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Corrosive Shame
Therapy for Life
In the true spirit of work avoidance, I was chatting with my brother earlier and he told me how he downloaded one of the videos of an American hostage being beheaded in Iraq. I did the same weeks/months ago with the first and found it quite traumatic viewing.

His point was that the footage should be shown on national TV, which as far as I am aware hasn't happened yet (though it's got some people in trouble in South Africa - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3684094.stm). I don't know what happens elsewhere in the world, for example in the US.

So, should the footage be shown? Would it encourage calls to withdraw our troops and civilians? Will it be of little impact to the playstation generation who have become desensitised to violence and bloodshed?

Rather than allow for endless permutations of "After the watershed", "On satellite", "On subscription" I've kept the choice binary. Opinions appreciated.

Poll #355339 Too graphic for Joe Public?

Should the beheading of hostages in Iraq be shown on TV?


Current Mood: interested

14 lies or Lie to me
From: feanelwa Date: September 24th, 2004 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
No it shouldn't. Some viewers won't care because they've watched too many special effects; other viewers will be appalled that they showed it on TV and will refuse to listen to the rest of the article.

And it's fake and therefore propaganda, which I ought to whinge about on principle.

And even if it wasn't fake, somebody's death is their own affair and shouldn't be shown on television even if they died for a cause or shouldn't have died. The knowledge of them having died in those circumstances is enough; showing the death won't further affect anybody who wasn't already affected by the knowledge of it having happened.
blue_room From: blue_room Date: September 24th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Mark W: It's propaganda, to show it on television would encourage people to do this more often as 'it gets our cause time to air our message on TV'.
Much in the same way that Blair and his best buddy cannot respond to the kidnappers by acceeding to their demands, to do so invites more and more kidnappings and deaths.
kneeshooter From: kneeshooter Date: September 24th, 2004 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah - this was one of the arguments I used earlier. However, if you look at the amount of coverage there is already there isn't all that much further to go. There are pages of newsprint, stories on websites and hours of television footage that covers the story, recovery of bodies and parts of the kidnappers own films.
ruana1 From: ruana1 Date: September 24th, 2004 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)


For all the reasons above, but most particularly that a person's death shouldn't be fodder for the masses. (Issues of permission aside, being moot in this situation.) Intellectual arguments are, for me, merely a front for the gut feeling that it's a line we shouldn't cross.
kneeshooter From: kneeshooter Date: September 24th, 2004 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: No.

Hello :-)

It's not always this serious btw.
ruana1 From: ruana1 Date: September 24th, 2004 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: No.

Hello to you too. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
From: ikkleblacktruck Date: September 24th, 2004 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
You forgot reaction 3, "Nuke the fuckers!"
agentinfinity From: agentinfinity Date: September 24th, 2004 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that things on television automatically become spectacle... entertainment of a sort, no matter how shocking. So no.

I thought the coverage of the war was too close up as well. Reporters standing in front of rows of soldiers firing automatic weapons into the distance. Some people thought it was very exiciting because it was so close up. Killing people should never be exciting, a spectacle, or anything else. It comes down to the same mentality as the masses watching someone guilotined, or alternatively people watching someone on death row executed. It's not necessary and it cheapens human life.
kneeshooter From: kneeshooter Date: September 24th, 2004 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
The actual footage from the war, of the reporters, reminded me of the old WW1 newsreels where the Army staged reconstructions for the sake of the reporters.

I accept totally what you're saying - about the spectacle - but I think there is a romantic/idealist bone in my body that says that the media can be reclaimed and used to make people think, to inspire them to question themselves and what they do - rather than just sell more cornflakes.

As such, I come down on the side of diffrentcolours above, but it's a close thing.
agentinfinity From: agentinfinity Date: September 24th, 2004 06:56 am (UTC) (Link)
It depends on the context. Usually, especially in cases such as 24 hour rolling news, there is no context. It's all just bright colours and flashing lights. Oh look ahurricanesweptthroughJamaicaandtherewasabombinginRussiaweaponsofmasssdestructionandMrsBigglethwaitefromLeicestergothertransplantmodernisationMarksandSpencer'ssharepricesaregoingdownandlooktheregoessomeone'shead.

For an extremely bleak but interesting view of the evils of television I can recommend Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death.
From: ikkleblacktruck Date: September 24th, 2004 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the very suggestion that it should be shown might more likely derive from de-sensitization. Panem et circenses, anyone?

I think we pander to these people far too much by even reporting it in the first place.
From: kmfdmchik Date: September 24th, 2004 09:32 am (UTC) (Link)

my $0.02

i think if the government actually listened to its constituents, it might be helpful. but since they don't, i think it would only enrage the families of the victims and possibly further racist attitudes toward iraqis.
purplewizard From: purplewizard Date: September 24th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Would you like it if a member of your family was beheaded and then it shown on prime-time TV?

IMO they should ban ISPs who knowingly allow such filth on their web servers. I hope they get hacked and virused out of business....
From: deeply_spurious Date: September 25th, 2004 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
sorry, am joining this very late.

From a moral point of view, I think it should not be shown by TV stations - because this is exactly what the terrorists want... And because the only thing which would be achieved is to amplify the terrorism and the reaction to it...

14 lies or Lie to me