13 July 2008

Suspend Belief


There is an Op-Ed by Errol Morris in The New York Times today addressing the recent "controversy" over these pictures of Iranian missiles. See reports on the journalistic dust-up here. Are there really three or are there really four? And what difference does it make? Here is the punchline:
"I have asked myself how this controversy over a photograph became international news. Clearly, there are many reasons. But at the center of them all is this question: Are we on the brink of another war? I remind myself that the war in Iraq started with bellicose posturing and photographs. At the United Nations, Colin Powell displayed several photographs of Iraqi sites showing incontrovertible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Of course, we now know that this incontrovertible visual evidence was false. We don’t need advanced digital tools to mislead, to misdirect or to confuse. All we need is a willingness to uncritically believe."
The point is to not be credulous, to ask - as several remarks in my sidebar remind us to do - who is using this photograph and for what purpose? The answers may not always be immediately apparent. But it usually is possible to discern the liars and bullshitters if we can suspend belief for just a short while.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous rogerfleenor said...

I found myself almost arrested a couple of years ago while out taking photographs of Dogwoods which we are renowned for in Upper East Tennessee. I was in my own neighborhood in the street. A week before a Art Student was almost arrested for taking photos in our Downtown area.
I think local Five Oh sees situations like these as a way to attract attention from Homeland Security and maybe land a lucrative job there.

You can see how dangerous some of my images are here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rogerfleenor/page9/

14 July, 2008 08:32  
Anonymous Dawei_in_Beijing said...

Morris sure did pose a lot of questions but was he really getting at anything aside from suggesting that we be cynical all the damn time?

With this photo, I think Iran is taking a page out of the North Koreans play book. By showing the world that they possess long range missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, they're hoping to increase their leverage at the bargaining table. Ultimately, I think they want a their security guaranteed by the U.S., as well as the sanctions lifted. I don't think they will get anything. This conflict is headed somewhere ugly.

14 July, 2008 16:02  

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