Archive for February, 2013

Maximum Justice

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

What purpose does our criminal justice system serve? Is it a simple chore of “eye for an eye”. Or, do we use it to prevent crime by removing ne’er-do-wells from society? Then again we use it also to compensate victims- awarding dollar amounts even in crimes where money was not a direct factor. We place value to broken bones, to damaged reputations and even insulting speech.

William Geldhart defines our system as serving two distinct purposes: punishment and retribution. We use it to both remove criminals from society and award compensation for those who’ve been harmed. Two roles with very different ends.

At what point does a criminal’s conviction in criminal court become “not enough”? Indeed, as the severity of a crime increase so to do the demands of the victim. We often simplify things with phrases like an eye for an eye” to justify a tit-for-tat system. This is difficult though in cases of less severity or increasing complexity. No crime is as simple to warrant the tit-for-tat response. We need to consider the criminal’s state, intent and wealth of other factors in rendering a decision about punishment. The great hazard is committing a crime in seeking to punish crime.

When challenged with the task of punishing a criminal, we face a great challenge in meeting the demands of the victims and the rights of the convicted. No matter the horror of a crime a criminal does maintain some rights. Discarding these risks disposing our own respectability and ethical high ground. If one is to nominate themselves as judge of behavior and provider of punishment a clear understanding of ethics and morality must prevail. Punish too much and we dispose of our value but fail to provide victims with a reasonable right to compensation and we negate our purpose.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stark Reality TV

February 9, 2013 1 comment

Does reality TV showcase reality? How does documentary differ from reality programming?  Perhaps a better name form “reality TV” is “Stark Reality”.

In reality TV we often witness an individual experiencing something extreme. For some it is the dream to be famous or the desire to lose weight. These programs showcase these desires made reality and the stark realities of dreams becoming real. In stark reality programming we witness what happens when what one wants becomes possible.

Documentary programming is less about change and more about “what is.” The documentary film works as an invisible eye providing access to the audience. In reality TV there is a different, more subjective function. In these films there is an outside force or invisible actor who curates the experiences of the individuals involved.

Documentary is less formulaic and controlled and more “as it is.” The documentary film enters the story of the film’s focus and creates a record of what occurs. There is no influence in documentary. In reality TV an actor affects what occurs, moves to make the desires of one into reality and traces the complications.

Tracing the Tree: Historical Family Texts

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Limited though we are, our notion of who we are and how we exist is an amalgamation of

memory and history. We do not exist as blank, objectively focused actors in the world. Instead we are the latest models in a long line of family. Defining these roles are the historical documents that link past to present. The family photo album is less record, more instruction manual when the grandson views pictures and considers dress, attitudes and roles.

In these documents we  see social class and history; we view  cultural behaviors and learn who it was that came before. How did they look back then? What did they wear and what did they do? Our historical record answers these questions and suggest identity.

In a world rich with documentation the proverbial apple falling from the tree remains forever in free fall. In our documents we find apple, tree, and branch.

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