Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Pool and The Mirror

The Pool
Bacchus Marsh police contacted the FBI so MySpace could be ordered to close the false account.

Detective Sergeant Coxall said the investigation was ongoing and parents should discuss with their children what they were uploading about themselves to sites like MySpace and Facebook.

"One act done on the internet creates a record that is not only traceable but the likelihood is that the images are never actually erased."
FBI called in over teen sex clip

The Mirror
A 44-year-old father and three children have been found dead in a suspected murder-suicide in a car on an "old hippy commune'' in a remote bush property 50 kilometres west of Eden after police were called to the scene by a neighbour.
'Valley of Failure' murder-suicide: father and three children found dead

These two recent news items are taken from the Sydney Morning Herald website. The murder suicide story, a horror of isolation, violence, abuse and power ran for few days as the police put together the pieces to the puzzle of how the event came to take place. The linked story above is the final entry for the story so far, which summarizes the previous two or three accounts. No doubt lives have been destroyed in the wake of such an event, not to mention the loss of three children. The MySpace story is from today. Most obviously the MySpace story is not of even similar emotional dimensions to the horrible murder-suicide story.

What struck me about these two news stories is the connotations in relation to media. As the investigating police officer points out:

"One act done on the internet creates a record that is not only traceable but the likelihood is that the images are never actually erased."

The potentially 'eternal' nature of the MySpace images has distinct resonances with the horror of the murder-suicide story. How could anyone touched by the events recounted in the news item forget such a thing? But the news sites on the net (and I assume in the printed form) have 'forgotten' the terrible events recounted in the story. I read this as a variation in media form, one that I metaphorically term the 'Pool' and the 'Mirror'.

The Internet and other digital media formats are like a pool. Liquid that reflects and can immerse and hold representations, that ripples when touched, issuing out impressions over its surface. The larger the impact a story has upon its surface the larger the ripples. The more often the imprint is made on the surface of the pool, the more often the event comes again 'to life'.
On the other hand the recording device of the paper newspaper, and other non-digital media, are like a mirror. Fixed in form and function, able to exhibit highly defined representations of events but only for a short amount of time. The newspaper follows a story while it is current, 'alive' and then when it ceases to be so, it is not longer part of the surface of the mirror.

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