Tag Archives: Media

Video blogging for the New Statesman: Camera in hand and idea in the head

For the last few weeks I’ve been out and about filming moments in the developing protest movement against the unconscionable coalition government and its programme of swingeing cuts in every department of social provision.  The result has been a number of short videos posted here on Putney Debater. I’ve now been invited by the New Statesman to become its first video blogger, so from now on, that’s where my videos will be posted first (although I’ll continue to post written blogs here). Here’s the first one, which condenses the videos posted here previously with some additional material.
The idea I have is to build up a picture of the movement as it evolves, so I’m working on the basis that I’ll end up with a documentary record of three or four months of struggle. The method is simple: to return to Glauber Rocha’s formula for Cinema Novo in Brazil—to go and make films with a camera in the hand and an idea in the head. (Too simple for the section on methodology in a grant application, and there’s no time for that anyway, so I’m not making one.)

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Walter Benjamin and the iPad

or, Advice for Writers in the Age of Digital Orthography

In his book of aphorisms, One Way Street, published in 1928, Walter Benjamin has a remarkable premonition. ‘The typewriter’ he says, ‘will alienate the hand of the man of letters from the pen only when the precision of typographic forms has directly entered the conception of his books. One might suppose that new systems with more variable typefaces would then be needed. They will replace the pliancy of the hand with the innervation of commanding fingers.’ [p63-4]

This is exactly what started to happen with the advent of the desktop computer six decades later, and with the internet, email and the web, digital command extended into a virtual domain which even a prescient fellow like Benjamin couldn’t have imagined. Continue reading

Screen Grabs, Fair Use, and the Digital Economy

There is continuing confusion about the use of frame grabs for illustrating books and articles about film. It’s a question I get asked regularly, and yesterday there was a query about it on a discussion list I subscribe to, which prompts this post. My understanding is this. Continue reading

Isaiah Berlin in the Media

As a student of Isaiah Berlin’s back in the late 1960s, I have been intrigued by the media treatment of his hundredth birthday, which with one or two exceptions, faithfully celebrates both the memory of his dazzling personality and his role as the philosopher of liberalism in the age of the Cold War. His ideological position had little to do with why I went to study with him, after taking a first degree in philosophy, since I was fast becoming a Marxist, but my intellectual interest was the link between Marx and the Romantics, and I’d heard him lecture on the latter and read his book on the former, and he clearly knew a great deal about both. Continue reading