I can’t concentrate.

13 August 2006 at 22:14 (General)

from the wiki:

In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan with intentions of documenting the local rebel movement. However, upon arriving and witnessing the horror of the famine, Carter began to take photographs of starving victims. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding centre, wherein a seemingly well-fed vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn’t. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the girl:

“The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”

The photograph was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 1993. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editor’s note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown.

Carter was doing his job, taking photos and making people aware. This role, will hopefully save more lives than carrying a girl to her next meal. Also, he’d been advised not to touch any of the famine victims due to FEAR of spreading disease. It was easy for someone to give this advise to media personal being sent to the region, but I imagine it makes the task of being a photographer in these sorts of situations an impossible burden.

It’s wrong that this sort of thing happened, that someone would have to make such a choice. But it’s also wrong that people would write to the NYT asking if the girl was okay. Of course she wasn’t all right, but that’s not even the point of the photo, it’s not a personal story. I’m certain that at that point in time there were other people suffering the same fate as the little girl in the photo. The correct response from the paper when asked if the girl survived would have been, “No, there are plenty of people in Sudan who are still dying at this very moment.”

But instead they lied. From what I’ve read I get the impression that the NYTs didn’t even check the facts but decided to present a censored version of reality… they were just wanting to return a statement that would keep their readers happy even at the price of misinformation.

Carter didn’t last too long after shooting the photo of the starving Sudanese girl. His suicide was accompanied by a note containing the line “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.” Perhaps it was the pathetic nature of the human condition which powered Carter’s depression. Perhaps it was the falseness, the superficial characteristics of the media which fuelled his sense of hopelessness. I don’t know, and I think it’s wrong to attempt to simplify the cause of depression like this, into a subject. Depression does not arise purely because someone is unable to solve a problem, it probably has a lot more to do with their state of mind.

Lately I keep thinking about motivators and how our mood effects our thoughts. As much as I’d like to believe the opposite, it is clear that we’re not creatures of reason, we cannot live our lives as emotionless beings ruled by logic. I keep wanting to believe that I’m above it, that I’m not an animal only concerned with biological drives. That my mood does not dominate my thoughts or influence my actions.

I hate that about neuropathology or pharmacology. They begin reducing all of life to a series of chemical processes.

But at times it seems there’s overwhelming evidence supporting this. Afterwards I look back on my responses and see that I’ve done the wrong thing or that my reasoning has been significantly inhibited. It seems that some drives and tendencies are more or less out of our control; for example, hormones, depression and mania. They effect mood. Mood effects thoughts and motivates poorly planned (poorly reasoned) action. It seems it would be very difficult to escape emotional influence, and even if was possible I don’t think I would want to. A life without pain is a life without warning and without the endorphins that follows…

However Carter’s words, “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.” documents a mental state where he is motivated emotionally towards suicide and logically it is also the correct choice. Remaining alive is only going to result in more pain and he will only cause more pain for others.


Anyway. It continues, the reporters working to inform the people (at least some of the time), the media looking for the best story.. and the conspirator‘s theories about the government using continuous fear to control the people.

Newstainment The deeper you dig on this the more depressing it becomes (linking through google news prevents you from having to subscribe to the LA times). If this is true, these people should be ashamed. Watching a news service with an agenda is bad enough but when Reuters is gimping their photos… WTF?

And here we are being consumed or distracted from the real humanitarian crisis. Our world is not terrorised by shoddy photojournalism. And the number of deaths caused by ‘terrorism’ is incomparable to the destruction caused by state sanctioned terror and murder.

In the grand scheme of things people bringing sports drinks and ipods onto planes are not a threat to safety, especially when diabetics are still allowed to bring syringes loaded with potentially deadly insulin – medication they need to travel with. Stopping people from taking liquids onto planes will do very little to discourage anyone who wants to bring explosives onto planes. I think it’s impractical to try and protect against terrorism because it’s too easy to find holes in the system if you want to. It’s like that old saying about the hackers always being one step ahead of the software developers. And it’s obtuse to think that waging a war against those who hate you is going to lead to peace. Kalle Lasn (mov) suspects that the billion wealthiest people in the world using up 86% of the global resources while leaving 14% for the remaining 5 billion may have something to do with it. Spending further resources on the war machine will not lead to stability.

If they were doing it for the people, they are attacking the wrong part of the world. As the quote by Jon Stewart at the top of this page says: “We have it.  The smoking gun.  The evidence.  The potential weapon of mass destruction we have been looking for as our pretext of invading Iraq.  There’s just one problem – it’s in North Korea.”

That page goes on to document comments by a BBC co-producer who says, that film smuggled out of North Korea and interviews with refugees reveal “acts of unspeakable barbarism not seen since Pol Pot’s Cambodia.” In a land where people are starving farmers are reporting that they are prevented from growing food and ordered to produce opium which is processed into heroin and sold abroad. This funds a defence program which brags about it’s WMDs and has fired several missiles into Japanese waters.


I don’t think the US/alied involvement in the middle east is motivated by a desire to help people, well that may be a very small factor. It probably has something to do with fuel. but I think it probably has more to do with egos and not wanting to continue chasing something they can’t capture (Osama). It has something to do with Bush’s need for fighting a war.
once again,

“One of the most important tools for maintaining their power is fear, which requires replacing the Cold War with a never-ending “war on terror” that means never-ending profits for a military-industrial complex that fattens on war and would collapse without it.”

But all of this doesn’t stack up very well, the whole exercise is rather stupid.

.. yet as time goes on more and more americans are becoming convinced that it was somewhat justified. Well, more accurately(?) 50% of americans believed that Iraq had WMDs, 36% more than this time last year. What convinced them? Where is the misinformation from? Don’t get it wrong, the war is stupid and it is even stupider if oil was a major playing card. late last year Larry Burns, GM’s’ VP of R&D and strategic planning said “to get hydrogen refuelling stations to within two miles of every US citizen and maybe every 25 miles on the freeway would take $12 billion”. I don’t know how accurate his estimate is, but as Adam Spencer suggested the other day, the price of war is a massive excess, compared to the nominal cost of implementing such a system.

Looking back, this all seems unrelated. There was plenty more but it already looks like an unmanageable mess. But for me, at the moment, it is related. It’s all to do with a fake media, with false pretences, with phoney or seriously misplaced motivations. And like i said, i can’t concentrate, and I think all of this has something to do with that.



  1. toto said,

  2. Kent said,

    “It’s not security, it’s security theater: measures designed to make us feel safer but not actually safer.”

    Hyperbole alert. Planes are safer minus knives, just as the streets are safer minus semi-automatic rifles.

  3. nimeton said,

    “Sure, it’ll catch the sloppy and the stupid — and that’s a good enough reason not to do away with it entirely — but it won’t catch a well-planned plot.”

    i actually quite liked the article and the above quote actually puts what the guy was trying to say into context. The author still makes a valid point, particularly when it comes to such things as banning drink bottles. I doubt he was suggesting in the slightest that planes plus knives = good thing.

  4. Kent said,

    Who said that “the excessive security measures seem prudent”, then?

  5. Kent said,

    Yes fair enough, I think my comment was exaggerated. Nimeton, your wish is granted, for whoever knows how long:


  6. toto said,

    more photos that lie:

  7. Kent said,


  8. monototo said,

    Apparently I was wrong about diabetics being allowed to bring their insulin on board with them.

    (I think that guy needs to find a lawyer)

    via boingboing

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