Monday, April 23, 2007

Troops and VT

I've shed a few tears for the victims at Virginia Tech, but not as I do whenever I even think of service members killed in war. I hate to weigh tragedies like fat celebrities, it's not a competition in horror, but I know I'm not the only one to connect the two. Actually, it wasn't that difficult since the next day newspapers ran the obligatory Iraq violence report which was, that day, over 300 deaths from blasts in Iraq - and it never made a leading headline.

I've been trying to understand why I feel a degree of numbness to the VT killings. Those kids were the same age as many of our casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even more, they were victims of chance, unlike a SAW wielding man in uniform whose job is ultimately to kill or be killed. If anything, I should feel worse for those students and teachers, but I don't. I've read the features about a particular victim, tried to get to know who they were as individuals and not numbers, but every time I do, I think, "What about our troops?" I don't think their deaths evoke the same level of shock when they are killed, four years into this war. Sadness, and verbal beating for the president? Yes. Shock? No.

Don't misunderstand, my imagination cannot fathom how utterly terrified those students must have been to see every other person shot right next to them. It was sobering to read of the Holocaust survivor who gave his life so his students could escape.

Nevertheless, it's all tragic, a frightening reminder of the evil, crazed people that walk among us until they snap.

And speaking of people who snap. I was completely disgusted that 99 percent of national newspapers ran photos of the murderer on the front page, guns pointed into the camera. (And consider that if you cut and pasted Angelina Jolie's face on his, it would have been an ad for Tomb Raider.) I had to dig deep to remember my news design and layout courses, but I did see that some editors at least tried to let their front page photos represent the order of priority in this tragedy - victims first. Those editors had large photos of mourning students and family members juxtaposed with a photo of Cho, one third the size of the larger image. Don't get me started on NBC running the videos. Why not just tell every mentally unstable person who is at the brink of insanity that they, too, can become famous by going on a killing spree, just so long as they give NBC the scoop.

Also, the thought occurred to me: somewhere on an otherwise empty golf course, Don Imus and Gary Condit are comparing stories.

I promise to deliver a more cheerful post soon. We're closing on our new home Wed!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus v Sharpton

This is going to be quick since I have zero time to write anything truly thoughtful these days...

Al Sharpton came out blazing against Don Imus after his "nappy headed hos" remark, natch. Sharpton is a loud-mouthed, well-fed, media addict, IMHO, who will side with anything that involves a camera and a person of color. (And for those of you who don't know, I'm part black, too, so I am not a racist who dislikes him because he defends African Americans. I dislike him because he discredits everything, abuses and wastes his power.) I don't know any real good that he has done in recent times, but to alert me to an impending press circus show, with him as the main act.

But I was gleeful watching Meredith Viera call out his hypocrisy with regards to the hip hop industry. She held him to the question of why he hasn't pressured rap artists as hard as other, let's just say it - white people - about their racist remarks. THANK YOU MEREDITH. Black men have been calling black women hos, blatantly, on heavy rotation, in live audiences and music videos for decades now, but do you see Al Sharpton holding a press conference demanding 50 Cent's apology? No. It's total hypocrisy. Do you know what Sharpton said in response? He totally dodged and said, "Well, there are people not in the black community using that language in music." And your point is "Reverend" Sharpton???? Should we hang them first and let black rap artists "express themselves" to the point of bringing them to an awards show on a leash? (And where are all of our feminists when we need them?)

I seethe whenever I hear bitches, hos, etc. in music. Yes, yes, someone's going to comment that they have a right to say it, but I think the public should tune out and tell radio stations we don't want to hear women being treated this way anymore, because, my hopeful little heart believes that most of us DON'T want our daughters being called these degrading names, or our sons spewing them from their mouths. And I don't know much about Imus, but what a jackass. He should look in the mirror.

Saturday, April 07, 2007