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Norway Tragedy

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834656.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:49 pm Reply with quote

Indeed--I guess that goes a bit over my head because I've literally never seen a state flag at a private residence, only ever at government buildings and so on. Around here, at least, folks do fly lots of university flags (for instance) but that's more of a sports thing than a notion of past culture.

834660.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:08 pm Reply with quote

sjb wrote:
Hmm, good point. On a speeding train it's hard to make out anything beside the colors on a flag. But I know I've never been to either Rhineland-Palatinate or Saarland. Did poke around Niedersachen a fair bit, though. And I was just thinking--I do seem to remember more black-red-gold flags in the north. In the south, more of the white-blue Bavarian flag.

Yeah well, the Bavarians will forever remain seperatists I guess. ;-) As for the black, red and gold around the rest of Germany, there sure are more around now, after the 2006 World Cup, than there ever were when I was growing up, but compared to the amount of red, white and blue I saw the last time I was in New York, it still looks like very little to me. Stupid question - are you sure the places you saw flying the flag weren't administrative or public buildings? In the smaller northern villages it wouldn't be unusual to find a police station or the local administration in a regular house in a residential neighbourhood.



834676.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:04 pm Reply with quote

Hmm, could be! I'd say there were certainly a few I saw that were hanging in a non-official (sloppy) sort of way. Or are Germans less particular about how the nation's flag should hang than Americans? Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous how particular flags must be here.

Curious Danny
834845.  Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:17 am Reply with quote

Anti-immigrant tabloids have questions to answer over Norway terror

Just posting this article because I thought it made a relevant point about how, while you can't blame what this guy did on tabloid headlines, xenophobia in newspapers builds a discourse where repugnant views can develop - that is to say, if they were directed publicly at another minority group, such views would be strongly dismissed much earlier on.

P.S. Obviously, this article is not the height of informed journalistic opinion, but the point still seems relevant

834851.  Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:38 am Reply with quote

Interesting article here though I think it suffers from a distinct bias in that I think it could look at any extreme of opinion rather than homing in on extreme right-wing views, though obviously those are of relevance in the context of the perpetrator of the Norway incident's opinions.

Curious Danny
834865.  Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:06 pm Reply with quote

While I try to approach article comments with skepticism, the first post asking "why blame his mental state when he justified his actions politically" seems to be a very valid query

835616.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:31 pm Reply with quote

I suppose I should put the standard disclaimer that I don’t condone the use of killing people to make a point – but I can understand the mindset that would drive Breivik.

I suspect that I’d disagree with him on just about every issue – with one exception. That would be the trivialisation, disparagement, and ignorance of any point of view that didn’t fit the “standard accepted model”.

We’ve seen this before – he has something to say and is consistently met with indifference and hostility. There’s nothing wrong with that per se (there’s an awful lot of opinions and the majority of them certainly deserve either indifference or hostility), but when you’re presented with an environment where you’re forbidden from expressing a different point of view it’s easy to see why an individual might feel like a cornered rabid dog.

To take as an example – in the late 60’s/early 70’s there existed in West Germany an undercurrent of hostility toward the state – in particular, it was a source of resentment that 20 years after WW2 the country was still occupied by the UK, France, and the USA – and more importantly that the soldiers of those occupying powers were subject to different laws. It didn’t help that a fair number of the German administrators of the country had been active (although perhaps not ardent) members of the Nazi party. The Viet Nam war was at its height (but let’s not go there other than to note that images of civilians being killed were a regular feature of news bulletins).

When the wife of the Shah of Iran published an article in a leading fluff magazine in which she stated “like most Iranians I like to spend my summer at the beach” it prompted an article by Ulrike Meinhof (then a rising star in journalism) in which she, correctly, pointed out that “most Iranians” lived at a subsistence level that precluded any thoughts of a day, let alone a summer, at the beach. Meinhof also drew attention to the similarity between the then Iranian secret police (SAVAK) and the SS. Needless to say this article was ignored by the powerful, and the mainstream media continued to publish guff, puff and gossip.

It didn’t take a genius to see that bread and circuses wasn’t going to win the day – and when the Baader-Meinhof gang (or more accurately, gangs – there being more than one incarnation) began their explosive rampage they garnered a wide level of support.

The point being that Breivik may well be an intolerant nutter – but given that there are about 25 freeview channels is it really necessary that so much of their output is occupied by a mixture of cookery programmes, home improvement shows, mindless game shows, “where would you like to live’, and “news” which is repeated on the hour every hour?

We can’t, nor should we seek to, control the output of the commercial channels. They are driven by advertising revenue – if what sells is “celebrity eat an insect on ice whilst performing a naked dance (all in the best possible taste)” – then that’s what they need to put on.

But we can, and should, demand that a state sponsored broadcaster eschews the populist and broadcasts the unfashionable views of dissenters. This might come in the form of polemics, or in unfashionable entertainment (“One man and his dog” springs instantly to mind, along with opera). It might be in reporting news from a different corner of the world (the “Unreported World" segment does this admirably).

The alternative is that Breivik, or Baader, or Meinhof will draw the inevitable conclusion – the only way I’m going to get anyone to even hear my views is by killing some people.

It doesn’t astonish me that Breivik has chosen to stay alive and present his manifesto in a legal forum – he’s got something to say, it may well be (probably is) garbage, but the only way it’s going to get heard is by reportage of a court case. Perhaps he might have been mollified if BBC3 had chosen to replace one of their repeats of Mr T showing us clips of “fools” (sorry – “foo’s”) with something approaching intelligent television? It’s not asking a lot is it – just one of the 5 repeats of the programme replaced by something a bit different? (I’m not counting the second set of repeats, or the third).

If we’re going to put Breivik in the dock – let’s also put the schedulers who feed such inane garbage in the dock as well. Without them filling up the schedules with inane crap and preventing the broadcast of unfashionable, probably wrong, ideas there almost certainly would be no Breivik, there would be no massacre.

Breivik would have had his say – it’d be ridiculed and/or ignored. But at least he wouldn’t feel like he’d been sidelined in favour of a repeat of some inane gameshow. He’d probably still be arguing on a forum somewhere with the likes of me. And 50+ people would still be alive.

835619.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:04 pm Reply with quote

It's really quite astonishing (even given the fetishization/obsession of your anti-BBC stance) that you think the BBC are responsible for driving a Norwegian citizen to go on meticulously planned killing spree in his own country just because they didn't show any programmes with 'dissenters'.

835620.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:18 pm Reply with quote

It's really not so astonishing that you've missed the point entirely samivel.

It's not the BBC that is to blame - it's the cult of "give the public what they want" that is to blame. The BBC is one of a very few outlets that could make a stand against this.

I can't blame commercial channels for presenting "mindless pap" - that's what sells. The BBC doesn't have to worry about what sells - so it could, and should imo, indulge the road less travelled.

The BBC is in an ideal position to produce programmes which have no instant commercial appeal - indeed, it has done so with everything from snooker, to sheep dog trials, to dragons den, to any number of other examples.

The BBC now has 4 major channels (and a news channel) - it could use those to present any number of viewpoints. Instead, it chooses to show second rate imitations of third rate commercial shows.

Is the BBC responsible for the actions of Breivik? No, of course not. Is the BBC responsible for feeding the frustrations of the disenfranchised - absolutely.

Breivik clearly wanted an outlet for his opinions - and he equally clearly felt the only way he could get that outlet was by getting himself on trial for mass murder. That isn't to say that the BBC should have given him an outlet for his opinions - but it is to say that if he'd felt there was a possibility of getting his opinions aired he might have tempered his enthusiasm.

835628.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:19 am Reply with quote

So the BBC should broadcast any and all 'alternative' opinions just in case the person holding them might kill loads of people if they don't get an outlet for their views?

If that's the point you're making, then I'm glad I missed it first time round*.

If people want an outlet for their opinions, they can post them on the internet - as indeed Breivik did. They don't have a right to expect national broadcasters to carry whatever crap they happen to have cluttering up their heads, even if they might go on a murderous rampage if they don't get their way.

*And if that isn't the point you're making, then dragging the BBC into the discussion is totally irrelevant and is just another example of you banging on about how you think it's a load of crap at any possible opportunity.

835708.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:45 am Reply with quote

Sorry bob, you lost it completely when you claimed "he has something to say and is consistently met with indifference and hostility".

In his own words he met with people who seemed to share his views, he was abe to discuss his views quite openly with plenty of people through different means, and there are even political movements that agree with some of his opinions.

The BBC, and other channels (including commercial ones) have given airtime to views of people who are either anti immigration, anti Islam, or other similar views. The fact that you or others have missed the times when they are shown is because they are not in primetime slots because broadcasters know majority of people disagree with those views, and they are treating these views as the minority that they are.

835713.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:10 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
The alternative is that Breivik, or Baader, or Meinhof will draw the inevitable conclusion – the only way I’m going to get anyone to even hear my views is by killing some people.

Baader and Meinhof might have had such an excuse. In the age of the internet, Breivik certainly doesn't. And if the internet doesn't guarantee him an audience - on the grounds that his views are pretty repellant to many people - then why on earth should a mass broadcaster in the UK give space to a Norwegian with unpopular views in Norway on the subject of immigration into Norway unless he is running for an election?

835716.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:21 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
unless he is running for an election?

I can't say that I've noticed the British media giving much time to Norweigian elections recently.

835725.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:34 pm Reply with quote

Running for election is a legitimate way to air views that are unpopular and be given space to express them. The fact that the vast majority of people think your views are idiotic doesn't make you a misunderstood hero. Generally, it makes you an idiot.

835743.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:53 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Running for election is a legitimate way to air views that are unpopular and be given space to express them.

Without wanting to excuse or justify Breivik's actions in any way at all, but in many European countries, extremist political parties, especially those of a fascist or national socialist bent, tend to be banned. I don't know what the law is in Norway exactly, but I do know that the national socialist Nasjonal Samling is banned.


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