THE GRIEF/TRAGEDY/SYMPATHY INDUSTRY
It's a tragic
event. End story.
Everyone complains about this being a "victim society." Well, I don't know about the victim society, but I would like to talk about the "Grief, Tragedy, and Sympathy Industry."
The news media are playing a game with you. You're being fed a large ration of other people's troubles designed to keep your mind off the things that should really be bothering you. I guess the media figure if you're sitting around feeling sorry for every sick, injured, or dead person they can scrounge up, you'll have less time to dwell on how fucked up your own life is, and what bad shape this culture is really in.
I'm not opposed to grief per se, as I am to public media grief. My attitude is fuck sick people and fuck a dead person. Unless I knew them. And, if so, I'll handle it on my own, thank you. I don't need media guidance to experience sorrow.Above all, I object to the abuse of the word tragedy. Every time some asshole stops breathing these days it's called a tragedy. The word has been devalued. You can't call every death a tragedy and expect the word to mean anything. For instance, multiple deaths do not automatically qualify as tragedies. Just because a man kills his wife and three kids, her lover, his lover, the baby-sitter, the mailman, the Amway lady, and the guy from Publisher's Clearinghouse and then blows his own brains out doesn't mean a tragedy has occurred. It's interesting. It's entertaining to read about. But it's not a tragedy.The death of a child is also not automatically a tragedy. Some guy backing over his kid in the driveway is not a tragedy, it's a bad, bad mistake. A tragedy is a literary work in which the main character comes to ruin as a consequence of a moral weakness or fatal flaw. Shakespeare wrote tragedies. A family of nine being wiped out when a train hits their camper is not a tragedy. It's called a traffic accident.
You want to know what a tragedy is? A tragedy is when you see some fat bastard in the airport with pockmarks on his face and his belly hanging out, and he's with a woman who has bad teeth and multiple bruises, and that night he's gonna make her suck his dick. That's a tragedy. They don't mention that a lot on TV.The media often refer to the killing of a white policeman as a tragedy. Why is it more tragic than the same white policeman killing an unarmed black kid? Why is it never a tragedy on TV when a white cop kills a black kid? It's never presented in that way. The whites save tragedy for themselves. Why is that?
The media have elevated the marketing of bathos and sympathy to a fine art. But I gotta tell ya, I really don't care about a parapelegic who climbs a mountain and then skis cross-country for 50 miles; I'm not interested in a one-legged veteran who ice skates across Canada to raise money for children's prosthetics. I have no room for some guy without a nervous system who becomes the state wrestling champion; or a man who loses his torso in Vietnam and later holds his breath for six months to promote spina bifida research; or someone born with no heart who lives to be ninety-five and helps everyone in his neighborhood neaten up their lawns.
Is this all we can find in America that passes for personal drama? people overcoming long odds? God, it's so boring and predictable.
And does this mean we are supposed to admire people just because of the order of their luck? Because their bad luck came first? What about the reverse? What about people who start well and then fail spectacularly in life? People who were born with every priviledge and given every possible gift and talent, who had all the money they needed, were surrounded by good people, and then went out and fucked their lives up anyway? Isn't that drama too? Isn't that equally interesting? In fact, I find it more interesting. More like true tragedy.
I'd prefer to hear something like that once in a while, rather than this pseudo-inspirational bullshit that the media feel they have to feed us in order to keep our minds off America's decline. If they're going to insist that we really need to know about sick babies and cripples who tap dance and quadraplegic softball players, why don't they simply have a special television program called "Inspirational Stories"? That way I can turn the fuckin' thing off. I'm tired of people battling the odds. Fuck the odds. And fuck the people who battle them.
After a while don't you get weary of being told that some kid in Minnesota needs a new liver? Kids didn't need new livers when I was growing up. We had good livers. What are they feeding these kids that suddenly they all need new livers? I think it's the gene pool. Nature used to eliminate the weak, imperfect kids before they were old enough to reproduce their flaws. Now we have a medical industry dedicated to keeping people alive just long enough to pass along their bad genes to another generation. It's medical arrogance, and it works against nature's plan. I'm sick of hearing about a baby being kept alive on a resuscitator while doctors wait for a kidney to be flown in on a private jet contibuted by some corporation seeking good publicity because they just killed six thousand people in Pakistan with a chemical spill. I'm tired of this shit being presented in the context of real news. Prurient gossip about sick people is not real news. It's emotional pandering.
The real news is that there are millions upon millions of sick babies and cripples and addicts and criminals and misfits and diseased and mentally ill and hungry people who need help. Not to mention the middle-class normals who swear things are just fine but spend three hours a day commuting, and whose dull, meaningless lives are being stolen from them by soulless corporations. But the media don't bother with all that. they like to simply cover their designated Victims of the Week, so they can see themselves as somehow noble. They highlight certain cases, making them appear exceptional. And when they do, they admit they are simply unable and unwilling to report the totality of the Great American Social Nightmare.-George Carlin