CAT 1: Media Seductions Questioning Authenticity. Elizabeth Losh http:// losh.ucsd.edu. Media Seductions and Election Day. How do narratives , like the one in Uncle Tom’s Cabin , make appeals differently from images ?
How do narratives, like the one in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, make appeals differently from images?
How are documentaries and made-for-TV movies different from conventional political ads?
How does race and representation still play a role in our national political discourse?
On Photography (1977) and Regarding the Pain of Others (2003)
Some items in the list of our course description:
“paintings, novels, plays, newspapers, photographs, films, comic books, television shows, videogames, and social network sites”
Which ones does Sontag
Which ones does she add?
(Page 83 for what this is)
School of Athens, Greece 450 BCE – 325 BCE
The Age of Sensibility in England 1750-1820
Pre-Civil War United States 1845-1860
U.S. Occupation of the Philippines 1899-1913
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
Weimar and Nazi Germany 1919-1933 and 1933-1945
World War II - U.S. War with Japan 1941-1945
The McCarthy Era in the United States 1947-1957
Urban England: A Clockwork Orange 1962 and 1971
The Post-9/11 World of Digital Media
“the first war to be witnessed (‘covered’) in the modern sense: by a corps of professional photographers at the lines of military engagement and in the towns under bombardment, whose work was immediately seen in newspapers and magazines” (21)
“guaranteed the attention of many cameras because they were invested in the meaning of larger struggles” (36)
“seen in a photo album or printed on rough newsprint” (120)
Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso,
The Three Guineas Guernica
Robert Capa’s “The Falling Soldier”
(32-35, 47, 60-61, 120)
“Pity can entail a moral judgment if, as Aristotle maintains, pity is considered to be the emotion that we owe only to those enduring undeserved misfortune.” (Sontag 75)
“They weep, in part, because they have seen it many times. People want to weep. Pathos, in the form of a narrative, does not wear out.” (Sontag 83)
“He struggled for some time and covered his eyes, at at last the desire was too much for him. Opening his eyes wide, he ran up to the bodies and cried. ‘There you are, curse you, feast yourselves on this lovely sight.’”
Weegee, “Their First Murder”
Authenticity, for Sontag, becomes just one of the many superficial objections that she dismisses in defending the truth claims of photojournalism. Regarding the Pain of Others is largely a book that presents a series of counterarguments to the broad generalizations of other public intellectuals in contemporary debates about media influence who assert that dramatic images 1) tend not to be authentic, 2) aestheticize suffering, 3) glorify graphic violence, 4) invade the privacy of victims, 5) desensitize the public, or 6) render reality as a spectacle. While Sontag presents nuanced arguments against these detractors, she does so by reading remarkably few precise visual details in the complex images that she cites as evidence.
Pulitzer Prize winning photograph by Eddie Adams of “General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon”
More upsetting is the opportunity to look at people who know that they have been condemned to die: the cache of six thousand photographs taken between 1975 and 1979 at a secret prison in a former high school in TuolSleng, a suburb of Phnom Penh, the killing house of more than fourteen thousand Cambodians charged with being either “intellectuals” or “counter-revolutionaries.”