Thursday, October 23, 2003

More unintentional comedy
I noted today that the main difference in appearance between the layout of the real Riverbend blog and the fake riverSbend blog is the photo of a (presumably Iraqi) woman in the top right hand corner in the fake riverSbend site (Fake RiverSbend's stolen photo). Obviously this is not really our blogger - but is it supposed to be? Well right above her head is copied the real Riverbend's lead in "Girl Blog from Iraq". This is certainly not the photograph of what I would consider a "girl".

But hey, who am I to say? It's possible a rather sullen looking Iraqi woman in her forties would call herself a girl. Of course elsewhere in the fake blog the blogger describes herself as a "woman" but I'm not going to make a big deal of whether that amounts to an inconsistency when there are so many other more glaring ones.

What I did want to point out though is that a very cursory look at the html code for this page shows that the image is from here. This is a cut off version of the following. Suddenly the Iraqi woman's sullen looking expression is given context. She's holding a coffin with the picture of child on it.

A further look at the site shows the explanation behind the picture:
"During the Save the Children of Iraq demonstration held on 8/15/200 in front of the Staples Center, Artists placed hundreds of small cardboard coffins around the demonstration area. Each coffin represented an Iraqi child who has died due to the U.S. imposed sanctions against that country. Each small coffin had a name in Arabic drawn on it along with a photo of an Iraqi child"

Now this is all a bit more confusing. This picture was taken in the US, at a demonstration against US foreign policy in Iraq. We don't even know for sure if this woman is an Iraqi. We can though be pretty sure that she isn't now in Iraq writing a blog about applauding the US occupation, I think. And we can even state with a fair degree of certainty that she wouldn't want her picture being used to *promote* - through false propaganda - US foreign policy. We can also I would suggest be fairly sure that the artist wouldn't want his art being used in this way either.

But we needn't speculate on that last point. There is a contact address on this webpage as well. I intend to use it, to ask the artist Mark Vallen how happy he is at having his copyright infringed and his picture used in a manner which is absolutely contrary to its artistic intent. The address is If I get a response I'll let you know.