Paint it black, or dysfunctionally narcotized

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.

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10 Comments

Filed under golden rule stuff, sanctity of life, TeeVee

10 responses to “Paint it black, or dysfunctionally narcotized

  1. Wow, that was so eloquently written, Hutch. Every point you made is right on.

    I was really glad to be busy at work so I didn’t focus on it all. If I had been at home, I’m sure that’s what I would’ve done.

    I am especially amen-ing your point about combating alienation and isolation with our kids.

    Great post.

  2. Best thing I’ve read about this whole ordeal.

  3. what I wanna know is, who’s idea was the ‘no blogging on 4/30’ and why 4/30??
    why is it that just because someone decided on it and made a website with a bunch of copy/paste links that we can pimp on our blogs like yellow ribbons, is it all of a sudden some official moment of silence?
    don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily against it, and I’m definitely not trying to be disrespectful. I just wonder how much of it is sincere, and how much of it is propaganda.

  4. If video games are truly the key to the problem that some would lead people to believe, then y’all just need to lock me up seeing as how I have likely spent millions of hours playing video games for the last 30 years.

    About the “day of silence” thing – I have a real problem with it. I am sure people mean well but much as Emily brought up, I feel a sort of “okay let’s jump to our next yellow ribbon/pink ribbon/red ribbon cause” kind of thing.

    I just don’t see that all bloggers being silent on April 30th helps anything or is very productive or does much towards the effort of healing at all.

    It would make much more sense to me, and seem much more productive and “healing” and whatnot to me, if every blogger/most bloggers made an effort to post something similar that day, like, oh, let’s say for instance, a memory of an occasion when that blogger felt so alienated/enraged/depressed/whatever that they could have gone off like that man did. Or a memory of an occasion of personal grief. Or, I don’t know, something.

    Silence and all the solidarity in that silence is nice and all fine well and good, but it seems to me like the opportunity is ripe for people to learn a great deal about each other and mankind in general from their fellow bloggers by NOT being silent that day and speaking about something personal like that, or something of that sort, and it seems to me like that opportunity to learn and witness things about their fellow human being bloggers – and perhaps make us all think, perhaps make us all just a little bit better people and kinder to one other, perhaps make this world just a little bit better of a place – would just be MUCH more productive and healing and educational and many other things than a day full of silence.

    I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone or be disrespectful or anything of the sort, but the “silent day of blogging” solidarity just seems like a well meant but not very valuable gesture, when solidarity in doing what we all do every day but on a more focused, everyone writing about the same thing, level seems much more productive. And – again, I don’t mean to offend – but much like Emily said, the “silent day” gesture kind of seems a little empty and possibly not all that sincere to me. I have many conflicted thoughts, but that’s my $0.02.

  5. Oh and I meant to address this too:

    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.

    Exactly right, and eventually it will keep happening and recycling to the point where we’re run out of days of the calendar year to have “silent days” or have come up with just yet another and another gesture of remembrance of a tragedy one after another…. but no solution to the problem that is at the heart of it all.

  6. (“where we’re run” = where WE’VE run… grrr)

  7. Well said, sir. Well said.

  8. I loved the whole thing, Hutch, but you could have stopped after:

    The ever-shrinking zone of privacy is almost an artifact of some distant past.

    Nicely done.

  9. Thanks for backing me up Lynn. I almost did not make my comment for fear it would sound too harsh or negative. The thing is…haven’t we, as a society been silent long enough? Isn’t ill-communication part of the problem that leads to these disasters? I don’t think that a world wide web of silent blogs are going to do much good. Let’s keep talking and writing and working through it together – out loud – until we get it figured out!

  10. Hmm, if I hadn’t read this post then I wouldn’t even know about the blog day of silence! So let’s just pretend I never read this, OK? I agree with what has already been stated…I don’t see how ‘blog silence’ two weeks after the incident at VT helps anything.

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