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Regarding the Pain of Others
Regarding the Pain of Others | Susan Sontag
A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effectsWatching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock? In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.As John Berger wrote when On Photography was first published, "All future discussions or analysis of the role of photography in the affluent mass-media societies is now bound to begin with her book." Sontag's new book, a startling reappraisal of the intersection of "information", "news," "art," and politics in the contemporary depiction of war and disaster, will be equally essential. It will forever alter our thinking about the uses and meanings of images in our world.
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catiewithac
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Pickpick

I read this because it was referenced in another book I just finished about immigrants crossing the Mexican border. Sontag‘s argument is more specifically about regarding the pain of others in photographs and television. It reminds me of a book I would have been assigned to read in college. (I probably would have but I graduated the year before it was published.) Definitely a thought-provoking read for our media-obsessed culture.

JSW This sounds completely fascinating. I wonder if you think it might be trigger-y at all? Is it hard to read or does she take a more distanced approach? 7mo
catiewithac @JSW It‘s both an intellectual and intimate polemic. She gives graphic descriptions of war violence and images. I‘m somewhat inured to such things since I‘m huge into Medieval English and Nazi histories. I found this easy to read. 7mo
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PagesOfKate
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If every violent image leaves a #scar on our conscience, will we eventually become numb to the suffering around us?
Susan Sontag examines the use of imagery in Western society in this short, impactful book.
#MarchintoOz @Cinfhen @Lizpixie

Cinfhen So true😢😢 2y
BiblioLitten Her writing has come up again with regards to the images of Syria. 'Compassion fatigue' 2y
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ElisabethRose
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That peace is the norm, if an unattainable one. This, of course, is not the way war has been regarded through out history. War has been made the norm and peace the exception.

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ElisabethRose
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Mehso-so

Susan Sontag is one of the most influential academic writers of the 20th century. Here she paints a view of photography's ability to effect people's emotions about graphic depictions of war.

I found the book enlightening in terms of how we become numb to the suffering of others because of war-time images. We lose our ability to be shocked by graphic images and find ourselves less able to emphasize with the victims of tragedies.

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Bertha_Mason
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I finally won a Graywolf Press giveaway! I'm so excited to see what book I get.

batsy Oooh, I'm excited for you! 😄 2y
Bertha_Mason Thank you! ☺ 2y
6 likes2 comments
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Bertha_Mason
Bailedbailed

Her analysis of souvenir photographing of lynchings is really racist and disingenuous, proceeding from an assumption that that level of racist violence belongs only to "the distant past," and centered on a very defensive line of questioning about "blame," because everything has to be about our personal feelings of innocence as white Americans. So much for "intellectual rigor."

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Bertha_Mason

"But the photographic image, even to the extent that it is a trace (not a construction made out of disparate photographic traces), cannot be simply a transparency of something that happened. It is always the image that someone chose; to photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude."

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mrozzz
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Send help I've found another brilliant bookstore!!
Foyles 😍😍😍

MadCatRamble I ❤️ Foyles! 2y
mrozzz @MalinMJames now I do too!! 2y
JacqMac Help to carry things, right? 😁 2y
See All 6 Comments
Melissa_J Yay! That's one of my favourites 😍 2y
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mrozzz @Melissa_J it is... gorgeous. 2y
72 likes1 stack add6 comments
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patricknathan
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I think I've read more Sontag in 2015/2016 than any other individual author. It rarely matters what she decides to write about: she sees it differently.

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specificity
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p: "regarding the pain of yours..."

MrBook 😻😻😻 3y
specificity She's interrupting me all the time.....lol 3y
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specificity
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Have a day off tomorrow due to a typhoon. Gonna finish this one!

MrBook Oh my. Stay safe! 3y
specificity @MrBook You mean the weather or the book lol thanks! 3y
MrBook 😂😂😂👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻! Both! 3y
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giagiagia234
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On uncensored photos with broken bodies: "These sights carry a double message. They show a suffering that is outrageous, unjust, and should be repaired. They confirm that this is the sort of thing which happens in that place. The ubiquity of those photographs, and those horrors, cannot help but nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted or backward- that is, poor - parts of the world.

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giagiagia234
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These Cambodian women and men of all ages, including many children, photographed from a few feet away, usually in half figure, are - as in Titian's The Flaying of Marsyas, where Apollo's knife is eternally about to descend - forever looking at death, forever about to be murdered, forever wronged.