May 12, 2005

jean jacket and tie feel like such a lie

Jackson Pollock, untitled, 1949

* Molly Bingham's speech at Western Kentucky University last month is a must read. excerpt:

"We spent 10 months in Iraq, working on a story, understanding who the people are who are fighting, why they fight, what their fundamental beliefs are, when they started, what kinds of backgrounds they come from, what education, jobs they have. Were they former military, are they Iraqi or foreign? Are they part of al-Qaida? What we came up with is a story in itself, and one that Vanity Fair ran in July 2004 with my text and pictures. [My colleague Steve Connors] shot a documentary film that is still waiting to find a home. But the basic point for this discussion is that we both thought it was really journalistically important to understand who it was who was resisting the presence of the foreign troops. If you didn't understand that, how could you report what was clearly becoming an 'ongoing conflict?' And if you were reading the news in America, or Europe, how could you understand the full context of what was unfolding if what motivates the 'other side' of the conflict is not understood, or even discussed?"
"How many other American journalists, perhaps not as secure in their position as I, have thought to do a story and decided that it's too close to the bone, too questioning of the American government or its actions? How many times was the risk that our own government might come in and rifle through our apartment, our homes or take us away for questioning in front of our children a factor in our decision not to do a story? How many times did we as journalists decide not to do a story because we thought it might get us into trouble? Or, as likely, how often did the editor above us kill the story for the same reasons? Lots of column inches have been spent in the discussion of how our rights as Americans are being surreptitiously confiscated, but what about our complicity, as journalists, in that? It seems to me that the assault on free speech, while the fear and intimidation is in the air, comes as much from us -- as individuals and networks of journalists who censor ourselves -- as it does from any other source.

"We need to wake up as individuals and as a community of journalists and start asking the hard and scary questions. Questions we may not really want to know the answers to about ourselves, about our government, about what is being done in our name, and hold the responsible individuals accountable through due process in our legal or electoral system.

"We need to begin to be able to look again at our government, our leadership and ourselves critically. That is what the Fourth Estate is all about. That's what American journalism can do at its zenith. I also happen to believe that, in fact, that is the highest form of patriotism -- expecting our country to live up to the promises it makes and the values it purports to hold. The role of the media in assisting the public to ensure those values are reflected in reality is undeniably failing today."

bravo, ms. bingham, bravo.

* no fish story:

"An Irish fishermen accidentally caught a £275,000 drugs haul when he hooked a bale of cannabis hidden in a river.

"The fly-fisher spent much of the afternoon trying to drag his line from the River Liffey in County Wicklow. But when he finally landed his catch he discovered it was a bale of cannabis resin, reports He contacted local police who conducted a search of the area.

"'Follow-up searches uncovered 12 more boxes containing 20 bars each of what again appeared to be cannabis,' a police spokesman said.

"The find has been sent to the Garda Technical Bureau for analysis.

"A team of experts is investigating the discovery and continuing to search the popular fishing spot for more drugs."

* "I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged." -- Bob Dylan, quoted in: John Bauldie, ed., Wanted Man: In Search of Bob Dylan (1990)

* metropolitan has released a video for 'homeroom.' the video is based on / an homage to john carpenter's 1988 film, 'they live,' in which roddy piper uses sunglasses to see aliens and other hidden government messages. download it here.


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