Forgetting about the OFF switch

It’s a black squat beast, hunkered on its haunches in the corner of the room, spewing out its feed. No-one seems to know how to get it to stop.

Where is the remote? I ask when the on-screen primpy woman warns that dog-fighting footage is immiment. No-one knows, no-one is looking at the screen, but no-one knows how to turn it off.

I sprint across the room, hurdling the coffee table (an awful but functional concept that rarely entertains coffee) to Hit the Switch. I’ll have no dog-fighting in the front room of an early evening.

Earlier the sound of a war game rattled its fire round my head. The shouts of the pretend men tie my stomach in a knot.

At bedtime, the news wants to show us the last faces of Muammar Gadaffi. Here he is bloodied, staggering, here he is on the ground. Here he is now: dead? They have stopped short of footage where they might poke him with a rifle to prove the point in its entirety. A rebel waves a gold pistol. A rebel without a cause, now.

And I wonder what it is with the news these days and their thirst for these graphic pictures, taken from mobile phone footage. And I wonder if we would broadcast these dying, dead faces if they belonged to people in this country. And I wonder if being cast as an evil, oppressive Middle East, no let’s say it: an Arab dictator, somehow allows us to broadcast these hideous images of a far-removed pantomime death. Only, it is real. It really is a death. And we consume the terror of it through our eyes.

The beast in the corner is off, and it will stay that way, for today.

Some things are best left to the radio.

Right & Wrong? Missing in Action


Posted on October 21, 2011, in News, Politics, Television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. plr gday,
    just discovered you on google. Great article, I was just thinking around something similar. Might start writing a blog myself! Thanks a lot free plr

  2. I’m glad you wrote this. All humans deserve dignity, no matter what.

    • It’s a tricky one because no doubt Gadaffi inspired righteous anger in many/most of his people. Good people who perhaps would like nothing more than to have put a bullet between his eyes. So that is a matter for those people and Gadaffi. It is the consumption of it, our consumption of it, as if it were any of our particular business that I find unsettling. I think our society has a dysfunctional attitude to these things. We don’t seem to mind too much the death throes of a wicked dictator on our tv screens, or all over the internet, but would we broadcast the dead or dying face of a white man, even that of a bad white man, a murderer, say? Or is the subtext that there isn’t one quite diabolical enough for that fate? As much as tv and media brings the world into our living rooms, does it also acts as a barrier to sentient responses towards humanity from different cultures?

      I think of the famines in East Africa. We can all see the pictures of stick children starving if we turn on, but are we so dulled to it all, these little foreign kids, that we cannot act until we have a Sir Bob or someone to tell us, to appeal to us, a white person to reframe the images in our own language and waken our media deadened senses to how terrible the reality of it is.

  3. The Sun’s ‘That’s for Lockerbie’ headline was appalling. Glorying murder as revenge. The Sun has no right to represent the victims families or the public in that way. I wanted him to be tried & the west’s links with him to be examined

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