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Author Topic: Claudio Edinger  (Read 10600 times)
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2009, 09:16:14 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
I'm pretty sure the photographer and the Times was aware of this, so they probably did the deed where rights to privacy are not so restrictive. Slice it as you wish, it still amounts exploiting disabled people.

I don't think you have your facts straight.  These images were taken between 1989 and 1990 and the project had nothing to do with the NYT.  They were later published in a book in 1997, again with no involvement from the newspaper.  

The photographer chose Brazil because that is where he is from, not because of some cynical view on privacy law and this was most definitely not something 'cooked up' at the New York Times.


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Justan
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2009, 09:25:54 AM »
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Justan ...

Let me make sure I understand your point.

The photographer watched his grandmother descend into dementia and was moved to document the plight of less fortunate mentally ill citizens in his country.  He found conditions that horrified him.  He pursued the issue doggedly, eventually getting permission to move into the asylum and live with the patients.

He documents their condition, spends YEARS trying to get the images published ... and when they are, sheds light on conditions in this and other hospitals in Brazil which leads to changes, reform and the closure of some institutions.

You would have rather he stayed home and made 'art'?

I don't get it.

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Payne

That’s a valid point and I take no disrespect.

I am 100% guilty of judging the photographer’s and the NY Times actions by the legal standards of my country.

In answer to the question….i don’t know what the right thing to do would be. Were it me, I would have pursued the issue with their government. If that didn't work, i would have brought it to the attention of the US government. I wouldn’t have gone the route the photographer did.

BTW it is nice to see the readership willing to discuss the topic rationally.
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Justan
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2009, 09:27:41 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I don't think you have your facts straight.  These images were taken between 1989 and 1990 and the project had nothing to do with the NYT.  They were later published in a book in 1997, again with no involvement from the newspaper.  

The photographer chose Brazil because that is where he is from, not because of some cynical view on privacy law and this was most definitely not something 'cooked up' at the New York Times.

Thanks, i didn't know that. While it doesn't change my view that these are exploitation, it does change my view on the photographer’s intent.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 09:28:13 AM by Justan » Logged

cmi
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2009, 10:13:18 AM »
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I want to give my thoughts to the topic. On a general level: Yes, I think its appropriate to show such images.

Every image shows something wich is there, regardless if its a painting or a documentary and regardless of original intention. The more inconvinient a topic the more the desire to push it out of sight, to dismiss or control it in some way.
The purpose and perception of an image is a whole different topic. Everything can be used or abused in many ways and at different levels. As a possible starting point for introspection I regard these images very high and spot on. As a possible justification for "active world improvement" //edit// wich only looks outside, points at other people //edit end// on the other hand would hate them.

And about the issue in itself: My personal believe is, mental patients suffer from things every person has to some extent - regardless of awareness. The lack of public care the isolation and the disrespect these people face shows only the public repression of the underlying problems. I view it not so much as a question of lacking actions from relatives or the goverment, or places with insufficient hygiene, but more as a sign that nearly everybody represses the underlying topics. That in turn leads to places like in this photo. Only when the perception of mental ill people changes, wich means that our perception also of ourselfes would change, the conditions for these people will change too. Until then, they might get cleaner but nevertheless possibly hostile places, as it is undoubtely often the case. A rotten enviroment might be bad, but I would consider inhumane threatment in a clinically sterile enviroment much much worse.

So I think, as good and important it is to show such images, they are somehow inappropriate for grasping the underlying issue because they fail to show what it is these persons are suffering from. If the public discussion remains only on the somehow "shocking" and "raising awareness" level, without nobody actually understanding WHY these people are as they are, then the discussion is no real one, could be even counterproductive, since we could successfully pretend to "care" while still neglecting the issues. The stories of these people - along with images - would be much more insightful and meaningful.

So I conclude, its good and important to see such images, regardless of dismission, "mishandling" or even abuse wich might result.

And what I personally like about the images, I dont see an accusation. It just shows these people.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 10:30:18 AM by Christian Miersch » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2009, 11:59:20 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I don't think you have your facts straight.  These images were taken between 1989 and 1990 and the project had nothing to do with the NYT.  They were later published in a book in 1997, again with no involvement from the newspaper.  

The photographer chose Brazil because that is where he is from, not because of some cynical view on privacy law and this was most definitely not something 'cooked up' at the New York Times.

Jeremy, I'm quite willing to concede the point if the images actually result in improvements. But in Gene Smith's case he was shooting in Papa Doc's Haiti, which means no amount of photographic exposure would make any difference. Papa Doc wasn't the kind of guy who was going to worry about what happened to people in asylums -- unless Smith's photographs caused the U.S. to invade Haiti in order to improve the asylums. Also, the photograph I referred to was a tight picture of the woman's face -- worked in the lab to make it very, very dark and haunting. It was intended to be art, and it was! But it was a terrible violation of that woman's right to privacy. I just spent half an hour trying to find a copy of the picture on the web -- with no success. I can find dozens of Smith's Minamata pictures but not the Haiti pictures.

Guess we're going to have to disagree on the NYT, though.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 12:04:52 PM by RSL » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2009, 12:03:57 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I crop, too.  

Well, you're going to have to appear before the cropping control commissar and the community anti-cropping board and confess your sins.

If you keep on cropping, it's a pretty sure thing you'll come a cropper.
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Justan
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2009, 09:31:58 AM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
I want to give my thoughts to the topic. On a general level: Yes, I think its appropriate to show such images.

Every image shows something wich is there, regardless if its a painting or a documentary and regardless of original intention. The more inconvinient a topic the more the desire to push it out of sight, to dismiss or control it in some way.
The purpose and perception of an image is a whole different topic. Everything can be used or abused in many ways and at different levels. As a possible starting point for introspection I regard these images very high and spot on. As a possible justification for "active world improvement" //edit// wich only looks outside, points at other people //edit end// on the other hand would hate them.

And about the issue in itself: My personal believe is, mental patients suffer from things every person has to some extent - regardless of awareness. The lack of public care the isolation and the disrespect these people face shows only the public repression of the underlying problems. I view it not so much as a question of lacking actions from relatives or the goverment, or places with insufficient hygiene, but more as a sign that nearly everybody represses the underlying topics. That in turn leads to places like in this photo. Only when the perception of mental ill people changes, wich means that our perception also of ourselfes would change, the conditions for these people will change too. Until then, they might get cleaner but nevertheless possibly hostile places, as it is undoubtely often the case. A rotten enviroment might be bad, but I would consider inhumane threatment in a clinically sterile enviroment much much worse.

So I think, as good and important it is to show such images, they are somehow inappropriate for grasping the underlying issue because they fail to show what it is these persons are suffering from. If the public discussion remains only on the somehow "shocking" and "raising awareness" level, without nobody actually understanding WHY these people are as they are, then the discussion is no real one, could be even counterproductive, since we could successfully pretend to "care" while still neglecting the issues. The stories of these people - along with images - would be much more insightful and meaningful.

So I conclude, its good and important to see such images, regardless of dismission, "mishandling" or even abuse wich might result.

And what I personally like about the images, I dont see an accusation. It just shows these people.

First I want to say this is a nicely presented, thoughtful, and well written commentary.

But I have a couple of questions, and I’ll say up front that I don’t know the answer. Here’s the question: If we accept that its okay to show more about what you characterize as repressed parts of life, where is the line? Do we put motor vehicle crash fatalities, or casualties of war, or people who have suffered brutal crime on the front page? How about people who have lost a leg or an eye? Do we show their wounds in full gore? How about abused children? How about rape victims? Do we photograph them being examined (or worse) and put that on the front page or make a book from a disaster they endured?

I submit that things such as these are not generally trotted before the public to avoid perpetuating repression (but that absolutely can be a valid argument); rather they are not shown because it is cruel to the victims and their families and their friends, to have their life’s worst moments put in print by those who seek to exploit victims for the purpose of profiteering.

Now lets go a step further and deal with the issue as an abstraction: At what point can we package something that is clearly exploitation, yet permit it, by claiming a humanitarian purpose? IMO, doing so typically, but not always, amounts to a contrived tool of convenience. Or is it a convenient tool of contrivance….
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2009, 10:34:30 AM »
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Justan,

Again ... respectfully ... I'd like to suggest you brush up on the concept of photojournalism.  In reading your posts, it is as if it doesn't exist within your world view.

Here's a start ... from the Wikipedia ...

Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, and in some cases to video used in broadcast journalism or for personal use. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of:

    * Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events.

    * Objectivity — the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict in both content and tone.

    * Narrative — the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photojournalism

Photojournalists often bring us images that without the journalistic context would certainly be viewed as discomforting at the very least.

This isn't about art.
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RSL
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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2009, 04:17:32 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Justan,

Again ... respectfully ... I'd like to suggest you brush up on the concept of photojournalism.  In reading your posts, it is as if it doesn't exist within your world view.

Here's a start ... from the Wikipedia ...

Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, and in some cases to video used in broadcast journalism or for personal use. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of:

    * Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events.

    * Objectivity — the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict in both content and tone.

    * Narrative — the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photojournalism

Photojournalists often bring us images that without the journalistic context would certainly be viewed as discomforting at the very least.

This isn't about art.

Jeremy, I'm willing to concede that photographs of mentally ill people in inexcusably degrading surroundings published in order to help bring about changes may be a legitimate function of photojournalism, but I'll have to agree with what Justan's saying.

There's a point at which photojournalistic exploitation ceases to be legitimate. In the last few decades we've seen an awful lot of that.

To me the classic example of legitimate photojournalistic exploitation is Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother." Dorothea certainly exposed the misery of the woman and her children, but, if you look at the totality of Lange's work you realize that this was an exception for her. In every other case I can think of, even though she was showing the miserable conditions in which her subjects lived, she also went out of her way to show their innate dignity in the face of their adversity. In this case, though, she turned in the picture. It was published all over the country, and it led to immediate government action to help the itinerants stranded and starving because the pea crop they had come to pick had frozen.

But far too often I see outfits like Associated Press circulate something like the grieving face of a woman who's just lost her child, or the terrified face of a child who's lost its mother. This kind of exploitation is utterly unnecessary and inexcusable. The pictures add nothing to one's understanding of the story, and expose the moral shortcomings of the photographer and the publisher. Arthur Fellig (Wegee) did a lot of this back in prohibition days. The Wegee picture I remember above all is a picture of a woman in shock, behind the wheel of her car, after she's just struck and killed a pedestrian. There was nothing in the story that required that picture, and the picture did nothing to add to a reader's understanding of the accident. It was needless exploitation, pure and simple.

There are limits to what's moral to publish. The moral limits don't correspond with legal limits, but they're there nonetheless. I'll buy the moral acceptability of Edinger's Sao Paulo photographs, though just barely, and very reluctantly, but I'll never be able to buy the moral acceptability of Gene Smith's Haiti asylum pictures. I concede that they're high art, but that doesn't excuse what he did.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2009, 07:04:58 PM »
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Russ,

I agree to an extent.  I think what's important is who gets to make that admittedly often tough call.

As long as that is exclusively the domain of the journalist and his editorial process, I'm cool.

The minute the public mob or the government begins dictating what is and is not newsworthy, we are 'effed.

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RSL
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2009, 08:44:38 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Russ,

I agree to an extent.  I think what's important is who gets to make that admittedly often tough call.

As long as that is exclusively the domain of the journalist and his editorial process, I'm cool.

The minute the public mob or the government begins dictating what is and is not newsworthy, we are 'effed.

Jeremy, Absolutely no argument there. I'm not suggesting any sort of violation of the first amendment, otherwise known as censorship. We've already seen the disaster that's caused in the curbing of political speech through McCain-Feingold. Egregiously offensive photojournalism isn't the only departure from decency and basic good taste I've watched develop over the past few decades, but the only legitimate curb for that sort of thing is for people to turn away and shun the perpetrators.

The problem will either get worse or go away. If it doesn't go away, we've had it -- but not in my lifetime I suspect. I think about the excesses of Elizabethan England which, eventually led to the counter-excesses of Victorianism and wonder if it might be possible for that to happen here.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 08:45:18 PM by RSL » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2009, 03:58:17 AM »
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Difficult subject; difficult opinions.

For what it´s worth, I seem to read into much of this a kind of holier than thou mindset at play. And I mean at play. Subtly, the images themselves seem to be drifting into the background and more emphasis would appear to be being applied to the correspendents´ own sense of their possibly superior morality, or could it just be a public stance that´s on display?

Frankly, unless you have had the experience of taking into your own home someone who is on the brink of a breakdown, dementia or other form of mental illness, seen that develop to the stage where it is of itself breaking up your home, then you really haven´t the slightest idea of what you speak other than in theoretical terms which, sadly, differ wildly from the reality.

One of the strongest natural forces within us is the one we like to think of as self-preservation. It isn´t there by accident.

Photojournalism is a weapon as much as it is a service; it can destroy and it can save. In the end, it is what it is and in a market where traditional outlets are ever diminishing and new ones being grown by virtue of dumbing down - the great marketing invention of our enlightened age; everyone gets a degree!  - perhaps one should be grateful that the unpalatable does get an airing.

But nonetheles, I sense something bogus in some of the 'respectful' sentiments being offered within this thread.

As the man said (or if he didn´t soon will), just my two devalued sterling cents worth.

Rob C
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cmi
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« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2009, 04:14:53 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
...

Justan,

saying its important to show vehicle crash fatalities, or war crime on front page as you say, because they remind us of our repressed sides would be completely silly. I talked strictly about these images here and I dont feel comfortable to extend my argument to some sort of general case. I also dont want to take part in the discussion about these issues you raise, through I see they may be very important to you.

Christian
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 06:20:04 AM by Christian Miersch » Logged
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2009, 05:54:30 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
But nonetheles, I sense something bogus in some of the 'respectful' sentiments being offered within this thread.
Excuse me?  It would seem that you would be referring to me.

You can assume all you want about theory and reality ... but in my case at least, you are wildly off the mark.

And I thought you seemed like you might be decent guy ...
 

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Rob C
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« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2009, 10:27:15 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
And I thought you seemed like you might be decent guy ...



Jeremy, I might or I might not be; as with most of us the truth might lie somewhere in between the two. Regardless, my opinion, which is all I can express, leads me to the conclusion that much piety often cloaks its opposite. And much piety is what I see in this thread. If the cap doesn´t fit, please don´t wear it but leave it hanging on the rack for its owner to claim. Hell, it might even be mine!

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 10:50:09 AM by Rob C » Logged

Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2009, 11:06:41 AM »
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If by 'piety' you mean a deep passion for the importance of the freedom of the press, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.

However, that passion is not born or based on faith, but on experience and deep study of modern history.

I'm allowed to form opinions as well ... and my opinion of you has changed.  Oh well.

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Rob C
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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2009, 02:40:08 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
If by 'piety' you mean a deep passion for the importance of the freedom of the press, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.

However, that passion is not born or based on faith, but on experience and deep study of modern history.

I'm allowed to form opinions as well ... and my opinion of you has changed.  Oh well.




Jeremy, at times of deep stress, follow my lead and have another peppermint; clears the tubes.

Freedom of the press - a wonderful concept. Just as long as it prints/says that which you want it to print, that is. Perish the thought it might stray into territory outwith one´s own taste, opinions or view of the world. But these are diversions, not a lot to do with the matter in hand, as nothing, really ever does remain. And that´s the main finding of my deep study of modern times. How much with Iraq, Afghanistan et al has to do with freedom for the distant 'others' and how much is simply a quest for markets and more control; we killed thousands of Germans and now we crave a Beemer or a Merc; we derided the Italians but stand in line for that ellusive Ferrari and night in Rome; we laugh at the ways of the French but envy them their chic which all the money in Manhattan just can't buy... Don´t put your faith in modern history, Jeremy, it covers too short a time span and is too close to vested manipulation. Stick with the old stuff: as false as the present but relatively harmless for its battles have long been fought. Except in the lands of the distant others, which brings us back to where we might have come in, realising which prompts us to head for the exit sign.

Really, have that mint. Your dentist recommends them - many of them.

Rob C
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2009, 01:37:54 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Jeremy, at times of deep stress, follow my lead and have another peppermint; clears the tubes.

Freedom of the press - a wonderful concept. Just as long as it prints/says that which you want it to print, that is. Perish the thought it might stray into territory outwith one´s own taste, opinions or view of the world. But these are diversions, not a lot to do with the matter in hand, as nothing, really ever does remain. And that´s the main finding of my deep study of modern times. How much with Iraq, Afghanistan et al has to do with freedom for the distant 'others' and how much is simply a quest for markets and more control; we killed thousands of Germans and now we crave a Beemer or a Merc; we derided the Italians but stand in line for that ellusive Ferrari and night in Rome; we laugh at the ways of the French but envy them their chic which all the money in Manhattan just can't buy... Don´t put your faith in modern history, Jeremy, it covers too short a time span and is too close to vested manipulation. Stick with the old stuff: as false as the present but relatively harmless for its battles have long been fought. Except in the lands of the distant others, which brings us back to where we might have come in, realising which prompts us to head for the exit sign.

Really, have that mint. Your dentist recommends them - many of them.

Rob C

Rob,

I'm afraid your view of recent history (by recent I mean back through WW II) sounds a lot like conspiracy theory. What's your view of "the grassy knoll?"
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Rob C
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2009, 04:23:08 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Rob,

I'm afraid your view of recent history (by recent I mean back through WW II) sounds a lot like conspiracy theory. What's your view of "the grassy knoll?"






Russ

My view of the "grassy knoll" is far more romantic than that of most: it brings back memories of myself at sixteen flying model aircraft (told you I dug the Sabre Jet, but guess it´s best not in balsa) in the local park and making my finest aeronautical manoeuvres in usually vain attempts to fly the damn thing so that it might land beside some of the stunning young women disporting themselves on said grassy knolls.

At least, I though they were stunning, but what would one know at sixteen - everything in a tight skirt and stockings looked ravishing. Solace came courtesy Hollywood and dreams of Susan Hayward,  Ava Gardner but not, strangely, Marilyn Monroe or her later clones. Speaking of later clones reminds me that by the time Miss Mansfield and Miss Van Doren appeared I had found the real thing anyway. Then of course, the fantasy became Brigitte. And so it goes.

But if you want me to venture into the current wars, then I despair of presenting you with any cogent response: it can´t be done. How do you rationalise/explain/ seek an honest answer to a situation that appears to make the 'saviours' the hated ones; that rather than create local wealth via 'reconstruction' of war damage, it makes the riches flow right back whence came the helicopters? Sure, some local potentates get rich too, but graft was ever so. The basic problem, and I'd be surprised if you don't already know this from your time in the eastern world, is that all peoples are not the same and neither are their expectations or desires. This obsession that the west shows toward the spreading of 'democracy', for example, is an ugly mistake that is rooted in huge assumptions the most arrogant of which is that it is the only way. Almost evengelical in its blindness, and as frightening.

Unpopular as it will inevitably be, the truth as I see it, the workable answer for the millions of poor and primitive, is not western ideology but strong leadership which may or may not mean dictatorship. That the latter has had its share of disasters is not outwith my view, but let's look more closely: take Spain, where I have spent the best twenty-eight years of my life - they had Franco, much reviled by the current popular crowd but, should you care to speak to the older generation (our own lot) they will tell you that yes, there were problems, but you could go shopping and leave the house unlocked.  (Would you dream of doing that back in the States? In the UK? In Spain today?) Think of the Civil War here: had Franco lost, Spain would have been a communist state. Does anyone pretend that would have served Spain better? Good God - just look at the aftermath of communism as it was within a western context - one miserable, failed country after another; we didn´t have a communist government in the UK but the next best thing ran the unions: where our industrial leadership today? As it is, Spain has some of the most sophisticated cities and people in the world. Russia, where they sent so many Spaniards at that time - where did they all end up I wonder - unknown, untraceable fodder for the red machine.

There are no perfect, universal answers because of the nature of man. There never will be and the sooner we realise that and accept that diffferent folks really do like different strokes, the better for all of us. Why can´t we mind our own business and let them just live their lives?

That the Afghan thing has something to do with fighting and, importantly, winning a drug war is a sick joke. If you really wanted to fight a drug war, you could win it in a very short time indeed and you could do it from the comfort of home. You adopt a no quarter given philosophy. You jail every user as you should every supplier; as with Prohibition, too many important pockets get topped up by the industry and so it isn´t going to happen. The trade is good business for too many: hell, isn't it the single biggest earner you have? Bigger even than  tourism? (Today´s tv news told us that 90% of all US currency notes bear traces of cocaine - go figure the size of the market!) Without the will there will be no way and it makes perfect sense, instead, to take the mock battle to the poor sod in the mountains of Afghanistan and blow his friggin' brains out. But not too many, you understand, business must go on ;-)

Rob C

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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2009, 08:16:05 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
My view of the "grassy knoll" is far more romantic than that of most: it brings back memories of myself at sixteen flying model aircraft (told you I dug the Sabre Jet, but guess it´s best not in balsa)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dealey_Plaza


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