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Friday, December 19, 2003

Now that everyone has a video camera, have you noticed that nobody claims to have seen UFO's anymore?
Video cameras, digital photography, and especially cell phone cameras are dramatically reshaping our understanding of the world we live in--in some cases, they cut through the fog of disinformation and image control; we no longer view the world from the stable hierarchal platform presented to us by the grey-haired, decrepit mass media.

Photographer Antonio Zerbisias has a wonderful editorial in the Toronto Star today in which he discusses the annual "photo of the year"

"...This week, we have a new contender to add to the short list: a grizzled Saddam looking like one of those evil drunken rapists of "squaws" that Clint Eastwood shoots in Sergio Leone westerns. Is there anybody who hasn't seen that brief video of Saddam getting his tonsils tickled replayed over and over? Even as I write this, I can see it again. And again. (Which makes me wonder: How come we haven't seen any more images of his capture because it's clear that plenty was shot?)

Memorable as all these photos may be, they all prove one thing: The camera does indeed lie. That's because all these images only tell one side of the story, the one that the White House wants you to see. And all are, in some sense, just as manufactured as the next.

Me, I'd prefer to see those images that nobody wanted to pose for: the U.S. and British troop casualties, in their coffins and their hospital beds; the Iraqi civilians whose homes, lives and limbs were demolished; the Americans who will suffer economic hardship to pay for it all".

You will see those images, Mr. Zerbisias. We're living in an age where the truth cannot remain hidden. These manufactured images won't prevail. The forces of deconstructionism will topple the most carefully cultivated facade. Those who would control and manipulate images are losing their struggle to technology and persistance. Imagine a world where journalists can send live footage via cellphones from anywhere in the world; now imagine this technology advancing to the point where the common person is able to do the same.

How easily will we bend to the will of authority then, when everyone with a cellphone and a laptop will have a say in the creation of the collective consciousness?

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