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BloggingOn 4.5 – It’s a long way from Winter Soldier to...

In case you’ve missed it out there on the net… articles have been appearing online about a website that gives free memberships to US soldiers in Iraq in exchange for pictures of, well… here, read an excerpt from an article in the nation:

Originally created as a site for men to share images of their sexual partners, this site has taken the concept of user-created content to a grim new low: US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to display graphic battlefield photos apparently taken with their personal digital cameras. And thousands of people are logging on to take a look.

The website has become a stomach-churning showcase for the pornography of war--close-up shots of Iraqi insurgents and civilians with heads blown off, or with intestines spilling from open wounds. Sometimes photographs of mangled body parts are displayed: Part of the game is for users to guess what appendage or organ is on display.


There is a far more explicit article on eastbayexpress, which I mentioned a while back. Coturnix pointed me toward some similar articles and asked me to investigate the strength of this story as a meme. I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing this, but following Corturnix’s advice, I did several google searches for the individual articles, and here’s what I found:

My initial hesitation to dig any deeper into this was the fear of what I might find if I entered “war” and “porn” as keywords in Google. The first search I tried was an attempt to make the boundaries as narrow as possible. Entering the following: ("chris wilson" nowthatsfuckedup iraq porn) turned up 627 hits (Chris Wilson is the creator of NTFU). A random sampling shows that almost all of these hits (if not all of them) are directly related to the desired search. The first hit is the article I originally read on eastbayexpress (that has since been updated).

I’m not sure how Google’s “find pages that link to…” search option works, but it has yet to turn up any results for the URLs I have. (If anyone knows how this works, please advise.) Instead I tried searches for each of these articles that refer to this story…

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/the_porn_of_war

This search: ("the nation" "the porn of war") turned up 430 hits.

Again, most of these hits appear to be topical. If the one heading I found in Cyrillic is any indication, this meme is getting around.

Here's the URL for the article on eastbayexpress:

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2005-09-21/news/news.html

A search for (eastbayexpress “war pornography”) turned up 994 hits.

I have to apologize that I really have no idea to go about conducting this search. My computer skills cover only what I’ve needed so far, and I can always fake the rest. If anyone has suggestions on how I can take this a little further, please let me know. It would be interesting if we could find out: when and where this meme first appeared, which are the most popular sources for it (which article has the most links to it… the nation? eastbayexpress?, at what point the meme started to pick up speed, whether or not it has reached “main stream media,” etc., etc.)

When I first discovered this I thought it would be the sort of thing to blow up in national media. Abu Ghraib II, perhaps. While I tend to be (willfully) ignorant of what’s going on in the news, I haven’t noticed any signs of this one trickling down to me like most things do. As a meme, this seems to have some strength on the internet. It certainly plays into some current strengths that a news story might hope to have: another entry in the ongoing race to deliver the silver bullet that will put an end to the Iraq War or the Bush Administration. Perhaps the graphic nature makes it unfit for national media attention? Perhaps no one wants to give this website any more free publicity than it’s already received? I don’t know. Why has this not caught on? Why does this not have the momentum it needs to gain national attention in the way Abu Ghraib did?


1 Responses to “”

  1. Blogger coturnix 

    Excellent!
    In Google, type in the whole URL into the search field and you'll get pages that link to it. You can also specify:
    link:http://www.....com/
    with the same result.
    For searching ONLY blogs, do the same in Google Blog Search enigine:
    http://blogsearch.google.com/

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