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Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 01:02
How far do you try to influence people's actions through your photography? Not just make them say, 'Wow, that's a nice picture', but actually care about something? Or even change their behaviour?

Ansel Adams was an unashamed propagandist for a certain romantic view of the American West (cf Sierra Club). Anti-war photographers are legion. These are only the most obvious examples.

I'm not brave enough to shoot wars, but I've shot propaganda for the Tibetan Government in exile, for a local cycling action group in the UK, for the village of Guadalupe in California, and for a local arts festival where I live now. What have you shot?

Finally, why are some people happier with the term 'public relations' or 'PR' than with 'propaganda'?

Cheers,

R.

Brian Sweeney
04-16-2008, 01:31
Propaganda has strong negative connotations, such as ignoring the truth and facts of a situation in order to sway people to the originators point of view. It is strongly biased.

Joseph Goebbels was a propagandist. My favorite scene in the play "Springtime for Hitler" in the "Producers", is Dick Shawn asking "Little Joe, Where's my Little Joe, I need my Little Joe". "How's the war going, Baby"... "Great! We're WINNING"

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 01:42
Propaganda has strong negative connotations, such as ignoring the truth and facts of a situation in order to sway people to the originators point of view. It is strongly biased.

Dear Brian,

Strongly biased, yes: I see nothing wrong with that. Ignoring truth and facts: no, I don't agree. Selective, sure, but how does that differ from PR? Amyone who tries to distinguish between the two is surely lying to himself, never mind his audience.

Cheers,

R.

Benjamin Marks
04-16-2008, 01:44
I know that there is a tendency for people to bring up the National Socialists whenever they feel they need a straw-man, but I really do think that "propaganda" as a term started to get its pejorative connotation after seeing what Goebbels and Co. did to the truth. Now they didn't invent spin, of course, and the Allies were doing it too. American Library has just released a collection of AJ Leibling's WWII writings. He was a US correspondent for the New Yorker magazine. He is quite candid in his writing about particular news stories having propaganda value for either the Allies or for the Axis powers. So that's my vote: Propaganda was so closely associated with the Nazis that folks who did this for a living had to call it something else.

Ben Marks

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 01:53
Dear Ben,

Hmmmm.... Another 'big lie' here. When WE do it, it's public relations, or at worst, spin. When our enemies do it, it's propaganda.

Maybe it's time 'propaganda' was reclaimed; the Second War has been over for a while, now.

This is a completely unexpected direction for the thread -- maybe I should start another called 'PR' to see how the answers differ.

Cheers,

R.

Brian Sweeney
04-16-2008, 01:56
Whether it is lying by omission, or misinterpreting the facts by design, some truth of the situation is ignored. The net effect is the same as an all-out lie to sway a population into the originator's desired point of view.

How did I do in convincing people that propaganda is a bad thing?

Spider67
04-16-2008, 01:57
In the 50's for example "Wehrmacht" was used as a synonyme in German newspapers for the contemporary armies of other armies the SPIEGE used it in á la "Die amerikanische Wehrmacht...." later it got out of use. "Luftwaffe" ist still used and "Collaboration" is getting back in use thanks to IT-"Propaganda" but Propagando got soaked to the core.
Goebbels was Propagandaminister. ....and the vatican also had or even has a group like "propaganda fide..."

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 02:10
Whether it is lying by omission, or misinterpreting the facts by design, some truth of the situation is ignored. The net effect is the same as an all-out lie to sway a population into the originator's desired point of view.

Dear Brian,

Are you saying that no-one is allowed to put their side of things? To present the nest of their case in a positive light? That all advocacy is immoral?

Am I obliged to say of Mussolini, "All right, he was a fascist, but he made the trains run on time"?

It is impossible to present all sides of any argument -- life isn't long enough, and no-one would read it to the end -- and besides there is often some dispute over what constitutes a 'fact', especially when a complex situation is reduced to a few paragraphs or (worse still) a headline.

Cheers,

R.

sebastel
04-16-2008, 03:58
interesting question.

now, allow me to give a straight response (instead of diving the discussion further away).

as a happy amateur, i enjoy the freedom to take pictures for myself primarily. so, these pictures may show the world as i see it, or they may show the world as i want to see it, or they may just be pictures which have no relation to the "real" world at all.

if someone likes then - fine. if not - so what?
even so, whether someone else understands them or not, or deliberately misunderstands is not my issue in the first place.

yes, this is escapistic, hedonistic, naive ... whatever you want.

but as i may consider myself as completely unimportant, i enjoy my freedom, and enjoy taking pictures that may improve in the way i want them to be.

sorry for being such an egoistic ignorant germ - but am i so different?

;-)

bmattock
04-16-2008, 04:06
I don't want to fix the world - I didn't break it in the first place.

I find that often, my photography helps to fix me. That, I may have had a hand in breaking in the first place.

dan denmark
04-16-2008, 04:44
recently, well this week, a relative of mine sent me a parcel from the US, Florida, and he used a current local newspaper as padding, uncrumpled, so i could also read it for local novelty. i found an article that turned out to be a by-line syndicated one that also appeared in our local melbourne australia newspaper, The Age. the article was written independently by an English journalist reporting on the pro-Tibetan condition in relation to the Olympic Torch running in the US. the US article, ver batim, was nearly half the length of the article which appeared in The Age. what was omitted was the context of political implications present in US communities that tended to be fence-sitting in favour of sport over underpinning the condition of human rights.

i think this is a good example of editing as propaganda.

-dd

Gabriel M.A.
04-16-2008, 04:55
Propaganda has strong negative connotations, such as ignoring the truth and facts of a situation in order to sway people to the originators point of view. It is strongly biased.

Joseph Goebbels was a propagandist. My favorite scene in the play "Springtime for Hitler" in the "Producers", is Dick Shawn asking "Little Joe, Where's my Little Joe, I need my Little Joe". "How's the war going, Baby"... "Great! We're WINNING"

Hear hear.

I think "influencing through photography" is not necessarily propaganda. Propaganda can make use of photography (and therefore having photography influence people), but the use of photography is not necessarily propaganda.

People drown (with water) all the time.

Is drinking water a death wish? Are people more comfortable with the term "drowning element" than with "killer of people" when it comes to water?

Pretty narrow and skewed point, dontchathink? :confused:

varjag
04-16-2008, 05:01
My photos were once part of traveling exhibition of a presidential candidate back in Belarus, the one that avoided jail. As they supported his cause guess they were PR, although "propaganda" I feel is an overstatement.

benlees
04-16-2008, 05:25
I would agree that ideas/images used, and agreed upon, by a particular group to create its own public identity in the hopes of convincing others that it is benevolent or, at the very least, benign; paving the way for the acceptance of its ideas to a greater audience and whatever benefits that may result (usual suspects: power, money...)- although the greater audience may not benefit from those ideas- is the goal of PR and propaganda.

One of my (completely amateur) gallery photos is of a picturesque field with someone riding a horse. It is an ironic image because those fields are (soon to be) surrounded by industrial tracts and the spread of housing. This image could be used by someone (gov't, tourism, etc.) to extol the virtues of rural life. It would be true and not true at the same time. Depends on who presents the image and for what purpose.

kevin m
04-16-2008, 05:29
In the U.S., propaganda and advertising go hand in hand. The business of "news" outlets, be they newspapers, radio or TV news, is to sell space to advertisers; any real reporting they do is strictly secondary to that primary function. Since the chief function of advertising is to seduce one into opening his wallet, any news item that would interfere with the process of seduction gets eliminated, or de-contented to the point of absurdity.

The "news" in this country, then, is largely propaganda, in that it's a pre-approved group of mnemonics designed to elicit the desired response in whatever target market the "news" outlet is trying to reach.

Editors pick the pictures that can be digested easily by their target audience, and photographers, if they wish to remain employed, learn to self-censor so that they frame the facts accordingly.

As Sinclair Lewis (?) said: "It's difficult to make a man see what his livelihood depends on his not seeing."

Pablito
04-16-2008, 05:44
in the Spanish language, "propaganda" can be used to mean "advertising".

Now, were the Farm Security Administration photographers producing propaganda for the U.S. Government in the 30s and 40s? What about when The FSA turned into the OWI - Office of War Information?

lZr
04-16-2008, 05:53
Roger, let us see some of your PR shots you mentioned on openning the thread. I think they will be more explanatory for the purpose

Rayt
04-16-2008, 06:05
Whenever we turn on the TV we get propaganda. These days we don't need John Wayne to make a movie to make me feel good because we now have cable news. It isn't the pictures we are seeing that make us feel we are winning but the pictures the photographers are not allowed to shoot that otherwise would make us feel quite the opposite.

These types of omissions are quite common. A few years ago there was a series of air strikes (where else) and some people were killed. And then there would be retaliatory bombings where more people are killed. I was traveling through several countries at the time and read various newspapers and of course cable news of the accounts. Depending on which country and which paper certain facts would be omitted or facts stressed, such as not challenging unsubstantiated claims, giving more airtime to one side, omitting important facts like the victims were children. None of the accounts were inaccurate but omissions were meant to steer sympathy for one side. I thought CNN to be consistently worthless.

ruben
04-16-2008, 06:30
I see no sin for a reporter, or photographer, or whatever profession you want to choose, to enroll in a cause you believe. This is THE reality, non-standing the denyials of those whose stance goes with the mainstream or the Government.

This I could say when I was already at my early 20's.

Now at my mid 50's I say the same, but with an addition for the self counsciousness of oneself: This "enrolling" must be done with care along the way, so long you walk, looking left and right. And at the slightest doubt arising from the facts, don't turn it down. On the contrary follow it to the end, with all the consequences implyied.

Cheers,
Ruben

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 06:49
Roger, let us see some of your PR shots you mentioned on openning the thread. I think they will be more explanatory for the purpose
Dear Lazar,

Good point. Here are some from 1984-1999. They are not necessarily my best pictures but they have a strong propaganda content; most propaganda pictures rely heavily on captions. Today I'd probably be shooting colour.

My wife (who is American) suggests that there may be a cutural difference in the American and English uses of the word 'propaganda', with the Americans seeing the word as much more negative.

Left to right:

The dormitory is for young Tibetan refugees who have walked across the Himalayas in the last few months. There are over 100,000 Tibetans in exile, and more are constantly trying to escape. If they are caught by the Chinese, they are often shot; the girls are often raped. If they are returned to Tibet by the Indian government, a photograph might identify them, so I asked them to keep moving their heads during a 1-second exposure.

Panchen Lama vigil. The 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama was 6 years old in 1995 when he was kidnapped by the Chinese authorities; he has not been seen since. Incredibly, the Chinese are now trying to say that only the incarnations whom they recognize are legitimate; not a bad trick for a state that denies the idea of reincarnation.

Young monks playing football. Many child monks have lost one or both parents; the monastery functions as an orphanage among other things. It is quite common and perfectly acceptable for a monk to return to lay life when he is old enough to decide for himself.

Cheers,

Roger

Highway 61
04-16-2008, 06:51
Propaganda has strong negative connotations, such as ignoring the truth and facts of a situation in order to sway people to the originators point of view. It is strongly biased.

Joseph Goebbels was a propagandist. My favorite scene in the play "Springtime for Hitler" in the "Producers", is Dick Shawn asking "Little Joe, Where's my Little Joe, I need my Little Joe". "How's the war going, Baby"... "Great! We're WINNING"
After "the fall" in the Berlin bunker, Goebbels goes to Heaven.

Once arrived, after a long trip, he has to choose between two doors : A or B.

"What's behind each ?", he asks.

Then an angel comes and tolds him : "Door A is the Paradise. Quiet fields of always green grass, music, beautiful young ladies all around to take care of you, wine, grapefruits, and the like. And forever".

"Hmmm, well...... and what's about Door B ?".

"Door B is Hell. You will be roasted, tortured, and suffer some kind of pain you never encountered on Earth. And - it will never cease."

"Okay, Goebbels says, I choose Door A !".

"Not a problem, get in" says the angel, and he opens the Door A.

As soon as Door A has got closed and locked behind him, Goebbels is taken away by two small red devils and brought into the central oven of Hell.

Then he yells "What's up, I had chosen the Paradise ! I have been betrayed ! Please get me out of here, immediatly !".

Then The Devil himself comes in and says : "Ach, Dr Goebbels... Propaganda !".

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 06:56
I don't want to fix the world - I didn't break it in the first place.


Dear Bill,

A lot of people might disagree with that. Remember the old saying: all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Do you really believe that there is no merit in helping causes you believe in?

Cheers,

Roger

lZr
04-16-2008, 07:04
Good job you did. I think the photos here are like the one some PJ Director will want to publish in the newspaper as close as possible to the event happening. These are out of context some time in the near futures. Sometimes even tomorrow morning they will expire.

I can't say this is propaganda. It is some kind of report to the public to gain exposure and receive help by pushing the idea to max.

Propaganda is massive brainwash and must have feedback. The feedback is checked, rechecked and the source takes care to accomplish some target.

Tibetians are doing good work, but they have not tools to check the feedback and do something about to force solution to their idea.

They hope the world will help them. I hope this will work for them

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 07:09
And for much lighter propaganda, telling people to get off their bums and do something, here are 3 shots from the Spectacle de Danse by the local dance association -- all shot with a Noctilux on an M8, incidentally. I gave the Association a CD and permission to use the pics as they wanted.

Cheers,

R.

BillP
04-16-2008, 07:13
Interesting thread.

I personally regard the term "propaganda" as even-handed - "we" do it and "they" do it. "Propaganda" is, after all, if I remember my Latin correctly, "information to be propagated". The pejorative interpretation seems to spring, as has already been discussed, from wartime usage and has continued to this day. Another word that I can think of that has acquired negative connotations in a similar way is "ersatz" - in German it means "substitute" or "replacement" (please correct me if I am wrong) but in general usage it has taken on an "inferior" spin, to imply that the substitute is a poor one.

I work in sales, so propaganda is part and parcel of what I do. We refer to "themes" and "core messages", but what we are actually mean is "information we wish to propagate". That information will by definition be true - lying about your products or services is not an option these days - but it will be couched in terms that are either directly advantageous to us, or detrimental to our competitors. In other words, "spun".

I am paid to deliver a positive result for my employers; I am under no obligation to be even-handed, and nobody in their right mind would expect me to be. With journalists, however, I would contend that it is a different and more complex story. If I want a right-wing slant on what is going on I will pick up a copy of the Daily Telegraph. If I want a left-wing slant, I shall reach for a Guardian. If I want a (nominally) unbiased view I will read The Independent (If I want to know which celebrities look like their pets I will pick up a Daily Mail, but that is another story). Point is, I know the political stance of each of these titles. Impartiality is not a given. It is up to me to choose the slant I want to read, and source it accordingly. Where I have an issue is where some individual, title or broadcaster *purports* to be impartial, but is not. The "information" they provide is then - to me, at least, both suspect and of limited value. Is it propaganda? Of course. but a knife can be used to cut tomatoes or to murder a human being. It is not the fact that it is a knife, it is how it is used that makes the difference.

Regards,

Bill

kevin m
04-16-2008, 07:26
The late, great comedian, Bill Hicks, had some lovely things to say about marketing.

From a show in London, I believe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

bmattock
04-16-2008, 09:52
Dear Bill,

A lot of people might disagree with that. Remember the old saying: all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I agree, but I do not 'do nothing'. I just choose not to fix the world through my photography. I am not making statements - I am taking photos that (hopefully) please me.

The 'good things' which I do and have done in the world to make it better have nothing to do with photography, and many here on RFF have decided that they are not good things, but rather are evil things, so I will not discuss them (I've been asked not to by various members).

But they were my choice to 'make the world better' and I feel that my actions did so and do so.


Do you really believe that there is no merit in helping causes you believe in?


Apres moi, le deluge. But I try to help anyway. Just not through my photography.

For what it might be worth, I did define a new school of American photography, for which I will be famous after my death. I suppose that's something.

jan normandale
04-16-2008, 12:19
Bill Mattocks: Quote.... “For what it might be worth, I did define a new school of American photography, for which I will be famous after my death. I suppose that's something.”

That almost slipped past me but not quite. Please elucidate.

bmattock
04-16-2008, 12:24
Bill Mattocks: Quote.... “For what it might be worth, I did define a new school of American photography, for which I will be famous after my death. I suppose that's something.”

That almost slipped past me but not quite. Please elucidate.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/ruralist/

I am unfortunately the only member at this time. Like I said, after my death...

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 13:53
Interesting thread.

I personally regard the term "propaganda" as even-handed - "we" do it and "they" do it.
Dear Bill,

Perhaps this supports Frances's assertion that there is a difference between American and English perception of the word. Any further thoughts from English speakers on this?

Cheers,

R.

kram
04-16-2008, 14:17
"propaganda", "PR" - should we also include the 21st C form (in the UK anyway) "Spin"?

Roger Hicks
04-16-2008, 14:22
"propaganda", "PR" - should we also include the 21st C form (in the UK anyway) "Spin"?

Oh, I think so. 'Spin' is just a euphemism for either anyway -- and I suspect that the euphemism is more despised in the UK than the alternatives.

Certes, I'd rather be an honest propagandist than a 'spin doctor'.

Cheers,

R

Limpovitj
04-16-2008, 14:56
Am I obliged to say of Mussolini, "All right, he was a fascist, but he made the trains run on time"?

It may be more ironic than relevant, but the notion that Mussolini made the trains run on time is just a product of fascist propaganda. The italian railways were improved a great deal following WWI (having been completely shattered during the war), but most of the work was done already before Mussolini's rise to power. The fascists of course credited their Duce with the improvements, but as it were he had nothing to do with them. Improvements and all, it's just part of the myth that the italian trains suddenly ran on time. They still didn't.

Brian Sweeney
04-16-2008, 15:02
Somehow "Honest Propagandist" seems to be a contradiction in terms. You can turn anything into a convenient truth by eliminating essential facts that would detract from your position. All of us do this to a point, but a propagandist takes a position on a subject and then supports it by presenting partial truths and neglecting or discrediting any evidence to the contrary.

bmattock
04-16-2008, 15:11
...but a propagandist takes a position on a subject and then supports it by presenting partial truths and neglecting or discrediting any evidence to the contrary.

And that differs from the average discussion on RFF how?

Nh3
04-16-2008, 15:14
In this age of cynicism anyone who wishes to convey a message through their pictures would be called a propagandist or an activist. No wonder most of the stuff out there is sterile and boring because the photographer is trying to be 'objective'. To me that's nonsense, a photographer must take a position and stand by it; however, that does not mean he fake his pictures to further the said cause.

Salgado is a great example of a photographer who has taken a stand and he makes no qualms about which side his on.

BillP
04-16-2008, 15:17
In this age of cynicism anyone who wishes to convey a message through their pictures would be called a propagandist or an activist. No wonder most of the stuff out there is sterile and boring because the photographer is trying to be 'objective'. To me that's nonsense, a photographer must take a position and stand by it; however, that does not mean he fake his pictures to further the said cause.

Salgado is a great example of a photographer who has taken a stand and he makes no qualms about which side his on.

Passion is a great asset to insight.

Regards,

Bill

bmattock
04-16-2008, 16:06
"Passion is a great asset to insight."

So is whiskey.

Strong emotion is a mind-killer.

Bob Michaels
04-16-2008, 16:41
<snip>
Now, were the Farm Security Administration photographers producing propaganda for the U.S. Government in the 30s and 40s? <snip>

Roy Stryker was open about the fact that FSA mission was not to create an objective record but to generate images that would elicit public support for the farmers.

Bob Michaels
04-16-2008, 17:05
How far do you try to influence people's actions through your photography? Not just make them say, 'Wow, that's a nice picture', but actually care about something? Or even change their behaviour?

Roger: my style is documentary photography of disappearing local cultures or non-mainstream social groups. While my primary objective is to create some form of historical document, there is a subliminal or secondary objective in having mainstream society understand and therefore appreciate these groups. It's no where as direct as a war photographer but it is there.

To put it another way, I only photograph those people that I personally feel strongly about. Therefore I want others to feel the same way.

Bob Michaels
04-16-2008, 17:14
...... I've shot propaganda ...... for the village of Guadalupe in California......

Roger: are there any of your Guadalupe photos on line? I've bicycled through there twice and always fell behind schedule from spending too much time there. I remember the large mural showing a map of the State of California with Guadalupe indicated along with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other places. Also the only place I have seen a 1959 Edsel being used as a normal daily use automobile.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 00:20
Strong emotion is a mind-killer.

And dismissal of emotion is a people-killer.

After all, you don't want concentration camp guards worrying about the people they're killing. Much better not to think, and just follow orders.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 00:34
. . . a propagandist takes a position on a subject and then supports it by presenting partial truths and neglecting or discrediting any evidence to the contrary.
Dear Brian,

As noted before, I think this is a regional/personal reinterpretation of a word which does not hold the same meaning elsewhere or to others.

At my wife's suggestion, we looked the word up in a 1968 Funk and Wagnell and in the second edition of the OED (1989). The former does indeed support your view that it is (or was in the 1960s) used in a derogatory sense; the OED does not.

I do not know whether the difference is a question of dialect or time; almost certainly a mixture of the two. But as an English speaker, this explains why I was unfamiliar with the American usage, and why I asked the question I did in the original post.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 00:43
It may be more ironic than relevant, but the notion that Mussolini made the trains run on time is just a product of fascist propaganda...
Why am I not astonished to learn this? Even so, I thank you very much for bringing it to our collective attention.

The point is, of course, I'm sure that someone could find something nice to say about him: that he was kind to cats, perhaps. 'Balance' in a case is one thing; but (for example) as long as the Chinese tell only their side about Tibet, there is certainly room for people to put the Tibetan side.

Cheers,

Roger

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 00:52
Roy Stryker was open about the fact that FSA mission was not to create an objective record but to generate images that would elicit public support for the farmers.

Dear Bob,

Thanks for your contributions to both strands of this question: both the nature of propaganda, and what you do. I was hoping that more people might address the second part, with stories like yours, but most seem much more interested in the semantics of 'propaganda'. This does prompt me to wonder what some of them do shoot, but I fear there is little hope of getting this thread back on the track I had originally hoped.

Most of the propaganda pics I shot for Guadalupe (which I left in 1992) were of the annual Passion Play. Padre Julio Roman was a good friend, and I learned a lot about the politics of the American Catholic Church from talking with him and from paying more attention to news items about the church than I might otherwise have done. Some of these pictures do appear in www.rogerandfrances.com but they are scattered around the site and are not easily pointed out.

Cheers,

Roger

crawdiddy
04-17-2008, 07:22
The point is, of course, I'm sure that someone could find something nice to say about him: that he was kind to cats, perhaps. 'Balance' in a case is one thing; but (for example) as long as the Chinese tell only their side about Tibet, there is certainly room for people to put the Tibetan side.

Cheers,

Roger

Apparently, the only argument made by the Chinese is that

"Tibet has always been a part of China, and must remain so."

The age old "we've always done it this way." Of course the revolutionaries have not always made such an argument.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 07:45
Apparently, the only argument made by the Chinese is that

"Tibet has always been a part of China, and must remain so."

The age old "we've always done it this way." Of course the revolutionaries have not always made such an argument.

And, of course, even that claim is flatly untrue. But this is veering very close to the 'The Protest' thread, and is even further from my original intention with this thread. I'm not complaining that you've brought this up -- indeed, I'm grateful -- but I fear that there are many people whose attitude can be summed up as either:

My mind is made up: do not confuse me with the facts

or

Tibet is a far-away country about which we know little

Of course, this brings me back to why propaganda is important...

Cheers,

R.

newspaperguy
04-17-2008, 07:59
[quote=Brian Sweeney;799887]"Whether it is lying by omission, or misinterpreting the facts by design, some truth of the situation is ignored."

WOW! Maybe I've been in this game too long...

but that sounds like the definition of ART. :angel:


Old Rick in So MD

varjag
04-17-2008, 10:14
The point is, of course, I'm sure that someone could find something nice to say about him: that he was kind to cats, perhaps.
He actually hated cats.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 11:18
He actually hated cats.
Dear Eugene,

He was a founder of the Mouse Protection League?

Hmmm.... Idea for a new thread:

Find something nice to say about Mussolini

Could be quite a short thread...

Cheers,

R.

charjohncarter
04-17-2008, 11:24
I get Guadalupe and Gonzales mixed up. But let us know if you come back to California. We, or at least me me, would like to meet you.

Carter

Brian Sweeney
04-17-2008, 11:43
This definition is more in line with what I observe:

"propaganda

Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. The information may be true or false, but it is always carefully selected for its political effect."

From:
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 12:20
This definition is more in line with what I observe:

"propaganda

Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. The information may be true or false, but it is always carefully selected for its political effect."

From:
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Dear Brian,

Yes, well, that ties in with it being regional rather than time. Or, of course, with an old-fashioned or narrow view in the book you quote.

Interestingly, the word 'propaganda' was used on the BBC news tonight (Thursday 17th April) without a hint of disapproval, concerning John Betjeman and his ode to Miss J. [for Joan] Hunter Dunne ('furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun'), who died today aged 92. They met, apparently, when he was commissioning propaganda films in 1941 (the BBC's words, albeit from memory, not mine).

Without wishing to be unduly parochial, I prefer the Second Edition of the OED to an American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. But then, I would, wouldn't I?

Cheers,

Roger

charjohncarter
04-17-2008, 18:03
Roger are ever coming back to Guadalupe, CA? I know where it is now, I looked it up on the map. I was there many years ago. My son lives somewhat close to there. Let us know.

Roger Hicks
04-17-2008, 22:43
I think the world is being a bit racist. If they were white, nobody would care.
Sure it's racist. If Tibetans were white, people might care more. But (and I quote a Tibetan friend), 'No-one cares what little yellow men do to one another'.

EDIT: It might be interesting to ballot the inhabitants (or in some cases, ex-inhabitants) of all of the places you mention, to see what country they think 'ought' to rule them, rather than asking their next-door neighbours if they would like to invade.

The Maloumes (as the Falklands/Malvinas are known to the French) are a particularly interesting example. Uninhabited when they were discovered by John Davisa in 1592, East Falkland was first colonized by the French in April 1764; the British under John Byron disputed this, and were kicked out by Spain (who acquired the colony from France) in 1770. They soon returned but closed down the colony (while still claiming sovereignty) in 1776. So Argentina's claim is based on the Spanish take-over of a French colony in once-uninhabited islands that have a colony that is now of almost exclusively British origin.

Hong Kong was leased by the British and returned to China when the lease ran out, so that's an even worse example for your case.

Cheers,

R.

BillP
04-17-2008, 23:36
My corrections and clarifications in bold:

It's quite fashionable for Westerners to be anti-China these days. How is it that they get away with doing the same thing themselves, yet never question their own governments' policies.

Examples:

(1) The Malvinas (Falklands). Isn't that the same thing. Geographically it should be Argentinian, but brute force settled that, the same way as in Tibet, and the British have had a holier than thou attitude about it.

The Falklands were settled by the British, the Spanish and the French long before Argentina existed.

(2) Diego Garcia. The US government was "given" this island in the middle of the Indian Ocean by the kind British colonizers (to counter Soviet expansion); then promptly shipped off all its inhabitatants to Mauritius, where they languish in abysmal poverty, and without any assistance from the richest country that evicted them from their ancestral home (60 minutes did a story on them a few years ago). The island is now literally a permanent aircraft carrier for the US Navy, to control its hegemony of the Gulf Region.

(3) Gibraltar. It's attached to Spain and not to Brighton. It should belong to Spain, yet the British still occupy it.

Legally ceded to Britain by Spain in perpetuity under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.

(4) Hong Kong. It's only been part of China since 1997. Before then, the British claimed "legal" authority over it.

Legally ceded to Britain by Spain in perpetuity under the terms of the Treaty of Nanking. The Convention of Peking added the New Territories under a 99 year lease. At the end of that lease, the New Territories, together with Hong Kong itself and Kowloon were peacefully and lawfully returned to Chinese dominion.

(5) Guantanamo. It belongs to Cuba, yet the US Government "rents" it in perpetuity for a small sum, and Castro has never cashed the rent checks.

(6) France occupies some Polynesian Islands (think Paul Gaugin), mainly using them to test nuclear weapons and polluting the land. What's up with that?

There are many more examples. Compared to the above, what the Chinese are doing in Tibet doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary, don't you think. I think the world is being a bit racist. If they were white, nobody would care.

Vic, I don't mind your quoting examples, but please quote relevant ones, and be aware of the history.

Regards,

Bill

payasam
04-18-2008, 00:56
I have photographed poor people extensively, specially in rural areas, in my own country and elsewhere. Just bringing up unpleasant realities. For me, the term "public relations" reeks of multi-million corporations and dishonest governments.

Roger Hicks
04-18-2008, 10:48
Bill, I'm sure the Chinese were well represented at the Treaty of Nanking.

All these so-called treaties were foist upon the rest of the world by colonisers.
Dear Vic,

Of course, Spain was never a colonial power... (Gibraltar, Falklands).

And Britain didn't honour the treaty with the Chinese by returning it...

Sorry, you're being a bit selective. Yes, there are some disgraces, Diego Garcia in particular. But as Bill says, you could have chosen better (and better researched) examples.

Cheers,

R.

furcafe
04-18-2008, 10:50
Agreed. I seem to recall that the Treaty of Nanking & Convention of Peking were preceded by some unpleasantness between the British & Chinese empires. Also, the Brits actually got HK in perpetuity; the 99-year lease was for the New Territories. Somehow I think that if China were as inconsequential a power as Cuba, HK would still be a colony, like the Falklands.

I am by no means a supporter of China's annexation of Tibet, but much of the criticism in "Western" countries does seem a bit hypocritical. I mean, come on, practically all of the U.S. is conquered territory, with places like California & Texas being doubly so. Reminds me of Chris Rock's swipe @ the Republican stance on illegal immigration during their convention in San Diego in '96.

If U.S. history is any guide, perhaps the eventual solution will be for China to allow the (surviving) Tibetans to own & operate casinos.

Bill, I'm sure the Chinese were well represented at the Treaty of Nanking.

All these so-called treaties were foist upon the rest of the world by colonisers. I guess those were the times, when the sun never set on the British Empire. The same way the US claims that Guantanamo is a legally binding lease.

As for Argentina, we shouldn't forget that they killed off the native population of blacks and Indians. The term "Cabesito Negro" (black head) is still a term of insult in Argentina, and many were not proud that Maradona became a superstar, the face of Argentina, a land full of Italian and English stock, sprinkled with former Nazis. They are neighbours of Brazil, but have no blacks. Isn't that amazing.

The world has a long way to go, treaty or no treaty. Whatever happened to the concept of ethics and morality. I suppose that is the diffrence between law and justice.

Roger Hicks
04-18-2008, 11:20
For me, the term "public relations" reeks of multi-million corporations and dishonest governments.
Precisely. That's why I prefer the honest term, 'propaganda'. But from what you say about what you shoot, I assume that at least part of your motivation is a belief that others should have unpalatable tuths brought to their attention: a form of advocacy for the poor.

Cheers,

Roger

payasam
04-18-2008, 23:43
Roger, the wealthy and the powerful are seldom moved by unpalatable truths which stare them in the face -- they simply turn the page and look at shampoo ads or whatever.

Roger Hicks
04-18-2008, 23:48
Roger, the wealthy and the powerful are seldom moved by unpalatable truths which stare them in the face -- they simply turn the page and look at shampoo ads or whatever.

Lamentably true.

But if enough people care, it is possible to get the attention of even the rich and powerful.

Besides, what's the alternative to trying? Empty hedonism? Pretty pictures? The internet as a substitute for photography?

Cheers,

R.

jonmanjiro
04-18-2008, 23:56
If U.S. history is any guide, perhaps the eventual solution will be for China to allow the (surviving) Tibetans to own & operate casinos.

LOL :D:D:D

payasam
04-19-2008, 00:11
Not just in photography, Roger, but also in my writing, I am guided by the knowledge that staying quiet is simply not an option. If you feel strongly about something, you don't keep your mouth shut because you can't.

lZr
04-19-2008, 00:50
Saying what you think is not propaganda, payasam. It can be complaining at most but far of propaganda. Propaganda is something that erode the public

Edit: Also propaganda influence the public thoghts and make them do things they usually not do

jaapv
04-19-2008, 14:11
Hi Roger!

I travel a lot in Africa. I try to take photographs of the people and show how they live, in order to create a bit of understanding for that underrated continent. There is enough miserable news coming out of there, but that is not the whole story.

http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/files/5/0/malawi_66692.jpg



http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/files/5/0/buisiness1.jpg




http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e32/jaapv/township-1.jpg



http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e32/jaapv/kids-1.jpg

payasam
04-19-2008, 23:18
Lazar, anyone who does not like what I have to say can dismiss it as "propaganda", using that word as a term of abuse.

Good pictures, Jaap. I see in them the fact that childhood is universal. Everywhere, there are both good and bad things; and both need to be publicised -- at different times, for different reasons.

Rayt
04-20-2008, 03:39
Reminds me of Chris Rock's swipe @ the Republican stance on illegal immigration during their convention in San Diego in '96.



I recall Chris Rock said something like: "if this land was our land then this city wouldn't be called San Diego, it would be called Gus Johnson." Still cracks me up.:p

jaapv
04-21-2008, 01:38
Lazar, anyone who does not like what I have to say can dismiss it as "propaganda", using that word as a term of abuse.

Good pictures, Jaap. I see in them the fact that childhood is universal. Everywhere, there are both good and bad things; and both need to be publicised -- at different times, for different reasons.

Thank you
These pictures were taken (except for the egg seller, which was a local market) in the poorest slums of Lilongwe...

jmbagnall
04-22-2008, 01:09
One academic view of propaganda is given by Noam Chomsky and Edwards S Herman:

"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."[ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda#cite_note-5)

The Wikipedia article I got that quotation from has a lot of interesting comments about art and propaganda. Not that propaganda is a new term - I believe the Vatican established the powerful Sacred Congregation of Propaganda or something like it in the 16th century. Earlier the Roman Empire was pretty good at it too, often in stone. Roman buildings speak powerfully about strength and permanence. These days we rely on much more ephemeral images.

Regards
John

Roger Hicks
04-23-2008, 07:27
Both John and Richard have illustrated well the highly regional and time-related values attached to the word. Perhaps we can hope that as Hitler died some time ago, the alarmist connotations whipped up since the 1930s may die away in the USA as they have died away in most of the rest of the world.

After all, what other words do you use? 'PR' and 'Spin' arguably have significantly worse connotations than 'propaganda' to the average English-speaker (as distinct from American-speaker) and probably indeed Basque-speaker. Another possibility is 'advocacy' but this really does seem a bit unnecessary. Any offers from speakers of different English dialects here?

Cheers.

R.

bmattock
04-23-2008, 08:26
Dogma - for some, a pejorative. It is actually used as an insult. Its true meaning is very different. Same for propaganda, dictator, etc.

BillP
04-23-2008, 08:47
I fear that dogma is one of those words that has taken on a pejorative meaning through ignorance. A bit like "quantum". If you ask the chap on top of the Clapham Omnibus the meaning of the phrase "quantum leap" he will most likely express it as a huge step, or similar.

Of course these days he may also describe it as an old tv series his parents used to watch...

Regards,

Bill

JeffGreene
04-23-2008, 09:00
One academic view of propaganda is given by Noam Chomsky and Edwards S Herman:

"... the Vatican established the powerful Sacred Congregation of Propaganda or something like it in the 16th century. Earlier the Roman Empire was pretty good at it too, often in stone. Roman buildings speak powerfully about strength and permanence. These days we rely on much more ephemeral images.

Regards
John



I would agree with John, and as a teacher of critical thinking in the guise of statistics use the Vatican history when discussing how one interprets data, in this case, of course, we are referencing visual data. When viewing images we can then extend the definition and view propaganda as taking on a much broader meaning, and referring to any technique, whether in writing, speech, music, film or other means, that attempts to influence mass public opinion. I guess I would side with your wife in that it appears, at least from the feedback here, that we Yanks have a more negative connotation of the term.

Respectfully,

Jeff