Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: What do you see? (A game.)

Author:Tom von Alten
Posted:7/16/2000; 9:56:14 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 7/14/2000
Msg #:18710 (In response to 18647)
Prev/Next:18709 / 18711

I was struck by the body language in this and the other pictures from the rollout the first time I saw them. I thought about how the notion that "the camera doesn't lie" is complete bunk. Given a videotape of an event, I could excerpt a still that supported almost any given message I wanted to convey.

What do I see? I know Bill is the alpha male in this group, but he looks so squirrelly and weird, I'm wondering how that can be. Ballmer looks like top dog.

I hadn't seen Beluzzo (not Paluzzo :-) clean-shaven before, so that was interesting. He looks "whipped." The other two guys looked cowed, or bored, or busy thinking about what they'll say when it's their turn...

Responsible journalism can offer us more than a shot at misinterpreting a hundredth of a second of body language. Part of "responsible" is making one's biases known. I think you do a good job of that, Dave. Maybe the ZDNet guy does, too, but from the one piece of his I've read, he seems to think he's got a special line on objective truth as a "professional." That's more dangerous than a writer with a measureable slant.

The power of captioning is substantial, as well: the picture may give an immediate impression, but a caption can almost bend it to the writer's slant.

The attendees, and especially the photographer, have a much larger context to interpret the still. Even with subjective biases, they can provide a more honest caption, I'd think, than what strikes me as a remote viewer.

Am I in my head here, out of the game? Maybe so.

But think of it in terms of Finite and Infinite Games. The infinite game is finding authenticity, and expressing it in what you do and who you are, such that stills are not subject to misinterpretation. By that measure, the five 9-, 10- and 11-figure white guys suggests they've got a ways to go.

Think pictures of the Dalai Lama. Think this picture: Smile: "Father croons best: An Aka father has just managed to calm his agitated son by singing to him." B. Hewlett, 2000.  Excerpted from Science News, Vol. 158, No. 1, pg. 8, under Fair Use  provision, for purposes of discussion.

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