Dr. Dawg


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Brazil clearance squad.jpg

As I write this, a violent eviction of 9,000 people is taking place in Brazil by a reported 2,000 military police. People are being shot down as they defend their homes. The federal Brazil government and a federal judge have ordered that the eviction be stopped. The local military commander is, as reported on Twitter a few minutes ago, refusing to obey.

The land upon which the town was built belongs to a millionaire speculator. It had stood unused for thirty years. Negotiations have been taking place between the state, the province, and local authorities to legitimize the town, with its neat brick buildings and public squares.

Then a judge ordered the eviction. Follow the money.

I can’t read more than a word or two of Portuguese, but for those who can, or can make sense of Babelfish translations, here’s some blog coverage. Tweeter Sofia Smith has been covering this since dawn: aside from a handful of Brazilian Tweeters, she’s pretty much alone.

Via Smith, we now learn that the local cops have arrested a Brazilian Senator and a member of parliament.

The silence of the corporate media is unsurprising. Who cares about a bunch of poor people being chased out of their own town when the latest gossip about Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber is being readied for publication? And how the hell do you even pronounce the name of the place?

But there is more to it.

The media are our eyes and ears when events take place over the horizon. We come to believe that these amplified senses are reliable. But the truth is that they are defective and partial. We can only see and hear what they deem important, and even there filters of various kinds are imposed.

The social media, particularly Twitter, are revealing the nature of media in general. They are obviously not infallible: as media themselves, they are only peepholes, giving us fragments and glimpses of events. But they are immediate, unprocessed, unfiltered: the invite us to create or recreate the narratives for ourselves. There is little that is predigested or framed in a series of Tweets.

Admittedly, that offers its own set of illusions. But on-the-scene reportage from dozens of independent sources are the reason why, these days, I look for breaking stories on Twitter—and follow them there.

[H/t for pic; and to Sofia Smith]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on January 22, 2012 10:44 AM.

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