the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

6/14/2005

SPG Spectacular: Ay, We Can Deal With This, Right?

I DON'T GET it.

What’s so remarkably negative about
it?

I’ve read it over. Thrice.

As far as I can tell, it was a straightforward reporting of an 'event'. It also reported some reader responses.

I checked. It has verifiable facts, quotes and attribution. Like all good news stories should.

It's definitely not one of those subjective op-ed pieces, where some anonymous editor tells or rather subtly (sometimes not so) suggests you should be pleased or upset, relieved or scared at the news reported.

It reports a female blogger, baring her all save a recognizable face in her publicly accessible blog - a first in our conservative (and authoritarian) societies both sides of the Johor Straits.

It IS news, yes?
Any first-time event is newsworthy, yes?
This one breaks our social norms, yes?

Yes? Yes? and Yes?

All affirmative? Good. Ah, then, what’s so negative about it?. Why do you find the truth cheap?

P{lease, let's make distinctions.
Between news and imagination. Between verifiable fact and value-laden interpretation.

Apply the fundamentals of what you know about the theory of news. Of what makes any event/thing/person newsworthy.

The News values

1. Consequence (importance and impact)

2. Proximity (geographical, cultural)

3. Conflict (disagreement)

4. Human Interest (about people)

5. Novelty (the bizarre, the rare)

6. Prominence (personalities)

Now ask yourself how the Sarong Party Girl story scored against the above criteria of what constitutes news.

*The nude pictures caused a sensation and made an impact, didn’t they? There are important consequences, right?

*Geographically, culturally it's an issue that touches/strikes our hearts right? She could very well be a Malaysian. Worse still, she could be our little sister, daughter or niece, girlfriend or wife. Or even our gramdmother. [subtext: Oh dear, must get a grip and watch the paranoia}

*We are all interested in sexuality no?

*Controversial, and conflict-laden right?

*A female blogger so close culturally (even if she's not Malaysian) who bares all is a novelty. She is quite a spectacle, isn't she?

In fact, SPG scored so spectacularly well it
set us all abuzz, exactly as the story headline said it would! Ah, this time The Star so accurate ler!

Ask yourself (honestly) if public interest was served by this information to the masses?

Or, more meanigfully, if public interest would have been better served pretending 'it' does not exist, did not happen?

Honestly, for crying out loud, haven’t we all had enough of N.S.Ts (no such thing)?

We howl in outrage when the media appoint themselves our news gatekeepers and moral guardians by screening, filtering and censoring information we feel we have a right to access - freely and in its raw form. That is why we all blog, we love blogs, we all love PPS, we’re even gonna have a bash to celebrate its 3rd birthday, with awards and all! We want to be in control of information flow.

It’s silly to cry fowl when that information we so crave sometimes makes us feel somewhat scared and uneasy about ourselves.

It’ s downright dumb to be so scared we start complaining and end up looking like we are asking for censorship. Heh! In cyberspace summore! For that is what the hue and cry is all about. Honestly.

True, our MSM (mainstream media) don’t always mirror reality. But in this case, I am sure we can all agree that the truth is laid bare for all to see, yeah?

Simply put, there is good news and there is not-so-good news. News that makes our hearts swell with pride and have us dying to tell/show the world. News that make us so painfully pai-seh, we involuntarily cringe, try to hide the news, conceal the truth or pretend it didn't happen. Or if all else fails, simply stick our heads in the sand. How we react pretty much depends on our cultural outlooks and mindsets.

C'mon, it's reality and reality sometimes bites. You ALREADY know that.

You also know that the best thing to do with reality is to DEAL with it.

Look, it isn’t the media's job to tell us how to deal with 'bad' news. AND, TO BE FAIR, IT DIDN'T ON THIS ONE. Honestly.

Indeed, in this case, we seem to be coping by falling into an emotional default position of fear. It's irrational. Perhaps, because we are afraid of not knowing how to deal with it. How our youngsters will handle this freedom in cyberspace. And so, we lash out at the messenger.

Be rational. You can. We are, after all bloggers. By default, we are proponent of freedom of expression and information flow. We can deal with this rationally. WE bloggers, of all people can handle this reality in a sensible and wise way.

After all, lest we forget, the authorities are watching to see if we can deal with this.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Kamigoroshi said...

Rationally is one thing. Then again...im a way it serves as a problem who wants their blog out there but away from the prying eyes of those they don't want to show. Sometimes the posts we blog about give those people the right to actually say something about.

I'm not sure about this case. I don't think we have a right to say anything about SPG's blog. It's her body. It's nice. Enough said.

But what about those people who are directly affected by this? Do they count in having a say?

I wrote about it more about this in my blog today though.

3:59 PM  
Blogger T-Boy said...

Hee hee hee hee hee! You know, that's the thing.

What amuses and aggravates me is that the Blogosphere is behaving as if it's the Press' fault. No it's bloody not. They're doing their job.

It's not sensationalism when the bloody idiot posted it in a public medium and expects everyone to applaud her for her bravery.

It's not bravery when you forget to cover your tush.

5:19 PM  
Blogger 5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Percolator,
Do me a favour, read my blog? Did I sound like some self-righteous prick when all I am voicing is my parenting thoughts? I got hate mail! God saves me.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Calentropus said...

There are already megatons of soft core, hard core, and rotten to the core porno on the web. These are accessible by anyone, anytime.

Just type in "Malaysian nudes" into goggle, and you will get more links than anyone would care to browse. Many of these are exhibitionist postings, and can be very explicit.

What is the difference between SPG's post and all these that I mention above ? She is just another exhibitionist who wants to be heard and get attention.

How much more effect (direct or otherwise) can another nude picture on the web have ?

Anyway, she is not even all that pretty or stacked up.....

2:03 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

kami,
"away from prying eyes"
You blow your own cover the moment you decide to post pics of yourself. You can't choose your aduience unless you password-protect those posts. This leads to subsidiary issues of public sphere and choice etc.
On SPG's blog and the right to comment. I don't see why it's any diff from other posts just b'cos it's er 'revealing'. Freedom of expression. We can't have our cake and eat it as well, you know.
Other people affected by this, Why, well, they can blog about it of course!.. CONVERSATIONS!!

9:29 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

t-boy.
I am aware there are many dimensions to this issue, chiefly, parental concern. In this post, I am trying to focus on the issue of handling reality. On not shopoting the messenger. WHen I ask peole too be honest it does not mean I think people are dishonest. It means the issue (or crisis as it seems to be increasingly perceived) calls for REFLECTION rather than REFLEX.

9:36 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

5xmom,
I appreciate that THIS nudity issue is a scary situation particularly for those with daughters. That natural concern is mediating all responses, rational and irrational. I understand and sympathise. But it has to be dealt with in a way that will not jeopardise blogs as a medium for freedom of expression.

9:40 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

calentropus,
you forget the furore is over the (so called scandalous) NEWS being brought to non-bloggers attention via the print media.
As a matter of perspective - porn, soft or otherwise it isn't available to anyone, everyone as we are wont to think. Only those of us who have access, and in the case of SPG, those of us who know about blogs, or blog . A very minute proportion of the population reached by The Star really.

9:46 AM  

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