February 17, 2010

Death, Violence, and Other Media Toxins


Getting Used to Death, Violence, and Other Media Toxins


Millions watched this week, a video of an accidental death during the Winter Olympics.
Officials said, “It was the young man's fault for making a mistake.”

What was unsaid: “We didn't want any ugly padding on the concrete pillars or safety netting that would block the cameras.”

I was shocked and saddened-- not just by the excuses, but also by how many people reacted by saying,

“Get used to it. It's reality; why wouldn't they show the video”.


Nearly fifty years ago, Americans saw their president assassinated. This was probably the first time a violent death, an actual death in any form, had ever been shown, not depicted, on television. I was there; people wept openly-- people used to watching Superman catching bullets or a TV cowboy's, 'Bang-bang... oh, I've been shot'.

Today, our tolerance for these kinds of images has evolved to the point that we are shown a 'news' video of the wounding and death of a soldier--- his young life fading before our eyes.

"Get used to it", they repeat, "It's life."

This argument has been expressed again and again when I've voiced my concern for our collective intelligence-- societies soul-- especially what I feel about shielding children from violence and more.

“We can't shield them from life; if they survive, they'll be stronger."

They're saying, “Stick those seedlings out in the sun, if they survive, they'll be stronger.”

Will they?

Well, it's true that they may 'survive' just about anything we dish out for them-- but in what condition? Some will survive better than others. Tender hearts and sweet souls flower under the most difficult circumstances, and some of the most beautiful blossoms are born in the harshest surroundings.

But something must be said for the nurseries of the soul, for tender care and patient nurturing of the seedlings. No, not keeping them from the elements, to the point that they grow weak and spindly, but by giving them what they need and at the right time.

[More on media toxins and children in the next post]

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I stopped watching T.V. "news" when they showed up to late to get film of the body, so they showed us the puddle of blood in the street.

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