Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overexposing Human Nature

“When did it become acceptable” to put “explicitly gruesome footage” on newspaper websites? Asked Indian knight. Not only are we now showing pictures of dead people on the front pages of newspapers--which not long ago was considered disrespectful of the dead and lacking in taste--but we are also linking to videos of people being killed.

Last week I received a video link on my Face book page showing the tragic tale of that little Chinese girl being run over twice and left to die. Why did that story need accompanying video footage and “who presses play?” Correspondents point to the exposure of Muammar al-Qaddafi, begging for his life, while being kicked and beaten, and about to die, and conclude, “There is such a thing as too much information, and last week showed that we’re drowning in it--drowning in our own voyeurism, drowning in ghoulishness, drowning in other people’s blood” (p.14, THE WEEK).

We may be drowning in a tsunami of ghoulishness and gossip. Serious consideration of a Biblical perspective of gossip, slander, and idle curiosity would put half of our publications out of business today. Yet, perhaps there is another consideration here.

I did not know of the little Chinese girl being run over, until I received the FB link from a very highly incensed friend who wanted my opinion. I understood her to be greatly offended by the careless neglect of people seeing such an event take place and literally going about their own business ignoring it and doing nothing. She was deeply angered by the passiveness of people too preoccupied--too wrapped up in themselves--too narcissistic, to get involved.

Mostly to answer her question, I studied the link, unable to believe what I saw. I replayed it 2-3 times, questioning whether or not it was merely “staged” video--for effect. What I saw was an inexcusably inhumane act perpetrated for God only knows what reason, but mostly ignored by people overwhelmed by the utter inhumanity of humanity.

There are too many people who have their opinions about things and do not want to be forced out of the rut they are in--the status quo that says “don’t bother me, I am satisfied with me the way I am, and I don’t want to be bothered by the facts of life.” On the other hand, some of us are so deeply offended today by humanity’s inhumanity to humanity that we are determined to shake people out of their bored existence by giving them with a dose of reality.

That may be a little like the old fashioned treatment of electro-shock therapy for emotionally disturbed people, but there are times when I would like to shock some people I know with “some of the reality they conveniently sweep under their rugs.” I would just like to give them a good “jolt” and get them involved in some humanitarian cause outside of themselves.

So, while we drown in this “overexposure of human nature”; which is the more preferable: delete it from public view and deny the existence of what we can do given the right set of circumstances? Or, expose such behavior as a means of protest; renew personal accountability, and reestablish more sociable mores of honesty, integrity, and public trust. Human nature remains highly susceptible to corruption, but the Grace of God remains ever redemptive for the worst of us ...

Without personal and social honesty, integrity, and public trust, we have drifting sand and no relational social structures ... Warner’s World,


Anonymous said...

Thought provoking Wayne! Sometimes I wonder if the photographers could have helped in some reported life and death situations. Sure hope that baby elephant was able to get away from that crocodile!

Wayne said...

As powerful as photography is, they probably could help more than they do, but I'm sure they try to spare people's feelings as well as be discreet. Sometimes we just need to give vent to that passion aroused ...