Usually if I post two blogs on consecutive days I feel a sense of achievement. My original excuse for coming to Vietnam was to focus on writing - and writing blog entries minimally fulfills that ambition. However, I did not feel a sense of achievement after the last two postings. They represent the completion of two mini-projects that I had started - both involving the media. The first - the world's response to Haruki Murakami receiving 'The Jerusalem Prize'. The second, to provide the only full online transcript of Hunter S. Thompson's interview with the Australian ABC.
The reason for examining the response to Haruki Murakami winning The Jerusalem Prize was a confluence of three things: My liking of Murakami's writings, my following the latest Gaza incursion, and Noam Chomsky's allegation that news that is unfavourable to Israel does not get coverage in the USA. I also wanted to know how Murakami would react to the open letters that encouraged him to boycott the prize. Two examples of such open letters can be found at palestine-forum.org and here. It took a lot of time to research this question to my own satisfaction. I concluded that with the exception of AFP (whose article was taken up by the Australian ABC) there was no coverage of Murakami receiving or accepting the prize in the mainstream US media. The only main stream coverage in the UK was by the Guardian (but not the BBC). The AFP, the Guardian and the ABC all took their quotes directly from The Jerusalem Post - which I hope I showed were somewhat misleading paraphrases at best. I did find coverage in India, Iran and Israel - and from a host of bloggers around the world. The best coverage indeed came from Israel itself (if not from The Jerusalem Post). I found Murakami's response morally satisfactory. I found the reporting of his response less so. Noam Chomsky's allegation, in this case, seems to be justified.
The Hunter S. Thompson piece was a natural confluence of my liking of his work, the fact that he was interviewed by someone in Australia, and my interest in (if not belief in) conspiracy theories. I was surprised at some of the good material that was left out of the aired interview. I don't think this in itself was a conspiracy of some sort. The Media Report obviously focuses on the media - and the interviewer did edit to keep the focus on the US media post 9/11. I just felt it was a pity that parts of the interview that pertained to the Australian media, and the Australian government's position on the yet-to-be-started Iraq war were cut. Some of the more funny parts were cut, parts that dealt in more depth as to why the US media reported the way it does were cut. I feel a slight happiness to be able to provide some of Hunter S. Thompson's views publicly in text form, but given the time it takes to transcribe audio to text, it is a small gain in happiness for a lot of work.
The sense of achievement in completing and posting these two mini-projects was small and short lived. I find myself thinking - why bother? It is much easier to write about my dreams, to write personal nostalgic pieces about my past and my failing memory. Why do a lot of work to produce relatively dry pieces that are of little interest to anyone out there? I have yet to come up with an answer to that question yet, and I have no mini-media projects planned for the future. I can only concur with Hunter when he says 'Boy, it really is lonely out here'.
Underneath and Behind show 19th Nov 2016
6 months ago