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.