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Monday, May 08, 2006

Politics and Passion

Get Thinking, America

An Oscar-winning star is taking on the mainstream media.

Richard Dreyfuss says an obsession with delivering instantaneous news and images provides too little context for audiences to reflect and understand what is happening in the world. "There is no room to pause, no room to think," Dreyfuss, who starred in films ranging from "Jaws" to "Mr Holland's Opus" told Reuters in a recent telephone interview. "We don't build into our system of thoughts the need to explain, the media doesn't build that into its transmission of knowledge and information."

That creates what Dreyfuss calls "shaped news" - a version of events according to how the mainstream media want audiences to see what happened, and a violation of journalism's core value of objectivity.

Dreyfuss said media coverage of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York was a pertinent example of how a non-stop supply of images and spot news shaped people's views.

"The falling Twin Towers - pictures that produced anger, a lot of anger that were sent instantly around the world, they created a need to react."

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"Do the mainstream media ever tell their readers 'Don't believe everything we tell you?' No, they don't."

"People in Kansas could see the Twin Towers fall at exactly the same instant as in Nigeria and Cairo. Such an instantaneous knowledge of a situation leads to an instantaneous reaction which creates demand for an instantaneous, reflexive response.

"The question is how do you get people to find out more, how do you get people to read not just what they are told to read.

"Information from more than one source is good. I'm totally in favour of it, even if people send propaganda. In the aggregate you can find more truth than in one opinion."

The power of language is also an important factor in shaping the news.

"The 'war on terror' - objection to using this term is dead. It's become part of our vocabulary, but what does it really mean? You should know more specifically what you are fighting.

"You have to encourage prose, analysis and detail - otherwise people will go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan without really knowing why."

Dreyfuss, who won an Oscar for his performance in "The Goodbye Girl", has pursued his passion for political and social activism since his college days.

He is studying civics and democracy as a senior associate member at St Antony's College at the University of Oxford.

"Civics is no longer taught in the U.S, a sign of a neurosis that is inexplicable," he said. "Not to teach civics is suicide.

"Reason, logic, civility, dissent and debate - five ancient words that should be taught again and better, at elementary level, so that people know the difference between news and shaped news," Dreyfuss said.

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Is Sex at Work Illegal?
BBC Magazine

Jon PrescottThings just keep getting worse for UK deputy prime minister John Prescott.

Police are now investigating a complaint that John Prescott broke the law by having with his secretary in his Whitehall office.

So, what are the rules about sex at work?

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Sex at work could well be viewed as gross misconduct and a reason to dismiss a person immediately.

A fifth of UK companies have a formal or informal policy on what is expected of employees and their managers should love blossom and a further 20% are considering setting one up, according to law firm Fox Williams.

Tracey Temple, Prescott's former assistant private secretary and diary manager, alleged that she had had sex with Mr Prescott in his ministerial office while he was supposed to be working.

He has admitted the affair but said many of her recollections were untrue.

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New Rules in Kissing
By Sari Locker

KissYour lips touch for the first time: The earth moves. The angels sing, or, at least, that's what you hope will happen, right? The reality is, anticipating that first kiss can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments in your dating life. Remembering some simple steps can make all the difference bewteen a sizzling kiss and a slurping suck.

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Kissing is all about timing. Time it right. No one wants to make the move too soon and get the dreaded cheek turn, and yet, wait too long and it sends the vibe you're not interested or that you lack confidence. Take the lead, but leave them wanting more.

Your first kiss should be passionate, but that doesn't mean rough or messy. Give the recipient some air, that way they'll be raring to go for a second attempt.

Always remember while a standard first kiss might not be great, if there's enough of a connection there - even the worst of first kisses can be forgiven.

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Headonism Head-On

What does Jamaica and Russia have in common? Sexual liberty, that's what.

There are places where only naked people live: several hotels, shops, restaurants, and parks are filled with absolutely naked people, who drink beer, laugh, dance, with nothing on.

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Located in Jamaica, the town of Negril boasts hotels, with such appropriate titles as Hedonism II, that promote not only public nudity, but also the liberty of sex. The motto is: make love wherever you want and with whoever you want.

Restaurants and bars in Hotel Hedonism employ bartenders who pleasure women with a cocktail or two. Sometimes even the drink variety can be obtained, which they prepare in the normal way, but shake quite uniquely with their reproductive organ. The cocktail is called The Bartender's Dick, which is vodka, orange juice and...well, guess the rest.

Russian whore-houses for womenMeanwhile speciality brothels for women in Moscow are becoming popular. Wealthy Russian ladies who are bored with men's strip clubs can now go to exclusive club-hotels where they entertain themselves and let off steam with male prostitutes.

These brothels are set up like hotels and night clubs. One club that recently opened in the center of Moscow has a bar stand, a stage and several booths for private intimate entertainment.

The woman who owns the club hires new personnel only after careful examintion. Needless to say that the examination process requires the man to drop his pants and show the lady the tools of his trade. Those that get the job, begin as a waiter in the clubs.

A waiter wears only white briefs and running shoes. The man needs to look after every table in the club, picking up empty glasses and dishes and working behind the behind the bar. If a client decides to go wild and rip the underwear off a waiter, he is not supposed to show any resistance. Moreover, if a female client wants to use the waiter right on the table, the waiter is supposed to obey and satisfy the woman.

"We do not put condoms on if a woman wants to perform oral sex on a male waiter or stripper," one of the dancers of the Moscow club Pole Position said. "All other acts are performed with condoms on, of course," he added.

Pictures courtesy of BBC News online and MSN News.

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