Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Disturbing Low

I was sitting on the couch reading Under The Dome (an excellent read by the way) this afternoon with the TV chattering in the background when the sound caught my ear. The TV was resting on the E! Entertainment Channel. The program was the top million Hollywood confessions, yada, yada, yada. What caught my ear was Jose Canseco's ex-wife giggling like a 12-year-old child while she told the camera, and thus "America," about what consequences Canseco suffered because of his steroid use. Use your imagination. The point is, it was really low. The enjoyment on her face, the giggle, the personal nature of what she was saying. It was just really bad to me all of a sudden.

Earlier today, I was surfing the net and came across a story about a 40-something Somalian Muslim Man who was stoned to death for adultery with a young woman. The tease was accompanied by a photo of the man still alive, but buried up to his chest in the ground with a few other men in the frame next to him. I clicked on the story because my thought was 'If they stoned the man, what did they possibly do to the woman?' For the record, she suffered 100 lashes, escaping death because she was not married at the time of the affair. But the "full story," was accompanied by photos of the stoning.

There was a bold warning to scroll down at your own risk but my heart fell into my stomach when I read that. Yes adultery is horrendous, and sure, it's in the Koran and even in the Bible, I'm sure, where stoning had been the punishment for such indiscretions, but it's wrong. I don't care, it's wrong. I'll bet some of the stone throwers have committed the identical crime that man had committed. At least one of them. And then to invade the incredibly personal (and very public in this case) moment that his spirit left his body with photographs for the world to consume, was just inhuman. I didn't scroll down. And I will not return to the website.

Of course, the question is how do these two very different instances relate to each other? Death and ridicule are two very different consequences, anyone can rebound from ridicule. They are actually incomparable events. The connection is in the consumption. Both of these pieces being in the media for our entertainment consumption marked disturbing lows for me. I turned away from both. My heart hurting tremendously for the Muslim man. I praying for the strength of his children and family. I was simply disgusted by Canseco's ex-wife. I don't know what his motivation's were for confessing to steroid use, but the result was being called a snitch, gay, and being laughed at for the side effects. Even though his confession caused the sport of baseball to confront wider drug use among its players.

I guess I'm just disappointed in society as a whole. These things would not be popular entertainment if we didn't call for it. If we stopped feeding the machine. This whole Tiger Woods debacle is a perfect example. These are real people with real lives and children and real problems and we just can't get enough. Well for me, I've had enough. It's not entertaining and it's certainly not funny.

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