Thursday, April 19, 2007

When an elephant wants to be noticed

Today is different
Today is not the same
Today I make the action
Take snapshot into the light, snapshot into the light
I'm shooting into the light…

All you people in TV land
I will wake up your empty shells
Peak-time viewing blown in a flash
As I burn into your memory cells
- Peter Gabriel, “Family Snapshot” (1980)

After inundating the airwaves with pictures and videos sent to NBC by Cho Seung-Hui, the media has switched course, promising to scale back on the coverage.

I guess anyone would want to see Cho's footage out of morbid curiosity, but ultimately, you're dealing with the rants of a lunatic, and the networks jumped on this the same way they jumped on similar material in the past.

Jon Klein, president of CNN, said airing the material was a tough decision; he felt it deserved some coverage because “as breaking news, it’s pertinent to our understanding of why this was done.”

I understand his intentions, but the material itself is no more enlightening than anything anyone's ever heard from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold or Mark David Chapman.

Having only read the print coverage (and for a story like this, print can be far more merciful, even graceful), there doesn't appear to be any surprises - Cho lashes out at nearly everyone around him, passes the responsibility on to the rest of the world, and claims innocence for his own malicious actions. Outside of that, he indulges in ridiculous, juvenile gun fantasies.

Just as Harris and Klebold knew they’d be remembered by millions they’d never meet, and just as Chapman knew his name would be linked to John Lennon’s, Cho sent his record of twisted narcissism knowing he’d get full command of NBC’s airwaves, that his rants and posing would be witnessed across the country.

Inevitably, others will emerge violently from anonymity to make themselves known to the world. We’ll see a repeat of the press scrambling to get the profile first, publishing and broadcasting any word that was planted for them, and again, you’ll have to wonder if passing any of that on will help the survivors and those left behind, or if they’ll struggle harder for any answer that can bring them some semblance of closure.


At Friday, April 20, 2007, Blogger JA said...

I think it's awful that the networks are airing Cho's rants. It's sad that he knew exactly what the networks would do with his videos.

At Saturday, April 21, 2007, Blogger GN said...

I agree. Cho's rants belong on YouTube, if anything.


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