Archive for March 7th, 2007

Wined Your Body

Ernest Gallo is dead, leaving behind a vale of tears, made from cheap wine. I used to drink regularly with a crowd of Buckfast obsessives, although I was never really one for it myself, and drank it only when physically forced to, which was most nights. One time, ages ago, there was an outbreak of groupthink, and they started forswearing it, based on the belief that it was aggravating their psychosis. They chose Ernest and Julio Gallo White Grenache as a replacement, since it was ‘proper’ wine, and stuck with it for a couple of weeks. In a matter of days the standard of our darts games rose dramatically. I would estimate that the percentage of darts actually hitting the dartboard rose well above 90%. Ernest Gallo was directly responsible for this civilised interlude.

Banned

The Irish Examiner is reporting that Trocaire’s Lenten ad campaign has been banned by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.

Apparently, the justification from banning it is derived from section 10(3) of the Radio Television Act 1988 which states

“no advertisement shall be broadcast which is directed towards any religious or political end or which has any relation to an industrial dispute”.

No, I am not a lawyer, but how would one reasonably determine ‘political ends’? The BCI’s interpretation would seem to indicate that consumption does not entail a political choice, even when many products are marketed precisely on the supposed political consequences of their consumption. There are many products advertised based on a claim that they are good for the environment. Well, doing something good for the environment is a political act.

It appears doing something for the environment is not political, but doing something to address the effects of gender inequality is. Quel crock.

Apparently Today FM had expressed their concerns. Today FM is owned by EMAP, which produces, among other things, those engines of gender equality FHM and Zoo.

Hyperreality used to be a friend of mine

Baudrillard advocated the idea that spectacle is crucial in creating our view of events — what he termed “hyperreality.” Things do not happen if they are not seen to happen.

So says the IHT’s article on the passing of Jean Baudrillard, who died yesterday, and whose death will no doubt invite plenty of variations on the Derrida ‘dead’ headline produced by the Onion (I think) on the death of the latter, as well as plenty of snide comment from people for whom French philosophers provide an opportunity for ridicule because they are a) philosophers and b) French.

There’s a funny -but unfair- moment in one of the interviews in Edward Said’s Power, Politics and Culture, when Said is told of Baudrillard’s description of the first Gulf War as a ‘hyper-real non-event’. Said says, rather unreasonably, “Good old Baudrillard! For that I think he should be sent there. With a toothbrush and a can of Evian, or whatever it is he drinks.”

I would venture, rather tentatively, that technological development over the last 10 years has destroyed the centrality of the ‘hyper-real non-event’. That is, the second Gulf War cannot stand as a singular ‘hyper-real non-event’, but is instead the object of continuous representation and re-representation in news media and on the internet. Whereas representation of the first Gulf War required a number of people perhaps in the tens of thousands, millions participate in the representation of the second. Yet this fact does not necessarily bring any of the participants any closer to the brute reality of having to live in constant fear of getting blown up, or simply getting blown up. In this sense, the ‘hyper-real non-event’ is still a useful idea.

But then again, I might as be as well off raving here as raving in bed.


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