Friday, July 22, 2016

Death Addiction

Oh, for fuck’s sake, can I get through typing a single essay without another alert from CNN coming across my desktop that there is a shooting going on, being contained, finally over? This is ridiculously coincidental; if I wrote this into a script, it would be considered too contrived to be allowed.
This whole month has been nothing but one piece of breaking news after another of shootings, violence, protests, wrong-doings on a horrible scale, injustice in the extreme playing out on screens and phones all around the world.
I have known since my teens that the rule of news is that “If it bleeds, it leads.” But this is going much further than mere sensationalism and human interest. This is the obsession with the ultimate expression of toxic masculinity. It’s as though we are craving seeing the violence, addicted to nodding our heads and saying, “Yes, it really is bad out there.” We have gotten to the point where tragedy and death are out entertainment of choice, and we need more and more of it, in ever-increasingly violent and dramatic forms, to satiate our itch.
We are death addicts. Trauma drama is our currency, and we trade it through the social media channels like money lenders in front of a temple, only in this story there is no outraged teenage messiah to pull down the pillars and run the offenders off, all while delivering an impassioned shaming about how we ought to behave.

On one matter I can agree with the moral majority and the Reaganites: We seem to have lost our core values. When in the world did we decide that death and destruction were entertaining? When did we decide that matters of fashion trumped matters of family, that there is no societal responsibility, that greed is its own reward?