Archive for April, 2002

Violation

EDIT: Please read my Comments Policy before commenting on this post. In a nutshell – you are free to express dissenting views, but if you want your comment published, keep the discussion civil. It will also help if you have enough basic reading comprehension to grasp that this post has been up since 2002. Thanks so much xx

afghan-girl

I bought a copy of the April National Geographic today. It’s not something I normally do, but I was struck by the cover, – you know the photo National Geographic always show of the young girl with the very striking eyes? They had found her and re-photographed her as she is now. In the story that accompanies the photos, the photographer explains how the original photo was taken; he asked permission to enter a school and asked one of the young girls – who had never had her photo taken – if she would allow him to do it. He says he was aware that since she was a only a few years away (at most) from putting on a veil, that she and others may have been reticent about the photo, but that didn’t stop him.

15 years later, they (along with documentary crew!) started searching for her, no doubt to provide a sense of happy ending to America with regards to both this woman and Afghanistan as a whole post Sept 11. Eventually they succeeded.

If in the older image, she was tough, curious, perplexed, somewhat intimidated and defiant, in this photo she looks hostile, humiliated, resigned and violated. It is as if more than her veil has been ‘ripped’ from her face, but her self-respect. The veil and what it represents is obviously important to her, as she comments that it is a “beautiful thing”. Her name is broadcast in print. I imagine that to her, exposing her face and identity to the world (and thus to men to whom she is not related) is a rape of her most private self.

I see photos of her husband and brother sitting next to her proprietorialy. I see the photographer once again appropriating her image to publish via tv, video, internet and paper. The photographer notes (in a somewhat condescending way) that she won’t look him in the eye – or any man who is not her husband for that matter – that she will only look into the camera lense. He notes that the photos he has taken of her are the only photos she has ever had taken of her.

A photograph is an image, albeit one that reflects the photographer as much as the subject herself. The photographer in this instance is not concerned with ‘The Afghan Girl’ as a woman or as a human being. She is an object, the end goal of a quest, and hence his interest in her is only concerned with greater glory for himself and The Story. He does not allow us to get to know her, beyond his romanticised vision of her life, his view of her and her convictions as quaint and exotic. She is the Mysterious East personified, and stripped bare and barren, deviod of any meaning beyond what the Civilised West chooses to give her.

If ever photography was guilty of stealing souls, it is the case here.

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Blah, blah, blah

I am feeling pretty low today.. You know when you just can’t be fucked crying, ’cause your system has shut you down. Painful numbness is I guess what you’d call it, although that’s not really accurate. The pain is there – you can feel it intensely – but there are no tears…they just don’t come.

I have to drag myself into work this afternoon for a meeting with the work doctor and my manager. God knows what that is about, but it won’t be good. Probably they’ve gotten sick of me dropping out of work every couple of months when the depression hits really badly. I’ve just been lucky so far that I have been working for a company that gives it’s employees much more sick leave (if they really need it) than they are required to by law. I think the law gives you10 days. My employer allows upto 52 weeks sick leave over a 2 year period. Thank god for that, or I would have been up the creek. So no doubt they are getting a bit pissed off that they are still paying my wages but not getting work out of me. I’m wondering if they are going to fire me or offer me a redundancy package, or what.

We got the television back this morning, and they have ‘repaired’ it again. The repairman said that Grundig only replaces TVs within 21 days of purchase. I’m not happy with that answer. When we put the TV in for repair this time, I called the Dept. of Fair Trading first so that I could find out what our rights are. The lady I spoke to said that in the circumstances, then TV is very definitely faulty goods, and that if Grundig doesn’t come to the party in what we consider a reasonable amount of time, we can file an official complaint with the Dept. I’ll be speaking to Grundig tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens, but there is no way I am going to keep a TV that has needed 2 repairs within less than 6 months. The chances of it failing again are high.

TV OD (not)

Around November last year, we splashed out and bought a wide-screen TV and digital set top box after having no television for the greater part of a year. I was on Buffy withdrawl, cold-turkey, and it wasn’t pleasant. The digital set top box wasn’t a luxury – it was a necessity if we were to watch TV – our reception in this area is crap.

So the Widescreen arrived (all hail the widescreen) and its sidekick Digital Box. And they went forth merrily, broadcasting clearly into our homes, and yea, there were even some extra channels. And we saw that it was good (except for most of the stuff on TV).

Things began to go wrong in January, when we had to have the Digital Set Top Box replaced. Shortly after the Widescreen began to fail, switching itself on and off. We had it fixed, and now it has reccurred. We are currently trying to get a replacement.

In the meantime, our reception has gone down the tube, even with the set top box. We think it’s to do with some scaffolding and/or cranes that have gone up recently. So even when we get our TV back, it will be unwatchable, and likely to remain so for 6 months (at least – there is a possibility that it won’t improve).

So $3000 worth of television equipment aside, we are back to watching DVDs on the computer.

12 steps for Ebay?

Hello. My name is Melanie, and I am an Ebay addict.”

It’s sad but true. What with Guy mentioning ebay to me today (hope you got the poodles things OK), and John logging on to see what Hertzog DVDs are available, I was able to withstand temptation no more. I went straight to my favourite search “+(vintage, retro, estate) -(male, mens, mans, charm, charms, patriotic, pin, watch, brooch, gold), in Category Jewellery, Gems, Watches, available to Australia” and began to browse. Somehow only 30 minutes had passed, and I had already bid US$80 on a variety of vintage jewellery.

See that’s my passion. I love estate and vintage jewellery. It doesn’t have to be “real”, in fact sometimes the more costumey the better. But at this point, I should clarify that I do not buy kitch items as a habit (only sometimes!). Today, my confirmed purchase is a vintage Czech beaded necklace. Isn’t it pretty?
Czech Deco Necklace

The other two items on the left are just as exciting. A 1930’s brass and enamel bracelet from Uraguay. It looks like somthing Frank Lloyd Wright would have tried to incorprate as a motif into one of his buildings. I love it. At present the price is US$15. I hope I win…..pant!
uraguay bracelet

The next one is a faux-pearl (don’t you just love the word faux, such a luxurious way of saying fake!) chocker from the 50’s or 60’s. I’m not sure what I would wear this with yet, but it is a must have.

You know, I’ve noticed something since my Depression
has been in full swing. I seem to jump from obsession to obession (when I can concentrate enought to be obsessive, that is). Jewellery making….jewellery collecting…..ebay purchase…..crochet (don’t ask, it was at my worst!)…..web design….setting up my parent’s site. It’s like I can only take action, do something, when I concentrate on something whole heartedly. Or I’m trying very hard to convince myself that I am getting better and able to do something, while all the while I am not really doing anything. Or my concentration only works for bright and pretty coloured baubles like a bowerbird. Perhaps that is it…

Or perhaps I am just trying to insert meaning in my meaningless life.

Good Grief

I am currently scoring and rating a bunch of sites that applied for the Angylion Award Scheme. God, there are some crap sites out there. Like the one from Alabama who’s graphics take 5 years to load, and a different (but equally annoying) MIDI on each page. Their first page had a wolf howl which repeated itself over and over again until I turned the volume off. Poor Zelda was traumatised.


Fatadelic

 

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