Yesterday morning I was thumbing through the newspaper at a cafe and opened to a photo of two men that had been hung to death in Iran. Their bodies were hoisted high in the air. Sacks on their heads. Too much.
I've seen lots of photos like this since moving to Italy. Screaming women cradling dead men. Dead children. People walking past dead bodies in the street. In the daily paper.
Does my reaction say I am ignoring the problems in the world? That I've been sheltered by American journalism? I'm not sure. Probably true. I know it's far from sunshine and rainbows. I know horrible, unthinkable things happen.
Maybe this shouldn't shock me. Certainly, I'm not used to this level of exposure in the papers. It seems disrespectful to me. This is real life, not a movie. These are people whose lives have come to a violent end. Yes, report on it, document it, write articles, and take photos... but images like this should be saved for a courtroom, not published in the daily paper.
This strikes a similar nerve with me. I am horrified every time I see someone on the news interviewing or filming crime victims' families in times of grief. It seems such an invasion of their privacy. And the dead don't have the chance to consent to having themselves exploited like this. It just ain't right!ReplyDelete
If I had been hung in Iran, I'd want people to tell my story for me.ReplyDelete
Really good point Amanda. I guess that's why I'm wondering if it's just a matter of me needing to grow up or not wanting to deal. But what happens when you see these pictures over and over again? Do you stop paying attention? Can't you tell the story without the explicit photo?ReplyDelete
I think that is the problem - pictures have an impact that can be really important. However, I think they can also be numbing if you see them too much. I have no idea where the line is.ReplyDelete
I think that journalism like that has a lot of shock value but i'm not sure that the take home message is always there. :(ReplyDelete
I definitely read more "real" news here, even in the regional papers. And I appreciate that. I wish there was better reporting of world events in the US. So that's a huge plus. But the photos are often too much for me. And I think they are numbing. I try to just focus on the stories and not dwell in the photos. And I don't go through the paper anymore with my kids.ReplyDelete
It's my understanding that European television programming is less violent than in the U.S. I wonder if they feel that photographs of violence (in the name of journalism and documentation) is okay because the format is inherently for adults only. It makes sense to me that I would want my children exposed to less violence on TV, if nothing else. I worry about this desensitization to violence issue all the time for my kids. I mean if they see Reservoir Dogs when they are 15, does that mean that they have to see something like SAW to think something is really horrifying?ReplyDelete