Tuesday, July 25, 2006


*****************GREATEST UPDATE I WILL EVER GET TO HAVE BELOW!!!!!***************

on the day when my wife and i are in the eye of the media storm (appearances on ABC, CNN Int'l, Inside Edition, and Scarborough Country for Jill), some thoughts on how Swift-Boating has become divorced from partisanship and transmogrified into a technique for disseminating information about any perceived enemies.

it's a very effective technique, as my wife has found to her chagrin. and its carrier is the Mainstream Media, an (un?)witting accomplice in spreading slander and innuendo.

this guy started the ball rolling. he quite reasonably had a strong opinion (and a strongly negative one) about jill's photos of crying children. the photos are provocative, and intentionally so, so much so that no one should be surprised that they elicited angry responses. as they are polemical as well, those responses could well have been on the level of either aestechics or politics (i've gone back and forth in my own head as to whether the photos' titles are too "on the nose" in their politics, but ultimately i think their lack of subtlety is appropriate to the times in which we live). the guy above did neither. he reacted, quite literally, as if jill had committed a crime, not just any crime, but child abuse.

it's a serious accusation. one would think that before making such an accusation, a rational person would in fact try to ascertain if indeed such abuse took place. as there were many people at the shoot (assistants, models' parents, agency reps etc.) and as they were all findable relatively easily, there was no need to make any such accusation without doing so. and the guy above did not. he just shot off at the mouth without thinking, and became his own worst enemy (he claims a left-wing mentality that is not apparent from his behavior).

here comes the swift boat part. as we all remember, the SBVFT were able to promulgate a series of lies about John Kerry through the intelligent use of the internet and of the mainstream media. essentially, what they did: they used a website to say all kinds of things about John Kerry's Vietnam service, in order to make him look like a coward rather than a hero. after their claims were put on-line, the MSM was able to report on "controversy surrounding john kerry's vietnam record" without having to actually find out if the underlying fact claims were valid. as superbly detailed by the daily howler, it took 2 months before any serious journalist actually dug into the claims made by SBVFT--that didn't stop cable news, the big papers, and everyone else from talking about it--and by that time, the charges (false though they were) had stuck. kerry was S.O.L.

all of this brings me to yesterday's LA Times article by Steven Anthony-Barrie. This is the first (and only) piece of journalism that has been done on Jill's work where the reporter actually...reported. he called parents involved in the shoot, the model agency, jill, and so on. this is how reporting works--two sources for every fact claim, that kind of thing. and the article, to my mind, is eminently fair and accurate.

which in turn brings me to the prior reporting from both "American Photo" Magazine and the New York Times (and, to a lesser extent, the Sydney Morning Herald). these papers merely "reported the controversy" without doing anything to find the underlying truths. they are and were, therefore, nothing better than gossip spreading half-assed articles written by lazy people with no ethics. harsh words, i know, but i believe strongly that the MSM is getting ever and ever worse about this. i blame various people, but really Drudge should shoulder the most blame. he says some bullshit, and that makes it ok to discuss in the MSM without verifying his claims.

well, i expect a farrago of insane comments (previous commenters from both that guy's site and from boingboing have said that amongst other things "you and your wife should have aborted your children" "you are nazis" and so on. those are the middle-lights--there are some higher!) as we are dealing with people who think nothing of leaving vicious comments on the guest books of children's websites. as this happened on both our children's sites, we have now had to password protect them. sad. pathetic. without question, the quality of commenter from boingboing in particular is extraordinarily low--all personal invective and no thoughtful anything. i guess that is what pseudo-techno-libertarianism will get you.

you can hear jill talk about the work here: as well, you can hear her talk about the work today on MSNBC/ABC and a few other TV places. maybe. we'll see.

comments are being heavily moderated--if you are enraged by the voices in your head, your comment will be deleted. if you think jill is a terrible photographer who doesn't know how to focus a camera, your comment will be allowed to stand.


Jill will be on MSNBC live with Rita Cosby filling in for Joe Scarborough WEDNESDAY at 615ish Pacific time.

***********GREATEST UPDATE OF ALL TIME**************************

the bullying creep who started all this, Andrew Peterson, has on his "Thomas Hawk's DIgital Connection" blog an ad that is running. that ad: a old man's face morphing into the face of a....wait for it...

wait some more...

oh hell, it's the face of a crying child.

LOLOMG11110000111010))!11111 pwned

what a loser. a hypocrite. and a wanker. i'm laughing so hard i'm crying. thanks to the reader of his blog who sent me this, as that person wishes to remain anonymous. after all, you can imagine what crap that person would have to put up with.

apparently, his ads rotate, so this one is not up today. but what a thing. it's not really surprising, is it? i mean, if you really cared about the poor abused children, wouldn't you actually do something more than leave a pseudonymonious blog posting? how, exactly, were we supposed to believe he ever cared about anything other than his career?


  1. m. philips10:56 AM

    personally, knowing you, i'm just surprised that the authorities even let you be around children.


  2. The child abuse card is a dirty one to pull. That is just pure crap, but an effective way of getting our attention. Nice stunt.

    So I guess he does not want to see my kindergarden in leather snaps...

  3. cram spliph...

    who knew?

    i have a day pass.

  4. Jesica Davis11:26 PM

    Jill - you have all my love and support.

    As the mother of a three year old, I echo Elise's mom in the LA Times article "she's crying all the time, what's the big deal?" Plus, you captured the microcosm of a day at home with the kid and a macrocosm of life in these times. Of course, I'm a big believer in the power of the shadow while most people these days just want to run the other way.

    Still - time will tell. The brouhaha will pass, the pix will stay. Isn't that the point?

    Lots of love,
    Jesica Davis
    Rob's old pal from VC

  5. The brouhaha will pass, the photos will stand the test of time. As the mother of a three year old, I can attest to the truth of the moments you have captured and as a citizen of the world, I can say the same. Great work.

    And you know, as much as it hurts to admit this, Nietzsche was right. You'll be a much stronger super hero on the other side.

  6. Nancy in Detroit8:09 AM

    Those photos are just stunning.

  7. Lindsay Jamieson11:11 AM

    This is so silly. Jill gave the kids lollies, then took them away, then gave them back. And they cried. That's what kids do, they cry like it's the end of the world over a lolly. I have 2 small kids myself they cry like that over a piece of lego or a cookie or a spot on their shirt. There is something fabulous about their sense of tragedy and Jill captured it faboulously on film.

    As for the claim of child abuse: when I was a motion pic. camera assistant, I watched parents drag their kids and babies onto sets and pinch them to make them cry for the camera, or keep them up late to make them "emotional." Or dress them up as street thugs and coach them on how to spit out their curse filled dialogue -- are we supposed to ban the movies too?

    Jill, the photos are beautiful and the concept is inspired.

  8. sorry all about having to moderate the comments, trying to keep the loonies away.

  9. Dear Mr. Green:

    I would suggest that your wife can, in fact, focus a camera.
    I'm in awe of the technical prowess on display, actually. It looks like quite a complex lighting situation, although it would appear to be the same as the one used for the simian portraiture. What that says about the psychological or political aspects of the project... well, I'll leave that to better minds.

    From an artistic perspective, my first reaction was shock, natural, I'd expect, as I am a parent, but this wore off after a few seconds- specifically after digesting what the titles were saying. After that it just sort of seemed contrived. It seemed as though the whole point of the exercise is to graphically depict the concept that the current admin are a bunch of bratty crybabies. Is that the point? Is this really a one-note symphony? Honestly, I thought that the ape pics had more depth, as a group, but that could just be my bias toward humor.

    In the end, what's not in the photos is actual distress, like what is seen in photos of starving orphans. The resignation, the destitution, the real pain -aren't there.

    Just an opinion.

  10. Herr Doktor Bimler1:39 PM

    Flying Rodent has some supportive words on his blog. Since Mr Rodent is too lazy or too fastidious to blog-whore, I'll do it for him:


    I can't say that the photographs are quite my cup of [gratuitous vile analogy goes here], but they have certainly brought the loopies out from the woodwork. Don't let them grind you down.

  11. seeing that crying baby add on that idiot's page made me laugh for the first time since germany lost against that horde of brutes. thank you!