on analogic reality

I was on UK’s Daily Mail newspaper web site and suddenly this thing caught my eye. It was a flash ad promoting the newspaper, a veritable montage of “interesting things” that, through implication, the newspaper reported on. This is very common on local TV stations, which promote themselves this way. Innocuous enough, except I thought … wait a minute, isn’t this the infamous Kingdome implosion?

Sure enough, it was, and you can see it on Youtube.

Some local Seattle event is a bit far from the UK, and sure enough the Daily Mail never reported on this back in the day so far as I can tell. A bit of artistic liberty, surely, but perhaps there is more to it.

Now I’ve always found media subject to money incentives to gravitate toward entertainment. And entertainment being — perhaps — an art form, somewhat like advertising is an art form, the use of images tends not to be about depicting reality, but rather merely to suggest reality, or the reality being conjured up by the writer with words, an analogic reality. Images are nowadadys understood like visualizations on Powerpoint. Fire up an image gallery like Corbis and pick something that fits the words and job well done. If nobody notices, all the better. That is an interesting phenomenon, especially when it comes to news reporting, I must say.


So here you find BusinessWeek discussing Suzhou as one of the world’s worst places to work. And what do you get? This nice photograph to go along with it. And you say, wow that’s some smog all right. Then, you quickly notice that it doesn’t look like Suzhou at all, but rather awfully like Shanghai, which is a completely different city. And you’d be right, because it is Shanghai. It is a shot of Suzhou Creek in Shanghai! A suggestive photograph, yes. Suggestive of the name, even. But unfortunately not Suzhou. As much not, as a random house on a random Washington Street would not be a valid depiction of George Washington’s erstwhile place of abode. Suzhou being quite polluted notwithstanding, we still do not know what Suzhou actually looks like at all. Great. Analogic reality.

As a certain celebrity makes his annual pilgrimage to his funding sponsors and idolators around the world this month and next, will we see more analogic reality like we did last year? Some instances of this art form are after all more egregious.


  1. me
    April 1st, 2009 | 12:50

    So BusinessWeek finally swapped out the original incorrect photo shown in this post.

  2. Ted
    May 7th, 2009 | 14:15

    Well said about businessweek. You know this site brings something to mind. Im dong alot of research and one of the things I found out is the news, media, cnn, msnbc and what not are not really telling the full picture. Sites like suppressedminds.com would tell you all you want to know about whats really going on. The last time I went to businesss week was right after reading this post. I think that show comes on Pbs or something? Anyways great post keep up the good work.

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