Friday, June 06, 2008

Vignettes of Violence

For some reason, I've been thinking about this lately.

On those rare occasions when I'm watching television, and the broadcast is interrupted by that deadly screen and voiceover announcing a "Special Report," I find my breath stops and my heart skips a beat.

For I'm of that generation that heard too many of these special reports, especially in the late 1960s. The assassination of President Kennedy. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report." The assassination of Dr. King. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report." The assassination of Robert Kennedy. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report." American citizens bludgeoned in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report." The massacre of students at Kent State University. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report."

This morning, NPR carried an interview with Bill Eppridge, the Life photographer assigned to Senator Kennedy, who captured this iconic photograph.

It all came back to me. The horror, the grief, the shock we felt during those days.

Nowadays, those "big TV moments" seem to be reserved for the latest celebrity report or something. There is no "special report" for the thousands dead in Iraq. No special report for the assault on our freedoms. No … all that happens in a slow trickle, not an assault.

And so almost nobody airs their grief or outrage in public. Almost nobody stages a demonstration ... aside from my esteemed colleague Mark Harris and a few others.

The nightly news carried stories and images of the war in Vietnam, and a nation was mobilized. But we don't get much footage or stories about Iraq, do we? For the most part, we don't see the torture committed in our name. Have all our journalists been spayed, neutered, and declawed? Or have we all taken to our blogs instead of taking to the streets?

I dunno. Maybe we've lost our ability to be shocked. Maybe we've all become impotent in the face of today's horrors and atrocities.

1 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Maybe we've all become impotent in the face of today's horrors and atrocities.

You may be right, Lisa. Too often, I find myself wordless and in a kind of paralysis. As for the journalists, they are all "spayed, neutered, and declawed", perhaps one reason we have taken to the blogs.

Except for Bill Moyers. He da man!

6/07/2008 3:04 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home