including some you can watch online.

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make them wish they weren’t born

September 28, 2006

i finally got around to watching Bill Clinton’s entire interview that was on FOX News Sunday this past weekend.  personally, i quite like the man.  sure, he was no JFK, but he was one of the least corrupt presidents that the United States has had.  and at least now he’s trying to atone for any misdeeds he may have committed.

(c) Mark Seligeri learned of the interview from a story on the local (New Zealand) prime-time news – i think it was a clip sourced from CNN, which (naturally) focused entirely on Bill’s little outburst.  i must admit, at the time i was thoroughly impressed with the way he dished it out.  i thought it was important to watch the whole interview to put it all into context, but was a little disappointed with what i saw.  don’t get me wrong – everything Clinton said was true, and i applaud him wholeheartedly for finally taking FOX to task.  but i think he could have handled himself a little better.  unfortunately, but also unsurprisingly, he was on the defensive from the get-go.  i don’t blame him – it was FOX News, after all, and interviewer Chris Wallace was patronizing from the very beginning.  but even though he didn’t take the bait, in the end, he still gave them what they wanted – a diversion from the actual information that he was trying to share.  the media outlets are now trying to turn him into a laughing stock (again).  i’m a little surprised FOX even bothered playing the interview in its entirety – they seem to love their little “Clinton goes crazy” montages.  but not everyone’s playing along.  MSNBC anchor/commentator Keith Olbermann had a few choice words to say about the media’s treatment of the issue – and then got stuck into the Bush administration himself.  but i think Jon Stewart sums it up best (god bless the Daily Show).

of course, after i had already found and watched the clips i wanted to link to on YouTube, i stumbled across a great blog called Crooks and Liars that has conveniently posted all the relevant videos in downloadable wmv and mov formats.  not only that, but they also have transcripts from various news stories.  an intelligent site with great content – now officially my New Favourite Blog, and earns a permanent spot on my links list.

one video they didn’t have was of British politician George Galloway ripping shreds off a Sky News anchorwoman; another fine example of how to handle a stupid question.  This time, the issue is the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict – again, it’s a shame the message might be ignored due to all the flying spittle, but it’s always nice when someone reminds a reporter how to do their job.

and i figured that while we were discussing verbal ass-whoopin’s during interviews, i’d post a link to this YouTube clip of FOX News anchor Julie Banderas taking a fanatical christian down a notch or two.  at least they give as good as they get.  (downloadable version below).

update:  Stephen Colbert forgot what the Word was on the Colbert Report the other night.  like everything else, it was all Bill Clinton’s fault.  this is another show that, for reasons unknown, we don’t get here on NZ television, so i have to rely on the internet for my Colbert fix.  thanks to Crooks and Liars for the video – they have tons more Colbert and Daily Show clips if that’s your thing.  and any clip from a FOX News broadcast is usually good for a chuckle.

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means and lies and hatreds

August 15, 2006

“It is the State of Israel that fails to recognize, respect or defer to the internationally lawful Israeli state of 1948. Israel wants more; more water and more villages. To obtain this, there are those who want, with God’s assistance, a final solution to the Palestinian problem.” – Jostein Gaarder, ‘God’s chosen people’ 

apparently, ynetnews, a Jewish site, has only just realised that some foreign media organizations – namely CNN and the BBC – have been publishing or broadcasting stories with a sympathetic bias towards Lebanon.  i won’t argue with this – i have access to CCN stories via 3 News and BBC World here on New Zealand tv, and will admit that i have noticed that they use phrases like “captured soldiers” and “Israeli propaganda”.  i only notice this, however, because i can compare it to news services like FOX News, (which, unfortunately, also plays here in NZ), who still insist that the Israeli soldiers were “kidnapped”.  how does one kidnap a foreign soldier in one’s own country?  when you sign up for war, you should expect the possibility of capture while you’re invading or occupying foreign soil.

i must admit, i have been feeling hopeful lately while watching and reading the news.  i had noticed the bias towards the plight of the Lebanese and the Hezbollah “resistance” (as long as i stayed away from FOX).  it seemed like the world was starting to wake up and realise what was really going on.  More importantly, people started asking questions and making their voices heard.

reuters.JPGnow, i don’t really condone biased reporting in the media.  i’m glad Reuter’s got busted for publishing and distributing doctored photographs – if you’re a global news outlet like that, it really is your responsibility to screen or fact-check any submissions from amateurs or freelancers – although in this case, any moron can see that the images in question were photoshopped.  badly.  but you have to ask yourself: why is this happening?  surely we in the West have not all become terrorist-lovers.  after all, our governments are constantly reminding us of our impending doom at the hands of the hijackers armed with household cleaning products.  could it just be that we realise, in this particular situation, that Israel is not in the right?  i think Norweigian author Jostein Gaarder said it best when he wrote “We don’t believe in the notion of God’s chosen people.  We laugh at this nation’s fancies and weep over its misdeeds.”  unfortunately, this brave man may end up in prison – speaking out against Israel (ie, “anti-Semitism”) is a punishable offence in the European Union.  so much for free speech…

if you wish to enlighten yourself on these topics, i urge you to read the following articles – knowledge is power, and all that.  the first is the ynet article and the second is about Jostein Gaarder.  the last two raise some questions about the recent “foiled terror plot” – namely “why is airport security making passengers mix explosive cocktails in the trash?” and “haven’t we seen this somewhere before?”

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reruns all become our history

August 2, 2006

“Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories.  The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon.  And since the Party is in full control of all records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it.” – George Orwell, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

we are all being lied to.  every day.  <ominous music>

muzzled.jpgit’s amazing how completely indifferent we all are about the fact that virtually everything we are being told by those in power is false.  the facts are there, but because the media chooses to ignore them, so do we.  no one likes to make waves – or, worse, being labelled a terrorist or anti-Semitic.  so we sit back and let the world leaders do what they like, as long as it’s not in our neighbourhood.

take the current conflict in Lebanon, for example.  you may have had some vague idea that this all started because Lebanon kidnapped an Israeli soldier or two.  even this excuse for war was hypocritical, since Lebanon was merely retaliating to Israel kidnapping some of their troops.  Lebanon wanted to trade captives (even though the Israeli soldiers were captured on the Lebanese side of the border, so were technically not actually kidnapped), but Israel refused to “negotiate with terrorists”.  so they decided to start a terrorist campaign of their own, and weeks later, here we are.

please, don’t get me wrong.  i do not hate Jews.  i am not pro-Muslim.  i’m just sick of the mainstream media telling me what to believe.  not just the media, but also the historians.  and i wish the United Nations would grow some balls.  because, really, this isn’t about a couple of troops.  this isn’t even about fighting terrorism.  this is about deception and manipulation on a global scale.

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to really understand what’s going on in the world, we need to look at history.  the following articles give a really good brief history of how the New World Order / Zionist agenda has used the plight of Israel and the Jewish people for their own evil means.  in short, there was no targeted genocide of Jews committed by the Nazis during WWII.  there was no reason for Jews to receive protection and reparation in the form of their own country.  when Mel Gibson ranted drunkenly during his arrest recently about how “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”, he was mostly right – it’s not all Jews but the crazy Zionists.  Judaism wants nothing to do with Zionism, yet Zionists are waging wars in the Middle East for land that is not rightfully theirs, all in the name of the Jews.  question ’em, question Israel at all, and you’re labelled anti-Semitic – which is ironic, since the race of Semites is comprised mostly of Arabs and only a portion of the Jews.  none of it seems to make any sense, but it’ll all come together when you read the following articles, written more eloquently than i ever could.  some of them may seem long, but even if you just skim-read the first one with all the pictures, hopefully you’ll feel more informed. 

remember, he who controls the media controls the minds of the people.  it is up to us to search out the truth for ourselves.  if more people knew the real reasons why all of these wars around the world were being fought, then perhaps we could get closer to resolving the conflicts and exposing the real criminals.