I’m sickened by the incessant coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting story…

…but not because of the story itself.

Why is it that every time we have a story like this, we have to have non-stop 24/7 coverage of it? Why is it that news sources that have nothing to do with general news are covering it (and not even with a related angle)? Does it really matter, at least the way most news sources are covering it, to anyone outside the general Blacksburg area? Does it really deserve more than a single news story on a standard newscast and then move on? Could it be that, on some level, despite all we say about how “sickening” and “tragic” the story is, we actually enjoy listening to stories about it, that we take some sort of perverse pleasure in letting it distract us from our lives? Could it be that, on some level, we actually want to hear about tragedy? The ancient Greeks did spend much of their free time watching tragedies played out on the stage, and we do seem to value tragic plays and movies more than comedies!

On the other hand, we’re already getting plenty of people moaning about not being able to comprehend “what could drive someone to do something like this.” Would someone do me a favor and try to find out what would drive someone to do something like this? Because I have a feeling it would lead to some disconcerting conclusions about society, ourselves, American culture, the assumptions we make about people, and even the core of human nature.

One Comment