Wednesday, May 23, 2012
THE BEAUTIFUL, HORRIBLE POWER OF VIDEO
There are some stories that are hard to tell.
Similarly, there are some truths we refuse to believe unless we see them with our own eyes. 'Seeing is believing' as the well worn saying goes.
This simple fact is why the early pioneers of motion pictures predicted its future power. This power should be respected, they said.
As technology has changed, and video has become more accessible, this power has grown.
Now a camera can be as small as a lipstick tube or a lapel pin. There are no limits to what can be 'seen' and therefore 'believed'.
Much as many won't admit it, this power can be both beautiful and horrible, despite even the intentions of the user.
Video has changed the political discourse against wars and thus saved lives.
Video (and Al Gore) changed the climate change debate.
But not all examples are positive.
Recently, a United States Army Officer's death was witnessed by his wife, via the video calling program, Skype.
Apparently, they were chatting via Skype, while he was stationed in Afghanistan, when something horrible happened. The US Army is not releasing the details, save to say his wife witnessed the event over the video call.
Once upon a time, she would have just gotten a letter.
I'm not sure which is worse.
Seeing is, unfortunately, believing.
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