Language Problem, Dude: THIS is what HAPPENS when you F*** with REALITY!
In other words, the initial--and far more consequential--manipulation takes place when a Reuters idiotor decides to use this or that photo to encapsulate and illustrate his view of reality. If his initial view of reality is true, then the manipulated photo can only be more true, not less true, because it is doing a better job of conveying a truth that transcends material images: the truth that Israel is a genocidal aggressor that wantonly targets innocent civilians. To coin a phrase, the photos may be fake, but they are accurate--only more so.
That is certainly how the left sees it, which is why the controversy is of no consequence to them. For example, Right Wing Nuthouse surveyed the top 30 or so left wing blogs, and found that only four had anything to say about it, three of whom minimize or make fun of the controversy.
The comments to an editorial by Jeff Jarvis (HT/LGF) in the Guardian are instructive. I didn’t read them all, but here’s the gist:
“It's a gift to the swivel-eyed mouth-breathers who read LGF. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd almost think...oh never mind.”
“What difference does some news spin make to the reality of people dying in lebanon? People die in lebanon because israel is on a stupid, self defeating, senseless rampage and we do nothing about it.”
“Is it worse to doctor photos or to drop bombs on a city?”
“Whatever the role of Hezbollah in media management, there is no doubt that innocent civilians are being killed in large numbers. That's what is important, not what anybody does with Photoshop.”
“A picture with more smoke in it DOESN'T ALTER THE FACT THAT CLOSE TO A THOUSAND LEBANESE, MOSTLY CIVILIANS, HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED IN RELENTLESS BOMBING RAIDS NUMBERING IN THE THOUSANDS, EACH STRIKE 1 TO 4 TONS, THE BOMB TONNAGE DROPPED ON LEBANON TOTALING OVER 10,000 BY NOW.”
“How very strange, that the pro zionists hang on by their fingernails to one or two images... well maybe not if we are to consider the disproportionate killing spree that israel and its supporters cheer on.”
“It's shocking how these Zionists are trying to belittle the death of those children by mocking the pictures--it doesn't deter from the fact that the children are dead! These guys share the same moral compass as fundamentalists.”
In short, reality doesn’t matter. There’s a greater truth involved, which you might say has been the motto of every leftist since Karl Marx. As I have noted before, “the moral and intellectual pathology of the left revolves around its misuse of language. It is not so much that leftist thought consists of lies, as that it is based on a primordial Lie that causes it to enter a parallel looniverse where, even if they say something that is technically true, they aren’t saying it because it is true, a distinction which makes all the difference. The primordial lie is the nullification of the covenant between language and reality, so that language is used for its effect rather than as a tool to convey truth. For the left, good language is effective language, whether it means ridiculously exaggerating the danger of heterosexual AIDS in order to increase funding, brazenly lying about George Bush supposedly lying about WMD, or blaming hurricane Katrina on Bush's environmental policies.”
So here we see a fine example of open endorsement of the nullification of the covenant, not just between language and reality, but between image and thing. It is a descent into a hellish, solipsistic realm of pure subjectivity, where one can make no rational appeal to an independently existing thing called “reality.” Do you see the danger? In reality, truth is a function of the adequation between some aspect of reality and our mode of knowing it. But in the leftist world, there is great enthusiasm for the philosophy of “perception is reality, and who are you to judge my perceptions or to say that yours are any higher or better than mine?” Doctoring the photos is just using an exclamation point or ALL CAPITALS TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS!
But visual images are highly deceptive to begin with. This is why television is the ideal medium to propagate liberalism, since it is so rooted in emotion rather than thought. Reading or listening involve entering a detached, abstract world of knowledge and meaning, whereas television is an immediate, concrete world of pictures and images. So often, television reports a story as news, simply because they happen to have some dramatic pictures to show you. On the other hand, important events with no pictures are not even recognized, much less reported.
Language is an abstraction from experience, while pictures are a concrete representation of it. Pictures do not show concepts, but things. As Neil Postman, author of The Disappearance of Childhood puts it, unlike sentences, pictures are irrefutable. A picture “does not put forward a proposition, it implies no negation of itself, there are no rules of evidence or logic to which it must conform.” Yet, these images provide a “primitive but irresistible alternative to the linear and sequential logic,” rendering “the rigors of a literate education irrelevant.” Watching television requires no skills and develops none. There is no one so disabled that he is disabled from staring at the TV or looking at an impropergandish Reuters photo.
The really pernicious thing about images is that they convey the illusion that they are simply depicting reality, when they are actually deifying our most primitive way of knowing the world. That is, there is no knowledge at the level of the senses. Television replaces truth with facts, but as Richard Weaver pointed out in his Ideas Have Consequences, it is a characteristic of the barbarian to believe that it is possible to grasp the world “barehanded,” without the symbolic imagination to mediate what the senses are telling us.
The dramatic images coming out of Lebanon tell us absolutely nothing about the real source of the conflict between Hizb’Allah and Hizb’Yaweh. In this regard, it is precisely the gratuitous images of dead child porn that dehumanize and diminish their subjects, and strip them of any other trait, good or bad. They are simply victims of Israeli aggression. They are tools.
By portraying the Lebanese as impersonal, victimized automatons, the Islamo-nazis may engage their genocidal fantasies in good conscience. Since television images are atemporal, we do not see that the pictures are depicting something that is simply the inevitable consequence of a pernicious idea that is not visible on screen--specifically, the ineradicable belief that Israel has no right to exist and that it is a worthy target of genocide.
(Warning--vulgar profounity ahead. I do not want to alter the artist's intent.)
If I were in control of TV news, in between every one of those pictures of dead Lebanese, I would play the scene in the Big Lebowski, where John Goodman mutters “Fucking language problem, Dude,” pops open the trunk, pulls out a tire iron, and proceeds to destroy a new Corvette:
"YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS, LARRY? (Crash!) YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS?! (Crash!) THIS is is what HAPPENS when you FUCK a STRANGER in the ASS! (Crash!) HERE’S what HAPPENS, Larry! (Crash!)”
Sorry for the profanity, dudes, but isn’t that the message we would all like to convey to Hizb’Allah, the army of Moloch? True, it would be a manipulated image, but hey, as a leftist might express it, WHAT’S WORSE, HURTING CARS OR TRYING TO EXTERMINATE A WHOLE PEOPLE?!
As for the righteous pummeling Reuters is receiving? THIS is what HAPPENS when you HIRE an Islamist STRINGER to propagate LIES!