Crime, Celebrity, and the Media

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    • 00:01

      SPEAKER: And as you'll see from your programfor today, which you should have seen,what today will consist of is a mixof updates on the AS-level curriculum adviceand exam to techniques, and really,a taste of what university life has to offer.Now, today should feel different from your experience

    • 00:23

      SPEAKER [continued]: as a student so far, and what I hope it feels is itfeels new, exciting in so many ways.And I want to briefly mention a few ways in which it might.Now, the first thing probably to noticeis that you're sitting in a massive lecturetheater in numbers that perhaps you're just not used to.

    • 00:43

      SPEAKER [continued]: You'll be given a choice of lectureslater today from staff in the sociology department hereat Essex, and these are people whoare doing advanced and original research in their fields.And the talks we've chosen for youtoday reflect some of the latest current global,social, political concerns.

    • 01:06

      SPEAKER [continued]: They also reflect some of the latest developmentsin sociology itself.So that's one of the things that should feel a little different.The second, and related in these lectures,is you'll get to see what professional sociologistsactually do with their time.And here, as you'll see, the emphasis

    • 01:27

      SPEAKER [continued]: is very much on research, and the generationof new knowledge, new ideas is what makes university differentfrom A-level college.And we're always keen to emphasize the importanceof research to our students.So if you were to study sociology here at Essex,you'd by the end of your first year

    • 01:49

      SPEAKER [continued]: have produced a journal on a topic of your choosing,and leading through to the end of your third year,a whole course is devoted to exploring a dissertationtopic on an idea of your own choosing.So it's an opportunity to pursue things in more depth.So at university, you'll learn about new research,

    • 02:11

      SPEAKER [continued]: but you'll also have the capacity to do it yourself.You'll be given the opportunitiesto think independently, critically,and you'll be encouraged to ask difficult questionsand to explore issues in much more depththan perhaps you've been able to so far.Finally, a final point I just wantedto make in these opening remarks,is that this is a campus university.

    • 02:33

      SPEAKER [continued]: It's where most first-year students live, socialize,and work.So it's not just about studies, important as that is,but it's also about living independently.So university will give you an experiencethat you're never going to forget,and it's where you're going to form someof your deepest and most intense attachments, intellectually

    • 02:56

      SPEAKER [continued]: as well as socially.I finished my degree well over 20 years ago,and I'm still in touch with many of the friendsI met at university, and I think the same goesfor most people who do go.And I suspect if you do go, it'll be the same for you.So I also want to say a bit to thank the people who'veput the program together today because it's really

    • 03:17

      SPEAKER [continued]: quite exciting, and it takes a lot of effortsand a lot of time.And Joe Divine, Lindsay [INAUDIBLE],and Shelia [INAUDIBLE], so they'reespecially to be thanked.My final bit to say in opening and welcomingis just to say a little bit about sociology at Essex.And I can say without blushing that we'rethe top-rated sociology department in the country,

    • 03:39

      SPEAKER [continued]: and we have been since the 1980s,since when the government started objectively measuringthe quality of research.We've been consistently at the top,and no other department has done that.So in research terms, we're very much number one,but we're also very committed to our teaching.And we see very close relationships

    • 03:60

      SPEAKER [continued]: between teaching and research.And many of the textbooks that are taught aroundnot just this country, but United States, Canada,are produced by academics working here.And just a couple of names-- Ken Plummers's and John Macionis'sSociology-- A Global Introductionis written by Ken, who's here.Rob Stones's Key Sociological Thinkers-- a textbook

    • 04:23

      SPEAKER [continued]: I co-authored, which is called Criminology-- A SociologicalIntroduction is the textbook that's used to introducestudents to criminology.So a lot of textbooks go on here, as well as our research.So what I hope to do-- what I hope you find todayis stimulating, informative, and above all, that you enjoy it.

    • 04:44

      SPEAKER [continued]: And before-- I just want to finishmy bit, the welcoming bit, I justwant to say that there's a slight change to your program,which is the very last business is where, unfortunately,Professor Nigel South, who's the pro-vice chancellorin the university-- he can't make it today, but fortunately,we have Dr. Simon Carmel, who is our dean of social sciences.

    • 05:08

      SPEAKER [continued]: He'll be coming to close the conference.So slight change-- OK, so that's the welcome bit.Now I want to move into the lecture.And this really is a taster, I suppose,

    • 05:28

      SPEAKER [continued]: of what you might expect, should youstudy criminology or sociology at degree level at university.And as I've said, at Essex, we stronglybelieve in research-led teaching.And there are a number of ways of definingwhat research-led teaching means,

    • 05:50

      SPEAKER [continued]: but I'm going to do it the way I do it,and I'm going to talk briefly about a book I wrote.It's a few years ago now, and it's called Crime, Culture,and the Media, and it arises from a module, a course I wasteaching on crime in the media.And the book accompanies the course

    • 06:14

      SPEAKER [continued]: but also goes on outside of it.And essentially, what the book doesis explore some of the relationships between crimeand the media.And just to put these into context, from the earliestdays of the printing press when modern media began--and that was over five centuries ago in the 1500s--

    • 06:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: right up to the present day, therehave been really longstanding and consistent concernsabout the harmful effects of the media,about how damaging and worrying media use is, especiallyfor young people.It's often young people who are at the forefrontof these debates about what are the concerns about the latest

    • 06:56

      SPEAKER [continued]: technology and dire consequences it is having for people growingup.So there's a longstanding set of debates and anxieties,really, about what the media are doing to audiences.But-- and this is really important-- at the same timeas these concerns, the media are also fascinated with crime.

    • 07:18

      SPEAKER [continued]: They're obsessed with it.So on news, films, TV, there are countless stories about crime.Imagine the newspaper, picking up--and if there wasn't crime to talk about,what would they talk about?Probably celebrity, which is the thing I'm also foregrounding,I think, in my talk today.

    • 07:40

      SPEAKER [continued]: So why are crime stories popular?And this is one of my favorite quotes,and it's by a German theorist called Eric Fromm,and he wrote this many, many decades ago.But I'll read it out.He said, "Millions are fascinated dailyby reports about crime and by crime stories.

    • 08:02

      SPEAKER [continued]: They flock to films, whose two main themes arecrime and misfortune.This interest and this fascinationare not merely the expression of bad tasteand a craving for scandal, but correspondto a deep yearning for the dramatizationof the ultimate thing in life, namely life and death

    • 08:25

      SPEAKER [continued]: by crime and punishment, strugglebetween man and nature."Now, one of the reasons I like this quote is that he's gettingat this is immensely popular.Millions of people are fascinated by these stories.But rather than dismiss this as bad taste or peoplewho just like scandal, actually, there's something much more

    • 08:47

      SPEAKER [continued]: deeper going on, and that's really the launchpad from my book was-- rather than dismiss why peopleare fascinated by these stories, why not try and understand it?And so in the book, what I unravelare how there are a series of quite powerful dynamics

    • 09:11

      SPEAKER [continued]: between fear and desire, which are structuringdebates about crime.So that was the book, and that was published in 2008.And more recently, in the last five yearsor so, I've become, as have other criminologists, becomeinterested in what's called the visual turn in criminology.

    • 09:33

      SPEAKER [continued]: And what does that mean?Well, the visual turn is really about the power of images,the power of the visual.And what I've done is looked at-- whatare the ethical questions that are posedwhen we see visual representations of harm,

    • 09:53

      SPEAKER [continued]: suffering, or violence?And these things feature very prominentlyin our multimediated times.And so I want to unpack what some of these issues are.And it's worth noting-- and theseare the two things that I'm goingto be talking about today.

    • 10:13

      SPEAKER [continued]: My first one is about photography and surveillance,but the point I want to emphasize right from the startis that photography, the technology of using a camerato take pictures, was born in the 19th century.And from the start, it was accused,this media technology, bearing in mindI think there's a very long history of concerns

    • 10:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: about each new media technology and the harms it brings-- well,photography was no different, and the concernthat was raised almost from the beginningwas how pictures taken by a camera breach whatare our private selves, things that wedo in our intimate lives, with public worlds.

    • 10:55

      SPEAKER [continued]: And they were there from the start in the 1840s.And if we think about racing straight to today about, say,images on Facebook and people sharing quite intimate imagesof themselves in their domestic lives for a public to see,the technology itself is still breaching, traversing,

    • 11:17

      SPEAKER [continued]: transgressing lines between public and private worlds.So from the start, photography wasaccused of transforming what it means to look.And social theorists, political scientists,sociologists have given a whole seriesof categorizations of this.So you'll encounter this when you come to university,

    • 11:40

      SPEAKER [continued]: but terms like the society of spectacle,the politics of representation, the genderedgaze-- these are all sorts of conceptsthat social scientists have developed to try and understandwhat's going on with this turn to the visual.So that's one line in which the social sciences are trying

    • 12:03

      SPEAKER [continued]: to grapple with photography.But more specifically, my call of the social sciences,criminology-- photography was alsoreally important to what it is to bea modern criminal subject.And what I want to do today, then,is to explore how the dynamics of celebrity, criminality,

    • 12:28

      SPEAKER [continued]: desire, fame, trauma, voyeurism shape these social practicesin significant ways.So that's why there are two parts of the lecture.The first is on photography and surveillance,and the second-- and I think it'sa road less traveled is exploring

    • 12:50

      SPEAKER [continued]: some of these relationships between crime, fame,and voyeurism.And here, what I'm going to do is focus on the work of someoneyou probably won't have and then someone you probably will have.One is a tabloid photographer calledWeegee who was very famous in the 1940s and 1950s.Probably won't have heard of him,though with his style of work we'll be instantly familiar.

    • 13:12

      SPEAKER [continued]: And the second is the pop artist Andy Warhol.Some of you, I'm sure, will have heard of Andy Warhol.But there are some quite close relationships between them,which I'm going to unpack a little.So, to begin at the beginning, photography and surveillance.Now, photography was born in 1839, and from the beginning,

    • 13:35

      SPEAKER [continued]: it did two things.One is it seemed to offer an ability to authentically recordthe truth in a way that hadn't been available before.Second thing it did was open up a radically new wayof seeing the world.And so ever since then, the relationshipbetween photography and reality has prompted much debate.

    • 13:59

      SPEAKER [continued]: And this is partly because photographyhas its origins in what the cultural critic WalterBenjamin called the arts of the fairground, whichis a very nice phrase-- art of the fairground--because photography moved in the beginningin two very different directions.One was towards the astonishingly real,

    • 14:21

      SPEAKER [continued]: and the other was through image manipulationtowards the fantastic.So one is about capturing the reality of a situation,and we get the rise of what's calledthe documentary tradition.That's where documentary photographersgo out, take pictures of the worldaround them, and in some way document what's going on.

    • 14:44

      SPEAKER [continued]: So that's one trajectory.The other is bound up with theater, wonder, illusion,and image manipulation.And to show how these things develop,I just want to take one example that's pretty well-known,is war reporting.Photojournalism-- that's taking pictures of battlefields--

    • 15:09

      SPEAKER [continued]: really originates in the 1860s in the American Civil War.And if you can think about photographyas being a fairly new medium, what photography didand the photographers who went outtaking pictures of battlefields, what they brought hometo many audiences were people dying and dead bodieslying in battlefields.

    • 15:30

      SPEAKER [continued]: This had never been seen before.Up until that point, war had been,if it was represented at all, it was representedin official battle art.And this tended to glamorize combat,and did so in very kind of stylized ways.If you think about artistic representations of battles,

    • 15:55

      SPEAKER [continued]: they were very, very different from the kindsof pictures that were coming from the American Civil War,because photographers at that time, photographywas not like mobile photography it is today, of course.It was a very static phenomenon.So cameras were very heavy, had to be carried on tripods.And of course what they were capturing,they weren't capturing the actual moment of the battle.

    • 16:17

      SPEAKER [continued]: They were capturing its aftermath.And so they were capturing the dead bodieslittering huge vast fields-- the aftermath, really, of war.And so this was the first time that the reality-- rememberingI was saying about how photography claimsto offer a picture of the real-- that the reality wasbeing brought home.

    • 16:39

      SPEAKER [continued]: Now, these images from that war have laid the foundationsfor what we now know as photojournalism.That's where photographers go off to battle and takepictures of the war.And there've always been controversies about whatpictures we see of warfare.

    • 17:01

      SPEAKER [continued]: Think about the current debates about the wars in Afghanistanand Iraq.What are we seeing?It's very obvious that the images that we seeare heavily censored and manipulated.We're not seeing the kinds of picturesthat Matthew Brady and others weretaking in the American Civil War,because we're not allowed to see them.

    • 17:22

      SPEAKER [continued]: Photographers want to take them and probably are taking them,but we're not seeing them.So that's one trajectory.But these pictures in the American Civil War,they weren't the most popular.Actually, what were the most popular picturesin the American Civil War were portraits.Those who were about to go off to warwanted to have their picture taken with their families,

    • 17:45

      SPEAKER [continued]: so photographic studios were inundatedwith people coming in to have their pictures takenas a family portrait.And this interest and this fascination, really,with portraiture-- it's not just methat argues this, but other criminologists have argued--actually shapes how modern criminal subjects

    • 18:06

      SPEAKER [continued]: came to be photographed.And the image on your left is taken from the founding fatherof criminology, Cesare Lombroso, an Italian self-styled criminalanthropologist.He's regarded as the founding father of criminology.

    • 18:27

      SPEAKER [continued]: And what Lombroso did was he used photographs, photographsof what he called criminal types,to distinguish the criminal into certain ideal body types.And he used these images, these portraits, these picturesto make visible what had been quite an abstract concept

    • 18:50

      SPEAKER [continued]: of risk and dangerousness.And so the police and prisons from the 1850s, 1860s onwardswere very busy photographing the people before themin police stations and prisons.And so there was this whole plethoraof documentary records, pictures.

    • 19:11

      SPEAKER [continued]: But it wasn't until the 1880s, when this slide on your rightwas developed by a French bureaucrat called AlphonseBertillon, and he developed what hecalled an anthropometric technique to systematicallyrecord and identify offenders.So what Bertillon does is he transforms

    • 19:32

      SPEAKER [continued]: what had been a fairly uneven but widespread, inconsistentpractice of taking pictures of offenders,and he transforms this into a kind of filing card system.And this then enables a technologyto develop that developed quite rapidly,and it remains pivotal today in fingerprinting,

    • 19:55

      SPEAKER [continued]: biometric databases, DNA testing.All these have their origins in Bertillon's classificationsystem.At around the same time as Lombroso,Bertillon are developing their interest in criminal subjectsand what they look like, Francis Galton

    • 20:17

      SPEAKER [continued]: was pioneering photographic techniquesto distinguish racial types in an effort to promotehis science of eugenics.And eugenics was very much a forerunnerof Nazi experiments with ideas about racial superiorityand inferiority.So the criminal classes at this time-- and I'm now

    • 20:38

      SPEAKER [continued]: in the late 19th century if we'rethinking about the kind of time scalehere-- the criminal classes were now, by the late 19th century,being understood as a race apart,of lesser stock, and somehow morally inferior.And so what this story tells us is

    • 21:01

      SPEAKER [continued]: that the photograph as documentary evidenceis bound up with these techniques of control.So that's one strand of photography and surveillance.Another influential strand is what'scalled the documentary photography tradition.

    • 21:21

      SPEAKER [continued]: And this goes in a slightly different direction.And this is by social reformers whowant to travel into dark, dangerous places and photographthe horror in which people live.And this is a fairly well-known example from Jacob Riis--that's R-I-I-S. And Riis was a crime reporter,

    • 21:46

      SPEAKER [continued]: and he worked in New York in the 1880s.And he recorded the kind of povertythat new immigrants found themselves in.And this slide, it's one of his most well-known.It's called Bandit's Roost.And it was taken at 59 1/2 Mulberry Street,

    • 22:07

      SPEAKER [continued]: and the place was called Death's Thoroughfare.It was regarded as the most dangerous streetin New York at that time.So what Riis was doing was going into these dark, dangerousplaces, photographing what he saw, reporting, then,in the newspapers about these places.

    • 22:28

      SPEAKER [continued]: And so what I've done in my other research is describe howthis kind of documentary photographydevelops in the 19th century, goes throughto the golden age of the 1930s, and reaches a peak, really,in the interwar period.That's one story, but the other storythat-- and this is what I want to pick uptoday-- is how these images get transformed into a mass market

    • 22:53

      SPEAKER [continued]: of sensationalized images.And this is my second part.If you can remember when I put upthe slide about what I was going to be talking about,we're now moving into crime, fame, and voyeurism.And one of the most infamous photographers of the 1930sand '40s was Arthur Felling.That's F-E-L-L-I-G. And he's more well known by his

    • 23:16

      SPEAKER [continued]: nickname, Weegee.That's W, double-E, G, double-E. Andin this graphic black and white photography, what he doesis capture the gruesome detail of gangexecutions, car crashes, tenement fires.He's the very definition of the ambulance chaser.That's someone who goes after the horrific story,

    • 23:40

      SPEAKER [continued]: takes pictures of it.This is a burning fire that he's taking an image ofand he's then selling to newspaper editors the next day.Now, these pictures from New York in the '30s and '40sactually transformed journalistic practices.And his pseudonym, Weegee, comes from-- because he's

    • 24:00

      SPEAKER [continued]: very much a self-promoter as well,comes from the Ouija board.Now, according to his own autobiography, this comes from,he had this unerring ability, he claimed,to arrive at a crime scene before anyone else.And he claims that he could do thisbecause he was the only civilian to havea police radio in his car.So he would be listening all the time to police reports,

    • 24:23

      SPEAKER [continued]: hear about, say, a gangland execution,would get there first would be his claim, take the picture,sell it to the press.Now, one of the interesting things about his photographyis it's very much bound up with tabloid culture,with New York City tabloids.But also at the same time, it's transformed into high art.

    • 24:46

      SPEAKER [continued]: And that's very interesting, because at the same timeas he's publishing this kind of low-life stuff,arty types are really enjoying it.His bestselling book called Naked City,which was published in the mid-'40s, which contained thistabloid photography, was also put into a museum collection

    • 25:08

      SPEAKER [continued]: at the Museum of Modern Art.And one collection, I'm going to quote this,because it describes what he's like in quite breathless terms.I quote, "He found washed-up lounge singersand teenage murder suspects in paddy wagonsand photographed them at their most vulnerable,or as he put it, at their most human.He was the supreme chronicler of the city at night.

    • 25:30

      SPEAKER [continued]: Today, Weegee is credited as usheringin the age of tabloid culture, whileat the same time being revered for elevatingthe sordid side of human life to that of high art."So that's one kind of breathless praise for him.A somewhat different view is that the picturesare really quite troubling and morally dubious,

    • 25:52

      SPEAKER [continued]: because he's making money out of imagesof other people's tragedies.And so what I've done is describe how his work reallyprovides a bridge into all sorts of new territories.And the one that I'm developing at the momentis his very close, I think, relationship with Andy Warhol.

    • 26:16

      SPEAKER [continued]: But very few other people have picked upon this close relationship.That's Weegee, and that's Warhol.And this is very odd, not least isthis image of Weegee staring up adorationat Warhol is fairly well known.And there's only one other personwho's made the connection, and that's an art historiancalled David Hopkins.But it's interesting, because much

    • 26:38

      SPEAKER [continued]: of Weegee's work in Naked City isabout pictures of mass culture.So in his book, Naked City, we getpictures of young girls swooning over Frank Sinatra, the popicon, crowds at Coney Island.These sorts of images are then juxtaposedwith much more harrowing pictures

    • 26:59

      SPEAKER [continued]: under headings called Fires, Murders, SuddenDeath, and The Best People Go to Heaven.And so there's an important sensein which Weegee anticipates Warhol's much later claimthat everyone's going to be famous for 15 minutes.So if you're familiar with that phrase,

    • 27:20

      SPEAKER [continued]: it's one associated with Warhol.Now, what Warhol does in the 1960sis become a very famous pop artist.And one of the things he does, which is nowoverlooked, but he produced a series,a whole series of pictures-- prints--called Death and Disaster.

    • 27:40

      SPEAKER [continued]: And what he did here was he producedimages of tragic public figures-- peoplelike Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor--in tandem with images of unknowns,people who became ironically famous through tragedy,through tragic.And one example of this, or one of his Death and Disaster

    • 28:04

      SPEAKER [continued]: series is called Electric Chair.And a whole number of these were created between 1963 and 1964,and they only varied according to color.So this one's green.Others are orange, pink, purples,but they're each the same newspaperpicture of an electric chair.

    • 28:27

      SPEAKER [continued]: And this is from Sing Sing jail in New York.And he produced this image at around the last timeof the last execution in New York of Caryl Chessman.And there was much commentary at the timeabout the use of the electric chair in state execution.

    • 28:50

      SPEAKER [continued]: And so what Warhol, I think, is doing hereis saying he's much more than simplythe painter of soup cans or Brillo boxes.But he's also speaking to the banality of much modern life.So things like cars, jets, skyscrapers all featurein this Death and Disaster series.So death is featuring quite prominently in the series.

    • 29:12

      SPEAKER [continued]: And then shortly after this, he goes onto produce his Thirteen Most Wanted Men, a series of screenprints.Now, these he produced for a giant muralin New York State Pavilion.And these were clearly intended as a subversivetake on the American Dream.And what he does here-- I don't knowif you can see it-- is he takes police mug shots of criminals,

    • 29:35

      SPEAKER [continued]: of the 13 most wanted men, and puts themon the side of the New York State Pavilion--deliberately provocative, intendingto highlight New York's place as a center of crimeand immediately cause a political scandal.New York's governor at the time, Nelson Rockefeller,

    • 29:55

      SPEAKER [continued]: demanded that they be removed.Warhol, in response, white washes over them.And a little later, he has them made upinto huge photo silk screens.But unlike any of the other portraits Warhol produced,he leaves them unaltered except for vastly blowing up

    • 30:17

      SPEAKER [continued]: their size.So what's happening, one of the things that Warhol is doing,I think, is drawing attention to the idea of the modern icon,in terms of the criminal and the crucifix, the state execution.

    • 30:40

      SPEAKER [continued]: And others have picked up on this.But here I think there's a lot of similarities,too, with Weegee in what Warhol is tryingto do is he's parodying these kinds of art formswhilst also putting a bit of distance from them.He's playing with the idea of celebrity and desire

    • 31:01

      SPEAKER [continued]: in the identification photograph.And this works through, more recently,in the British context in a quite famous painting by MarcusHarvey of Myra Hindley.Many of you will be familiar with Myra Hindley.

    • 31:22

      SPEAKER [continued]: And this was shown at the Sensations exhibition in 1997.Now, at first sight, what this looks like-- and it is huge.It's bigger than this in real life.Now, at first sight what it lookslike is a very magnified version of a black and whitephotograph, the famous black and white photograph

    • 31:42

      SPEAKER [continued]: taken when she was at the police cell.But in fact, what it's actually made out ofis a child's hand cast.And it's a child's hand cast is usedto build up a mosaic of black, gray, and white handprints.And that creates, then, this iconic police photograph.

    • 32:05

      SPEAKER [continued]: Now, of course it was immediately controversial.It provoked angry press outrage and public anger.Harvey, the artist, defends it.And this is a quote from him.He says, "The whole point of the paintingis the photograph, that photograph,

    • 32:27

      SPEAKER [continued]: the iconic power that has come to it as a result of yearsof obsessive media reproduction."So he's making the point about how the criminal identificationphotograph is constantly reproduced in the mediaand says something about our obsessions

    • 32:49

      SPEAKER [continued]: with these publicly notorious characters.More recently, the artist Neil Hepburnhas amalgamated images of Kate Moss and Pete Dohertywith the well-known images of Myra Hindley and Ian Bradyto make a kind of similar point about-- I don't know

    • 33:11

      SPEAKER [continued]: if-- it was a few years ago now, but thiswas produced in the aftermath of lots of tabloid scandalsabout the kind of shambolic relationshipthat Kate Moss and Pete Doherty were then engaged in,the tabloid fodder.And so what the artist here is doingis making a point about the really quite close relationship

    • 33:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: between crime, celebrity, scandal in tabloid culture.Now, the cultural criminologist Phil Carneyhas argued that it's only a small step--and this is a quote from him.It's a nice quote. "It's only a small step from these practicesto all kinds of late modern entertainments,

    • 33:55

      SPEAKER [continued]: including reality television, gameshows featuring shame and suffering,through to the happy slapping mobile photography distributedon the internet, where a warped version of Warhol's predictioncomes true, and everyone may have at last their 15 minutesin a cruel festival."OK, so that's the cultural criminologist Phil Carney

    • 34:19

      SPEAKER [continued]: making a point about how all kinds of our contemporary formsof popular entertainment involve shame, humiliation suffering,whether this be on reality TV, happy slappingmobile photography.Everyone's famous, apparently, for 15 minutes.

    • 34:43

      SPEAKER [continued]: Now, I want to come to a close in thinking, well,how can we-- these are, I think, important issues,but they were really brought home to me just this weekend.I heard the story breaking about a trial thathad just happened in Ohio, and it wasin a town called Steubenville.I don't know if you've heard this,

    • 35:04

      SPEAKER [continued]: heard this over the weekend.It's spelled S-T-E-U-B-E-N-V-I-L-L-E.Steubenville.It's a small town in Ohio.And the story here is two American high schoolfootballers are arrested on suspicion of rape last August.

    • 35:26

      SPEAKER [continued]: The international news media barely noticed.But locally, however, what was happeningon the evening of 11th of August last yearand into the early morning was all anyone in the towncould talk about.Here, the documentation of a really horrific crime-- seriesof crimes-- by its perpetrators and their friends

    • 35:48

      SPEAKER [continued]: was posted on the internet for anyone and all to see.So in the subsequent trial, it was these internet posts,photographs, tweets, texts, thesemade up the bulk of the evidence.So understandably, what happened in the news coveragewas that social media, the force of social media,

    • 36:13

      SPEAKER [continued]: drives the trial.And the texts tweets are not separate from this sex crime,but are bound up with it.In fact, they become an extension of it.They become part of the crime itself.Now, the rape victim allegedly was too drunk the nightof the assault to remember clearly what had happened.

    • 36:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: But thousands and thousands of tweets, texts, photos, videostold the story and gave the prosecution the evidenceit needed for a conviction.But what shocked me, or what struck meabout listening to this over the weekend,was that no one actually intervenedto help a 16-year-old girl as she was dragged from one

    • 36:58

      SPEAKER [continued]: drunken party to the next, horrifically assaulted,whilst bystanders took pictures, tweeted, commentedon Facebook about the cruelty that was happening before them.OK, so that was one of the shocking things I learned.The other, for those of you who know your American football,

    • 37:21

      SPEAKER [continued]: and especially as it's practiced at high school,is these are very much local celebrities.They're highly regarded in the States,can go on to have glittering careers.And again, this also really struck meabout the international coverage from ABC,CNN-- you know, established news outlets-- were saying

    • 37:43

      SPEAKER [continued]: what a terrible shame it was for these two young mento have their wonderful careers thatwould have been ahead of them, shame it's all gone now.No one was commenting on the absolute horrorthat the young woman had gone through.So again, thinking about these dynamics between crime,

    • 38:04

      SPEAKER [continued]: celebrity, trauma, and so on, I think the case reveals a lotand says a lot to us about contemporary culture.So, to close and to conclude what I've got to talk about,where do we go from and how to make sense of this,broadly, the sociologist Jurgen Habermas

    • 38:26

      SPEAKER [continued]: wrote about what he called the public sphere.I don't know if you've encountered the public sphereyet in your studies.But the public sphere, according to Habermas,arises in the 18th century and isbound up with the rise of the mass mediaand allowing us to have informed, rational debate

    • 38:48

      SPEAKER [continued]: about public events.That public sphere does not exist.Instead, what we have, I want to argue and others argue,is we have a pathological public sphere.And this is one-- and I've taken this phrasefrom Hal Foster in a discussion of Warhol.And he describes a world which is--

    • 39:10

      SPEAKER [continued]: and I'll quote-- "It's overrun by voyeurs and exhibitionists."And it's a mass subject where we're involved as witnesses.We're constantly witness-- and then thinkingabout the Steubenville case, loads of peoplewere witnesses but didn't intervene.This is a quote. "This witnessing

    • 39:31

      SPEAKER [continued]: is neither neutral or impassive.It is an erotic that is both voyeuristic and exhibitionist,both sadistic and masochistic."And so this idea of the pathological public sphereof where we get this fusion of iconic celebrityand abstract anonymity is captured very well,

    • 39:53

      SPEAKER [continued]: I think, in some of Warhol and Weegee's work.Now, there are-- if I was going to go on,but I'm going to close-- if we think about where I started,thinking about dynamics of fear, because these things do provokeanxieties and unease, but also desire,it is these dynamics that underpin these representations.

    • 40:15

      SPEAKER [continued]: And we've still got, I think, a lot more workto do to try and understand them sociologically.But I should finish there and hand overto Laura, who's going to talk about families and households.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

Crime, Celebrity, and the Media

View Segments Segment :


Crime, celebrity, and the media are discussed and them implications of crime in the media. The media has a fascination with crime, and crime stories are popular with the audience. Media technology, Weegee and the start of the tabloids, and the similarities between Weegee and Warhol are discussed.

Crime, Celebrity, and the Media

Crime, celebrity, and the media are discussed and them implications of crime in the media. The media has a fascination with crime, and crime stories are popular with the audience. Media technology, Weegee and the start of the tabloids, and the similarities between Weegee and Warhol are discussed.

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