Brett Hetherington

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This is the website of Brett Hetherington:
a writer and teacher  living in Catalonia, northern Spain.

He is the author of “The Remade Parent,” a non-fiction book available by clicking on the image on the right.

Brett is represented by the Antonia Kerrigan Literary Agency in Barcelona.

 


Blog

Video: talking and listening on "Our Finest Hour" once more

[http://www.elpuntavui.tv/video.html?view=video&video_id=124540938]

This Thursday I was again a guest on Matthew Tree's English language panel discussion programme, "Our Finest Hour," on El Punt Avui TV.


Also involved were Gary Gibson, maker of the documentary
“Spain’s Secret Conflict” and speechwriter Madeline Carey.

 

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Spain once planned to invade Australia with an armada

[Spanish naval officer Alessandro Malaspina]

"Documents discovered in the archives of the Spanish navy reveal that Spain planned to invade the nascent British colony in Australia in the mid-1790s.

Chris Maxworthy, vice president of the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH), found the documents detailing a plan of attack approved by King Carlos IV to fire “hot shot” cannons, cannons that fired heated balls that could set wooden ships and buildings on fire as well as blow large holes in them, on Port Jackson, modern-day Sydney Harbour. "


Read more from the source (The History Blog) here.

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"Easy on the eye" - My latest opinion column for Catalonia Today magazine

 

Watching my son doing his geography homework the other day I was struck by how much time he was spending on selecting online images to accompany his (minimal) written work.

This activity is now a big part of modern education which I also know because as a (thankfully former) secondary school teacher of History and English I was continually struggling with students to focus on the text they were developing or learning from and to consider the pictorial aspect as secondary, or supportive.

Students as old as twelve would regularly include a photo of say, Adolf Hitler, with the caption, “Here is a photo of Adolf Hitler,” with no other information about him, as if naming him was all that needed to be said and the real task was to cut and paste an image of him. Some older students would often just plagiarise whatever Wikipedia told them was the truth.

But why should I be surprised about all this? If you are reading this article on a train or metro have a look around right now, or next time. There will probably be more people scrolling through photos on their phones than reading something (apart from chatting by text, perhaps.)

The popularity of social media has given rise to even more use of moving or still pictures as communication. Instagram and YouTube, to name just two, have meant that sharing visuals is easy, fun and almost cost-free. Amateur photography has never been so straight-forward, thanks to camera-phones and digital technology.

Children are obviously some of the major users of their own photos as well as those of their friends. One survey of more than 2,700 young British people aged 13 to 25 found that almost one in six children sends naked photos. Equally, this so-called “sexting” phenomenon in the USA lead investigators from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to find that of the more than 130 million images containing child pornography examined since 2002, one in four were initially posted by minors themselves.

It’s natural for young people to have an interest in their bodies and other’s bodies as well. I see no big problem there but an apparent increase in obsession with body image can at least partly be explained by the strong influence of ‘supermodels’ (recently including male ones) and the visual appeal of “skin is in” singers and groups, especially from hip-hop, rap and R&B.

The power of the metrosexual male idol such as David Beckham or Ronaldo has yet to be explored in the mainstream media but this increased emphasis that male-grooming puts on the connection between the visual and the physical is abundantly clear.

Our society simply values those with “eye candy” appeal more than anything else and that is because a glance takes a split second but conveys so much. It’s for this basic reason that film stars have long been paid absurd amounts of money compared to others in the creative industries including virtually all painters, writers and non-commercial musicians.

Looking is easy. Listening is often hit and miss.Reading needs more concentration or patience.

[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, April 2015.]

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Video: Naomi Klein launches her new book in Barcelona

Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein this week launched presented her new book, "This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs. The Climate" at the Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona (CCCB).

In this video (with Catalan subtitles) Klein links the idea of political independence with more a independent energy policy.

She was my first journalistic interview in 2000 at the time her excellent first book "No Logo" came out and (even over the telephone) was one of the nicest people I've ever talked to.

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Video: "Seeking ‘Brave Journalists’ in Spain to investigate the TTIP Trade Agreement"

 "The main concerns for groups that oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)  between Europe and North America are the lack of transparency and the way in which the agreement will affect the communities involved.   

In Madrid, Spain, the Asamblea Popular de Tres Cantos (Tres Cantos Popular Assembly), a community activist group that is well known for its participation in protests against the economic crisis, is “seeking brave journalists” as part of an appeal to the media to investigate the treaty.   

In the video published on the organization's blog and various social networks, members of the assembly appear with photographs of employees from Spain's large media organizations, which have largely ignored the treaty in their coverage, and offer them a challenge."

 

More from Global Voices Online source article here.

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