Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Stateside With Rosalea: Reality VG?

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Reality VG?

It is 1998. I'm standing at the window of the staff cafeteria in an office building that overlooks the Wellington railway yards, where the Cake Tin is taking shape. The engineer I'm talking to is telling me with a faraway look in his eye that the technology he's helping develop will enable him to send live video of his kids from his cellphone to his Dad, who lives half a world away.

That's the first thing I thought of when I saw the cellphone pictures that garnered a large part of the early attention regarding last week's London tragedy. Then something else came to mind--the NHK documentary Media Jihad, which I saw at a conference about public television back in May.

Looking through the notes I took at that screening, I read: "images sent from a mobile phone in a suicide bomber's car include his last screams." In late August of 2004, the documentarians met the 18-year-old who claims he is a Taliban fighter and has been producing jihad videos for three years, using a single PC, as an antidote to what he sees as US media suppression of the true casualty rate in Afghanistan.

My mind jumps from that to the pizza parlour up the street where the clientele play video arcade games while they wait for their food. The games are all the shoot-em-up variety, set, for example, at an airport that is being attacked by terrorists. You lose points for shooting innocent bystanders. Those jihad videos, and the videos various US battalions put on their websites, I think, must just seem like Reality Video Games.

The pizza parlour is in a suburb that has a lot of unemployed young people, a fact not lost on the US Army, which has its recruiting materials on the counter promoting a program called PaYS--Partnership for Youth Success. The tagline on the PaYS logo is: Reconnecting America with its Army. It's basically just a work scheme like those NZ had in the 80s, except that instead of being put to work hoeing weeds, the unemployed get sent to dig up roadside bombs.

Meanwhile, back here in dippy San Francisco, I receive a breathy email from CurrentTV offering me $250 for any "citizen video" I might send them about my reaction to the London event if they accept it as part of a program they're going to air in August. There's not a word of commiseration in the email for the victims in London:

"Folks, Early this morning, a series of bomb attacks wrought havoc and death in London. You probably saw the coverage on TV, or on a news site. It's grimly familiar. This time, there's been another thread of reporting, too: normal people with cameras and computers. This is a new kind of news. And now's the time to be part of it."

The first piece of video they put up their website is from the anarchist blogger who leads CurrrentTV's SF meet-up group. He is bleating about how he wandered around on July 4 and heard the fireworks exploding and thought: So this is what it must feel like to live in Iraq or Palestine; what about all the innocent civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US?

Later, the same craven fool goes out and films an anti-G8 demonstration in SF's Mission District--a rather more fertile ground for PaYS than for rich-kid hobby anarchists, I should think. This new footage also airs on a local TV station, KRON4, which has started its own blog/citizen journalism initiative in order to make inroads into CurrentTV's 18 to 34-year-old demographic even before the new station begins broadcasting next month.

It is 1998. I'm standing at the window of the staff cafeteria in an office building that overlooks the Wellington railway yards, where the Cake Tin is taking shape. The engineer I'm talking to is telling me with a faraway look in his eye that the technology he's helping develop will enable him to send live video of his kids from his cellphone to his Dad, who lives half a world away.

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news