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  #41  
Old 01.12.2012, 19:25
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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A little bump for those who don't understand where I'm coming from
Completely agree.. the very first few words of the title put me off reading the thread, because it suggested sensational hype.
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  #42  
Old 01.12.2012, 20:37
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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Clearly my post is about ethos.
and I was accusing you of thinking ethos but practicing pathos. Like most people.
Not that anybody understood...
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  #43  
Old 01.12.2012, 20:41
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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and I was accusing you of thinking ethos but practicing pathos. Like most people.
Not that anybody understood...
Coz you're smarter than the average bear, booboo?
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  #44  
Old 01.12.2012, 21:53
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

Further to my previous posts on this subject, there are a couple of things that frustrate me about "dinner party talk" (or "forum talk") on the subject of Afghanistan or whatever.

The first, as explained at length in the initial post, is the idea that being angry, in itself, is a good enough response to the problem (and the implied consequence that those who do not express anger at what they read or see are somehow lacking in feeling and/or a soul). It isn't. Anger in this circumstance is little more than self-indulgence. Unless you are prepared to actually act on that anger - and bringing it up at the next dinner party or on an internet forum doesn't count - then it's nothing more than a rather sick form of personal entertainment, like watching a horror film or enjoying a ride on the waltzers.

The second, which is more specific to the Afghanistan thread, is the disproportionate attention given to problems which arise in other cultures, while ignoring those prevalent in our own. Murder, for example, is murder. It is no better to be hacked to death by a drunk in the streets of Manchester than to be hacked to death by an angry cousin in Kabul. In both cases, the murder is likely to be a consequence of the dark side of the local culture: notions of honour in Kabul; notions of liberty regarding intoxicating substances in Manchester. In the case of a murder in Manchester, however, we are in a position to actually act upon our anger. We can write to our MPs, or we can get involved in street safety programmes, or support alcohol rehabilitation programmes, or campaign for capital punishment, or whatever. When you act upon your anger in a positive and creative manner, you are no longer indulging in disaster p*rn. On the other hand, with very, very rare exceptions, our response to a murder in Afghanistan is nothing more than finger wagging and tutting. Really - what are you going to do about it? If you're prepared to act - and really act - to help Afghan women, then all credit to you. If you're not, then making a big fuss about "honour killings" or "FGM" or any other dark aspect of a foreign culture, while ignoring everything that's rotten about our own culture (about which you could conceivably and realistically do something) suggests that your motives might be a bit suspect. It's very easy to be angry about people you'll never lift a finger to help. Not so easy to pay attention to those problems you could actually do something to address, from the cyber-bullying of the girl in the flat downstairs, to the domestic abuse perpetrated by the bloke in the house down the road, to the psychological disturbance of the lads in the asylum centre in the next town.


Of course, by contributing to internet forums myself, I'm part of the problem, too. Crap, really, innit?
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  #45  
Old 01.12.2012, 21:58
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

Sorry, it's getting a bit late, but...

Are you saying that we only have a right to complain about our own culture unless we are actively doing something to help/change a culture that is different from our own?
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  #46  
Old 01.12.2012, 22:00
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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Sorry, it's getting a bit late, but...

Are you saying that we only have a right to complain about our own culture unless we are actively doing something to help/change a culture that is different from our own?
Nope. I'm saying the opposite (sort of).
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  #47  
Old 01.12.2012, 22:39
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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Murder, for example, is murder.
Like the first point, but this ain't true in the slightest - any more than death is death. First of all, no one cares about murder. Murder is an individual, isolated act and if you've heard about it, it means you're still alive which means you've won the day. What people care about is, first, the threat of murder to themselves or their nearest and dearest. Second, they care about how close the values of society fall into line with their own. If it's really close and the murders that happen are because people they can understand suffer psychotic breaks or fall into heroin or whatever, they can relate to that and there's a sense of comfort there. If a guy punishes his daughter for sending a text message to a boy by removing her genitals, this is so totally unrelated to their frame of reference, it becomes much much worse. And that's totally correct because there is no objectivity in the world and no aim of objectivity - we're subjective beings and you saying "murder is murder" is no more than a less popular subjective opinion than the more popular subjective opinion of "some murders are more abhorrent than others".
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  #48  
Old 01.12.2012, 23:32
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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and I was accusing you of thinking ethos but practicing pathos. Like most people.
Not that anybody understood...
Um. Right. Yes. Anyway back in topic...

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Anger in this circumstance is little more than self-indulgence. Unless you are prepared to actually act on that anger - and bringing it up at the next dinner party or on an internet forum doesn't count - then it's nothing more than a rather sick form of personal entertainment, like watching a horror film or enjoying a ride on the waltzers.
In short, it isn't at all. Everyone will react differently to different stimuli. Some brush it off. Others react strongly and need to go see a shrink about it. The need to express oneself is ingrained in most of us, but that expression will vary greatly. As the saying goes: it's good to talk - or was that not around before BT?

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The second, which is more specific to the Afghanistan thread, is the disproportionate attention given to problems which arise in other cultures, while ignoring those prevalent in our own...
Fair enough... but, you've no idea if people who post about this would post about the murder in Manchester too.

Added to which, murder is not murder when it is done by someone who is responsible for the care of someone else. Thus when two thugs beat the shit out of each other in Manchester or Kabul, no one really cares. When a father kills his daughter, we care, whether in Manchester or Kabul. When a priest abuses kids, we care, whether in Ireland or the Uk. When parents send their daughters "home" for a spot of FGM, we care. Well, I do... What am going to do about it? Not much, but then, like you I'm just am EFer...

PS: I did not mean to imply that those who show no anger have no soul. This is something you extrapolated on your own. I said people who have no humanitarian response, whether sympathy or empathy for the victim, indignation, guilt or anger or whatever, should look at what their values are in life. But that too is just an opinion of an EFer.
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  #49  
Old 01.12.2012, 23:36
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Re: Disaster porn; or The Joy of Rage

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Nope. I'm saying the opposite (sort of).
Ah, thanks. My brain is mushy tonight. I just re-read your post and think I understand you now...

Well, I guess some people feel safer casting their stones from a distance. But one thing I have come to learn in life is that things are rarely, if ever, black and white. And hence, I should not be too quick to form opinions. There is, I think, a fine line between being opinionated and being self-righteous. And I do think far too many people mistake their (usually culturally-biased) opinions for objective truth and therefore remain closed-minded to any alternative paradigm.

But I think many people do feel a sense of helplessness when it comes to world problems as well as problems closer to home... and/or perhaps we really are just too comfortable casting our stones from in front of a TV screen while eating our Pringles. Perhaps pure objectivity is impossible -- and perhaps morality is relative -- but I do think this world would be a much better place if people put their ability to be kind to one another higher on their list of priorities than they place merely voicing their opinions.
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