Certainly we are all familiar with the word tragedy, if for no other reason than the fact that we have heard/read it so much in the last few days. I’m sure it goes without mentioning there was yet another mass shooting in the past days, so I won’t say it. I also won’t detail the hearsay, possible motive, or supposed connections because I think we are already just a little too “informed” on the supposed facts around this latest tragedy. In the past days there has been discussion of why this happened, and the exact details and there will be much more information overload in the days ahead (As I write this I hear the TV in the background say “more Newtown tragedy coverage tomorrow”). We have reached a strange point in modern media when it is possible to over dramatize a mass murder.
Make no mistake, I think this whole situation is about as awful as it gets, but I don’t think I should have to use words like hero, and tragedy to get your eyes watery. I think it is possible for terrible things to happen without being the most terrible, and I think its possible for good things to happen without being the best thing ever, and I don’t think everything has religious undertones. I wish the modern media agreed.
I’m not sure if we are bored, or maxed out, but I believe that popular culture has reached a critical point. Most of the things we use these days are disposable (not always literally) and are generally made as efficiently as possible and devoid of creativity (houses, cars etc). In the same way, most of our “culture” is watered down. For example movies and music; both of these art forms have become muddled between their past and their uncertain future direction. The reason I think we face this odd time-period of over-the-top forms of art is because everyone is trying to break through the noise. There is no one left to shock or be shocked. There is nothing sacred enough to be desecrated. The lives of people are important and have meaning but we are so desensitized to violence and death that its hard to really “hit-home” without getting overly dramatic.
My point is that as soon as this most recent shooting happened there was a massive overload of media coverage and I don’t think that is necessary. Its almost like we are so bored as a society that as soon as something notable happens we just jump all over it and justify it by calling it sensitivity. I question how it will help us to know the motives of the shooter and I’m confused about why people think there were clear motives at all. To me there is really no motive that would clear this up. I don’t think we need a detailed report on everything that has ever happened in the life of the person who committed this crime against humanity, but we will definitely get one. Sadly, we will learn all about him.
Overall I feel that in a society that champions materialism and worships money so heavily over almost everything else it is sometimes tough to feel a real human element of existence. So when a horrible thing happens we use it as an excuse to recharge our human emotions a little bit before we go back to the busy lives that lead us.