Sunday, March 04, 2007

New Fisk

How easy it is to put hatred on a map


what a nasty racist little column from fisk. his message seems to be: "middle easterners are so useless that they'll kill one another if 'we' publish the wrong sort of maps". give everyone a bit more credit, please. when we publish a map after an election in NZ showing the "red" and "blue" bits, we're not saying each area is 100% labour or 100% national - but when a map is published in the middle east showing sunni or shia majorities, fisk seems to be saying muslims won't understand - so it needs him, a pom, to be on their side

Posted by Anonymous : 3/04/2007 03:43:00 PM

Anon, what Fisk is saying, quite plainly, is that when A and B are already trying to kill each other on mass it's a bad idea to tell them that there is such a thing as A-land and B-land (especially so when it's plainly not true).

Posted by tussock : 3/04/2007 06:31:00 PM

I half disagree and half agree with Fisk on the map issue.

On the one hand, mapping regions in terms of factors other than increasingly abstract nation-state and provincial boundaries - factors such as religion, ethnicity, household income, population density and so on - is illuminating and offers a way into starting to understand what's going on in places like the Middle East and Africa.

On the other hand, as Fisk points out, it can lead to simplification of what is a complex situation on the ground, and a misapprehension that we really "know" what is going on.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/04/2007 07:46:00 PM

tussock - you make an assumption that "they" - the A and B people - listen to "us", so "we" need to be careful. First, how condescending to think "their" wars are driven by maps printed in TIME etc. Second, even if that is true, "we" should be able to publish whatever we want in our news magazines that we find interesting/useful. Just what is Fisk saying here? That we need to take responsibility for everything that happens in the Middle East, to the extent of having to restrain overselves printing maps? That Middle Easterners have no will of their own? Old Fisk is losing it. The Middle East is a little more complex than his boring "its all the west's fault" columns.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/04/2007 09:44:00 PM

Fisk seems to think that we are responsible for ensuring a sort of media control that will not cause middle easterners to kill eachother, and we dont do this because we think we are better than them.

Fisk as usual, sacrifices truth for outrage.
Having said that I agree that the middle east would benefit from us being careful and not validating differences between groups (like jews and palistinians or whatever), at the same time I think it would require north kroean level media control to prevent the media from describing events in ways that the average person can understand even where partially true.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/04/2007 10:28:00 PM