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Archive for December, 2004

Joke

December 31st, 2004 No comments

How come Tonto, Robin and the Sundance Kid could all tell the future?

They were sidekicks.

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Poem For a Friend

December 31st, 2004 No comments

There is no dark,

There is no light.

No loss no, gain,

It’s all the same.

One taste of joy,

Forevermore.

In yours and mine,

Her eyes will shine.

Happy New Year, David

x

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Video Uplift is what the Punters Want.

December 30th, 2004 No comments

Having just posted on the vicariously uplifting nature of TV crisis coverage, I went to analyse my web stats. It seems a lot of people who have come to freedomforall.net recently have been seeking exactly the kind of video uplift I was discussing. Always one to give the crowd what they seek:

Cheese & Crackers has links including the following to video footage: Tsunami Video Download Here

PunditGuy has also maintained sterling service for TV addicts.

Keywords: Video, Tsunami, Earthquake, Crisis, Indian Ocean, Footage, Uplift

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Vicariously Uplifted by TV’s Grubby Visuals

December 30th, 2004 No comments

Compassion fatigue, mass hysteria and all manner of psychological explanations are offered for aspects of our group behaviour towards crisis and disaster. Watching the news of the Tsunami and Earthquake unfold from the Indian Ocean this week and hearing the reflections of others there is a sense in which people are uplifted by the filmic nature of the scene.

Perhaps it is the case that watching such grand events on television we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster which leaves our brains soaked with endorphins. Hearing the cries of a woman whose boyfriend was swept from beside her on the beach. Watching the survival struggle of a grandmother and her one remaining grandchild then hearing that the other seven members of their family are known to be dead. Seeing mile after mile of wrecked coastline piled with bodies. One can not help but experience strong emotional feelings and reactions when confronted by these things.

Vicariously uplifted by TV’s grubby visuals people have been noticeably lacking the usual seasonal affects of depression. In their shock, horror, amazement and grief at what they see, the endorphins rolling around the nervous system are replacing the real highs of a life lived in person. At what point does watching the news switch from being a genuine interest in our world to living through the medium of other people’s lives.

This question, though highlighted by recent events and reactions, is a serious one for western societies. When people spend more time watching TV than talking with other real people they have truly given up genuine living and switched their allegiance to the world of second-hand highs. Most people in our society probably meet this criteria. TV is without doubt the modern opiate of the masses. Over the last week many people seem to have been mainlining pure heroin.

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A Different Class of Corpse

December 29th, 2004 No comments

Aid requests from the different countries affected by the recent Tsunami have poured in. In most the need is for clean water, food, medicine, and shelter for the survivors. Bodies are being put unidentified into mass graves. There is not much call for aid for the dead.

Thailand has always been different. The Thai authorities have requested forensic experts to help identify the dead, body bags and temporary chillers/morgues for storage. The death toll in Thailand is somewhat lower, and probably more acurate than most, at 1,500 dead and the same number missing. Of these some eighty per cent are western tourists.

It strikes me that in the undifferentiated nature of this event, to be dealing with such different classes of corpse says an unfortunate lot about our world. Some of the dead have lived in a part of the world where they will use more resources in a year than their holiday hosts will in a lifetime. These corpses will be frozen and shipped home to have expensive funerals. Their deaths will consume huge amounts of resources too. The less worthy will be dropped from the back of trucks into big collective holes dug and covered by industrial machines or by even hand.

From before the waves hit, for the Thai authorities, coping with this disaster has been a case of managing the western sensibility. Mistakenly, the Thai authorities decided one hour before the wave hit not to publicise the oncoming deluge. Largely this decision was taken for fear of what the news would do to tourism. These facts will clearly make things far worse for the tourist industry than had they got the warning out and saved several hundred or thousands of the victims.

For the poor survivors coping with these events will be a long and difficult road but the human spirit is brave and the road can be followed. It does not matter if the skin of the body is pink or a shade of brown the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children of the dead feel the same pain. Those among us who have suffered losses now share something with specific members of the third world poor nobody could have imagined.

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