I had the misfortune of a day at home. I saw enough news-channel grief pimping to further turn my stomach. Of course, I needed to know the name and like most others, a need to know or at least to glimpse the ‘why’. Somehow it matters, as if there’s a chance in hell we can figure out how to stop the next one.
So yeah, he was a loner, and I’m sure he played lots of video games, as if THAT’s the answer. Here’s a clue: If video games are the key to the problem, then we might as well turn the cards over, buy lots of bottled water and head for the hills.
Before the news-channels, when an event occurred, big or horrible or wonderful enough to cancel regular programming, I do believe that TV begot community. We shared the grief of assassination, the awe of the moon landing, the glory of the miracle on ice. Our differences were muted, if just for a few minutes or hours.
The sheer saturation of the news these days feels more like a stifling blanket. We become narcotized. We think we are doing something about SOMETHING just by watching more and more TV. The ever-shrinking zone of privacy is almost an artifact of some distant past.
I do believe we can become numbed and inured to violence and grief, or at least the grief of others. We watch and perhaps shed tears, even if we aren’t personally connected. Somehow, we believe we are part of something, even as we are being worn down.
I read that ‘we’ are supposed to shut the blogs down on April 30, in memorium. I’m sure no one would suffer if my blog were quiet on not only that day, but the days surrounding. I appreciate the need for silence, and the need to feel part of something, but I’m not sure that shutting up is the artful anodyne. We do need to respect silence, and turn off the noise more often, but if we don’t figure out something positive to do for kids, for loners, and to combat the alienation that somehow morphs into this horror, we’re going to keep recycling the grief pimping, watching and watching, ever thinking we are actually making a difference.