All I might suggest is “cultural updating” throughout the . . . what do we want to call them? “Unmodern”? — and no modern nuclear blast will be pretty either — world plus some shift in rules of engagement, including photography and communications, in the field.
I’ve been an accidental viewer of “war porn” — not always accidental: I “clicked” to see my first beheading, firing squad, mass execution, combat helicopter footage (all on YouTube), and so on, and then as a casual blog editor — no connections, no revenue — I found myself posting forensic outrages: https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/ftac-on-war-porn…/ The start of the worst was a photo of two children hanging from rafters in a Burmese hut. I was writing about the Rohingya Muslims. That photograph, which I had downloaded and republished, changed my statistics, and I eventually deleted it from my blog’s library and provided the LiveLeak URL in its place. We’re an f-ing wild and ghoulish species, apparently. And “porn”, which I interpret loosely as “exceptional explicit display” of anything, sells. When it’s pretty and waxed, it sells cars and cameras and guitars (“guitar porn” — ask a musician). When it’s conflict and sex, countless thousands to millions want to see spilled blood and sperm.
I don’t like sensationalized conflict shock images because they’re used to mask other political, social, and psychological realities. They make us angry when we see them — those children hanging from rafters, this young man to the left, infants washing up out of the water in Libya after their attempted migration by boat fails. We know what’s happening; we need to leave the dead to the grace of God; and we need to better focus on the politics (and psychology and language behavior — if you’re like me) that produced the horror.
Prompt: a discussion about visual propaganda.
BackChannels decided some time ago to demur on reposting sensational images of death and tragedy. If it had a photographer in the field sending live data? Perhaps it would go with the feed . . . I don’t know; however, promoting cause with shock — humans burnt alive (seen it in stills and videos — what is done to “witches” in Africa); hangings from cranes (who hasn’t seen that obscenity from out of the Ayatollah’s Iran?); stonings (at least the Soroya movie version); chemical gassing (thanks, Assad); barrel bombing (thanks, Assad); etc. — seems to me a particularly egregious practice (look at me! look at me! look at me!) and one that should undermine the publisher’s argument and cause.
Partisan causes — Christian missionary publications, for example; ISIS on display in the media, for another — turn death into art (like Nazis turning skin into lampshades) frequently, and I, and I hope others, abhor them for doing that to us.
Related: DiLonardo, Mary Jo. “What are thought viruses?” Mother Nature Network, August 27, 2015.
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