1.04.2009

A brief thought: slow motion reveals....slow motion

It is odd, I think, that we believe a slow motion replay of an event to reveal the reality of the event. It seems to me that slow motion reveals....what things look like in slow motion. How could it be otherwise? Indeed, how could severely distorting the perception of something reveal its truth? Hmn.

5 comments:

jayfisher said...

Oh my God, I'm riddling your blog with comments. (And embarrassing typos in my last one.)

But to my point: Isn't all perception, "severely distorted," which is to say perception? Why is slow motion more "distorted" than regular motion?

That said, I like the idea: Yes in slow motion, his foot was in bounds. But in regular motion it was out.

Daniel Coffeen said...

Well, no one else leaves comments—I'm not sure anyone besides me, and, well, now you, reads it.

Good point on perceptive distortion. You're right but I think my point still stands: Why is slow motion privileged? I wish they'd speed it up in replay! Or colorize it. Think of all the weird shit they could do to it.

V said...

Three umpires are discussing their approach to their job. "I call them as I see them," says the first umpire, he believes uncontentiously. "I call them as they are," retorts the second. "They are nothing until I call them," says the third with calm finality.

That joke was the undoing of my ambitions to be a law professor, realizing as I did that the competing claims of legal philosophy would never again be so neatly summarized and that all else would be mere commentary.

The use of slo-mo is an attempt to define law as the second umpire would, to endow the least fixable of things -- an event continually transpiring -- with the level of fixity that the economic stakes demand. For a long time, umps and ref resisted recourse to slo-mo, claiming to be umpires of the first order, and thus adequate arbiters of the truth, while in fact afraid that they would be revealed as the third (minus the calm acceptance).

Daniel Coffeen said...

Absolutely. What this reveals, of course, is that ontology is based on stillness—things as they are have to approach non-movement, that is, slow-mo in order to be.

But to me, what's so great about sports and the possibility of its very particular legal adjudication that it introduces is that the second umpire's claim—I call them as they are—becomes conflated with the first's—I call them as I see them. That is, the very act of seeing and the being of the world—or, rather, the becoming of the world—would be the same.

Now that's some funky legal logistics.

V said...

There is no reason of course that law should be exempt from the larger tendency towards such a conflation and in fact may be peculiarly susceptible to it. It's just that the consequences of the law doing so are administratively a bit more severe for the rest of us than those imposed by most other pursuits.

And of course any ontology based on stillness must eventually hold death -- that ultimate stillness -- as its apotheosis (still life as nature morte). And then where would the ratings go?