Monday, February 12, 2007


Yesterday The Los Angeles Times carried two stories about how video file-sharing services were archiving images of real rather than fictional violence that depicted seemingly unresolvable political conflicts. "Mexican Drug War's Brutality Celebrated on YouTube" argues that videos "intended to cheer on or denigrate the opposing sides in Mexico's drug wars" are proliferating on popular online sites. Last week, murderous assaults on officers in police stations in Acapulco were allegedly filmed by gunmen, although the videos have yet to surface on the Internet. The LA Times makes an analogy to a genre from the medium of music, the narcocorridos or ballads dedicated to drug lords. Most of these gory videos are apparently produced by those with no ties to the actual criminals, and sometimes they are captured and disseminated by the police themselves.

A less violent altercation was discussed in "Soft or hard bop? Either way, whack is a hit with viewers" that chronicles the controversy surrounding the digital recording of a particularly chaotic City Council meeting in the dysfunctional City of Carson. Although the city itself regularly archives video of its public proceedings, a clip of a Carson official shrieking and falling after being struck with a sheaf of papers by a woman seeking the recall of the current mayor has found more fame by being broadcast on YouTube. Constituents and spectators outside of Carson are now debating how much of an assault actually took place, since the incident appears to have devolved into political theater in its most slapstick form.

Now that local municipalities and even federal agencies are relying on video webcasts for access to the public record of the official business of governance -- rather than traditional print documents -- there are also issues about cataloging material into identifiable chunks and adding meaningful metadata. With text-based records, it is much easier to search for key words and automate systems to generate the most relevant information to a given member of the electorate. Video and other images require that the selection processes of groups of users be activated, often on a voluntary basis, to locate exactly where a site of potential misunderstanding might be.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you need the word contraversy ittalitized

7:33 AM  

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