Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Canibalism in the news

Mills of the gods

For some reason, the media is always obsessed with turning stories into canibalism tales. Two stories in the past two days illustrate that point. Yesterday, a fellow in Oklahoma, who is going to go on trial for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a ten year old child had the c word thrown in his face. His blog contained some references to cannibalism, actually a joke, although one in rather poor taste (pardon the pun) about cannibalism. One of the cops who caught the man (and we can use the term here "man" only loosely, he is, it seems, more of an animal, and even that is an insult to animals) said that the plan was to drain the girl of blood and eat her. Now there was no real reported evidence of this, but the media turned it into a cannibal story.

Today, three Mexican fisherman were picked up in the Marshall Islands after drifting at sea for nine months. They appeared to be in remarkable health considering their exposure and nine month diet of rain water, raw fish and sea birds. Now unfortunatly for them, five men set out, three returned. So the news guys are now speculating that perhaps the survivors ate their other two companions. Actually, since they were picked up in the Marshalls, I am shocked that the news folks have not asked if Island cannibals ate them.

What is it about eating our fellow man that draws such interest ? Here are two very descriptive news stories, that needed no punching up to get a reader to take interest in them, but the reporters in each case had to guild the lily by throwing cannibalism into the mix. It is perhaps, a standard reporter question for all news events. It will probably surface in this JonBenet Ramsey case pretty soon. If there is anyone I'd be willing to believe was a Cannibal, it's the current suspect. I imagine we will start seeing it in hurricane coverage, bank robbery stories and finally, election reports. "Mr President, now that your opponenet has conceded, do you think that you will be eating him ?" I can't believe that it has not shown up in Iraq stories over the past three years (Shihites feast on slain G.I.'s) but I suppose in a culture where pork is not eaten, it would be quite a stretch to accuse someone of eating a man.


Blogger Jim said...

Monday, August 21, 2006
A History Lesson for the Modern Media

Boswell found out early on how seriously Dr. Johnson took the English language. Boswell casually "happened to say, it would be terrible if he (Dr. Johnson) should not find a speedy opportunity of returning to London."

Johnson scolded him by saying, "Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. It would not be terrible, though I were to be detained some time here. The practice of using words of disproportionate magnitude is, no doubt, too frequent every where..."

The quotation serves as a good lesson for our modern media whether in news, entertainment, or commercials. The culture is rife with the "greatest," "most fabulous," "never before seen" use of words that are disproportionate with the magnitude of the event.

What used to be the province of carnival barkers is now a daily insult to the intelligence of the TV audience. All in hopes of making a mediocre event much greater than it is.

9:55 AM  

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