Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The media have a lot to answer for.

I am attending a class on Tuesday evenings on the Poetry, Literature  and Art of the First World War.   In it we are looking at the Poets - Wilfred Owen, Sassoon and the like; the Painters  - Paul and John Nash, John Singer Sergeant etc.  And we are discussing the effect these people had upon the general population during and after the conflict.

In those days, what else did the public have to inform them?   Well they had propagaganda films, posters, leaflets etc. They had the word of mouth of those returning from the Front.  And they had the gradual realisation that what started as a 'jolly hockey sticks' kind of jaunt, where it was almost fun to join up, to the point where it became obvious that 'over there' it was hell on earth.

How very different then from now where it is thrown into our faces while we sit on the settee eating a box of chocolates, or doing the washing up, or the ironing.

In the newspapers the Headline will be accompanied by a photograph, usually a very graphic one.  It will move from one conflict to another, leaving behind one when another starts up.  (Is there still fighting in Aleppo?   If so it hasn't been in the newspapers for weeks - other conflicts and disasters have taken over).

Last night the Headline news on the television was of the awful situation in Gaza - where a building was destroyed and the dead were being brought out.   One person was still alive - a finger moved - but the rest of her family were dead.

Is it a coincidence that there do not seem to be war poets, war painters or anyone writing about these wars?   Or are there such people in the places where they are occurring?

And is this daily 'in your face' contact perhaps making us impervious to the awfulness of it all?   I don't know the answer - I just know that there seems to have become a point where the newsmen move from country to country, grasping the sensationalism and then moving on.

War these days is dreadful in a completely different way with all the sophisticated weaponry, but the result is the same - thousands killed in the name of some ideology or other.   We need to know about it -  but how and under what circumstances would we be best served?

12 comments:

thelma said...

There is no answer of course, watching Jon Snow last night on Channel 4 news and at least we have the breadth of the horror in Gaza, but where has Syria and Iraq gone in all this news, war and death are still part of their lives to.
The BBC has a lot to answer for in the way it presents new, the sensationalism is always present, and they move too quickly away from older stories.

Heather said...

Your question is too big for me to answer. I frequently find myself wondering why mankind has never found a better way to solve it's problems than making war. You would think after all this time we might have - after all we are supposed to be the most intelligent species.

Joanne Noragon said...

I believe it takes years for art to come out of war. From Here to Eternity was many years past World War 2. It takes a long time to make sense of the horror and stupidity. That said, I don't expect to ever find "art" from the current chaos.

the veg artist said...

Yes, there are still "war artists" who record modern day conflicts.
Dan Peterson is from Cardiff and spent a month in Afghanistan with The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. Peter Howson (a Scot) was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum of London to be the official war artist for the conflict in Bosnian/Hercegovina in 1993. Google search has thrown up examples of their work and lots of other names - Xavier Pick, Arabella Doorman and Nick Bashall (Americans).
The work of painters is often more reflective and interpretive, and many of their works can be disturbing. Their work is also slower than photography and perhaps not given the publicity it deserves because, as you say, public attention has moved on to another battle, another newsreel.

Julie Clay Illustration said...

I think that watching the news, (husband is obsessed) is bad for you, take a rest from it for a week, if you can and you might feel much better? The BBC is terrible with how it portrays things! How about advising the magnificent peacemakers to let warring countries fight it out on a games machine?? Good idea eh? There can still be winners. why is war nearly always about religion? even from days of old, just crazy, religion should be peaceful, I am a numpty I know, but I would rather paint something that pleases if that's ok, and it is with me :)

Julie Clay Illustration said...

Oh and I like the cows in you header, even though I don't like to come across them whilst out walking, I will go mile sour of my way to avoid them. They look nice.

Terry and Linda said...

Very well said, my Friend. It all so horrid and ugly and, well, real.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Cloudia said...

"Grasping the sensationalism and moving on" lest they uncover what is really happening in the larger picture.




ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= <3


susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I am disgusted by the way the news media zooms in on one war zone and then another, almost as if they were covering sporting events.

I believe that the main reason that we still, in this century, make war to solve problems is that there are people/corporations who make huge amounts of money from war.

Young men and women, someone's sons and daughters, fight, suffer, die. The profit makers, including the news media, continue to profit exponentially. And so it goes, year after year.

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Becca McCallum said...

I did find one piece of art to come out of the modern conflicts - there was a very interesting article written by the artist in one of the weekend papers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-25415634

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Wars and rumors of wars. I'm not sure how presenting it to us every evening is helping or even informing us. I don't know who is fighting who or for what reason anymore. Really.