Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Omelet to Eggs

The tragic shootings at the Virginia Tech University and the deadly killings happening everyday in Baghdad have put a few thoughts in my head today. I'll try to reassemble the eggs from the omelet.

What makes the death of a human being impactful if it didn't happen to somebody you know? Why are 32 lost lives in a shooting in the United States more devastating than a bomb that takes the lives of over 200 people in another country? George Carlin (not my favorite comedian) said "We bomb brown people. It's what we do." Do we put a higher price on the value of American lives and the lives of those in Anglo countries? Yes, we sure as hell do? Is it racist to do this? I think one could certainly make a case that it is. We're much more concerned with what happens to people in the White World than what happens anyplace else.

The Tsunami that claimed half a million lives didn't have anywhere close to the emotional impact that 9/11 had on Americans. Our country is still emotionally mind-fucked and recovering from that six years later. If I said the Massive Tsunami to most Americans they'd have to think a while to remember what I was talking about. Dubya was able to ride the fear of 9/11 all the way to a second term. A sprinkle of election tampering and queer hating helped too. Shouldn't one innocent human life be as valuable as another human life? In theory it is, but in practice it simply isn't. I suppose that it all comes down to how personal it is to you and how it impacts your life. We should all be distraught that genocides have taken place all over Central Africa and are still taking place right now in the Sudan. It's just not in the news here other than when it's sometimes buried in the international section of the paper and thank goodness they don't bother us with it. It's not like it's people that matter, right? It's only gets a spot on the televised news if it's been an incredibly slow news week and there wasn't some hot dog eating contest or triplets born to bump it down to irrelevant. Is that because the Western media doesn't care or because they don't think that audience will care? Do we get the news that is actually happening or do we get the news that is popular? Is it the job of the media to tell us reality of what is happening or to just pander to what the same people who watch American Idol would like to see in a news show. Could they milk any more news time out of the Anna Nicole Smith situation? I think they tugged on her two corpse teets till they turned to dust because people tuned in. News shouldn't have ratings or advertising. Some things are just important and need to exist independently. News never used to be something that made money for the TV networks. It was the integrity and prestige and awards for excellence that went with the reporting the news that network heads and the media valued and took pride in. Journalism once meant something. Now it's about ratings and money and which newscaster the average Joe and Jane America like to watch. "Oh she's so pretty and has such a cute outfit." It's just pandering and now it's taken a strangle hold on journalism. Why? Because ratings mean money and money is sexier than integrity. Soon the newspaper will just be scratch & sniff and we can take in the aroma of the pictures that we like. "Me likes to smell the pretty pictures on the cover." It's been so watered down that some Americans just get their news from FOX News or the Daily Show. Neither of which are news. They're commentary designed to pull in ratings. One is funny and the other is laughable. I don't know where to end this but I googled up some statistics that are disturbing. Even if they're exaggerated or inflated statistics they're still disturbing.

Sad statistics:

Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
42% of U.S. college graduates never read another book.
58% of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school.
70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

And on an ironic note:

81% of the U.S. population feels "they have a book inside them."

George Carlin
If You're Brown, You're Goin Down

"Especially if your country is full of brown people. Oh, we like that, don't we? That's our hobby now. But it's also our new job in the world: bombing brown people. Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya. You got some brown people in your country? Tell 'em to watch the fuck out, or we'll goddamn bomb them!

Well, who were the last white people you can remember that we bombed? In fact, can you remember any white people we ever bombed? The Germans! That's it! Those are the only ones. And that was only because they were tryin' to cut in on our action. They wanted to dominate the world. Bullshit! That's our job. That's our fuckin' job.

But the Germans are ancient history. These days, we only bomb brown people. And not because they're cutting in our action; we do it because they're brown. Even those Serbs we bombed in Yugoslavia aren't really white, are they? Naaah! They're sort of down near the swarthy end of the white spectrum. Just brown enough to bomb..."

I'd like to know what you think about why some dead people are more important to us Westerners than others. OR what the fuck has happened to the news. If I had to hear another bit about Anna Nicole Smith I was going to reanimate her and kill her again.


davethescot said...

Nice post kranki, what i find extremly annoyiing is that when things like the tsunami and other tragedies happen, is the "10 (insert western country here) citizens died" as if we can only comprehend the tragedy if one of our own countryman was involved.

Surely in these catastrophes it should not matter what the nationality breakdown of the afflicted is.

The Illustrious Ms E said...

I'm in the Midwest, and what's worse is when they desperately grab for a 'local connection'...One of the VT victims' wife went to a nearby university, so that was the focus of our local "news" this past week...Can you believe that shit?

Joe said...

Overheard in the line at Centrelink today:

"Pretty crazy what that guy did. Killing 32 people."


"That guy in America."


"This guy... he shot like 32 people in a university in America."


"I don't know. Maybe he was pissed off."

"Is that platinum?"

"No, it's white gold. It's better than platinum."