|THE REAL FRIENDS OF TERROR
TRANSCRIPT OF A TELEVISION PROGRAMME
by Ted Honderich
The introduction and transcript previously here have been superceded by something better.
So do go instead to:
TED HONDERICH AND DAVID AARONOVITCH:
A LOOK BY TED HONDERICH AT THEIR DON'T GET ME STARTED TELEVISION PROGRAMMES 'THE REAL FRIENDS OF TERROR' AND 'NO EXCUSES FOR TERROR', WITH TRANSCRIPTS OF THE PROGRAMMES
What is left behind below is no more than the old introduction, some thoughts on speech acts and and pictures in television.
You can also go to a video of the Honderich programme.
INTRODUCTION TO TRANSCRIPTS
A picture is worth a thousand words, newspaper editors used to say, and probably still do. Worth a thousand words in terms of what? Sales of the newspaper? Satisfaction of a lower or anyway human curiosity on the part of readers? No, the question isn't that easily answered, especially when the pictures are moving pictures, maybe of wretchedness, destruction and death. Especially too, in another way, when the pictures are of a person speaking thoughts and feelings.
The philosopher John Austin, the 1950's Oxford professor and the original linguistic philosopher, distinguished three things that are done in saying something, including saying something in a television programme.
The speech act or linguistic act is first of all a locutionary act, the delivery of the words in question, which is something common to very different circumstances of communication, indeed different communications. The speech act, secondly, is an illocutionary act, which is to say an assertion or statement, value judgement, hope, promise, appeal, instruction, coded message, or whatever else. Thirdly, it is a perlocutionary act -- it is something with a certain effect, say in actually reminding, alarming, reassuring or horrifying someone.
It is very clear that what you see, the moving or other pictures in the case of television, contributes greatly to the perlocutionary value or force of what is said, the effect. The pictures increase or otherwise alter the effect. It is as clear that the pictures are of importance to what illocutionary act is performed. They can turn what is said from an appeal, say, into a threat. It is also the case, indeed, if a locutionary act is not a mindless production of words, but is a matter of reference and sense, that the pictures may be essential to that. They may fix this fundamental meaning.
So what you can find elsewhere -- as noted above -- a transcript, cannot be what all of what was conveyed in 'The Real Friends of Terror', the television programme transmitted on Five, the fifth terrestrial channel in Britain, on September 19, 2006. So with the programme 'No Excuses for Terror' by David Aaronovitch, a week later.
The transcripts are parts, sides or large elements of a lot of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts. Maybe more than that, but certainly not everything.
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