Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pulled From Today's Headlines

Today, The New York Magazine published an article on juvenile sex offenders and the problems that have been created by this lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key mentality that is so pervasive in society. I admit this article enraged me in many ways.

How Can You Distinguish a Budding Pedophile From A Kid With Boundary Problems?

The same logic that was responsible for three strikes and you're out as well as for prosecuting minors for capital murder is firmly in place in this circumstance as well. What enraged me more than anything is that, as I stated in my previous entry, we like to treat the effects of a problem as a quick fix, rather than examine the causes. Perhaps examining the causes would take more effort. Perhaps examining the causes would force us to examine ourselves and many of us would much rather take the coward's way out and opt for a feel-good, knee-jerk response.

I blame the media for sensationalizing childhood sexual abuse. To an extent, being open with this admittedly socially taboo topic is a step in the right direction, but television shows like Nancy Grace and To Catch a Predator have effectively preyed on our sense of moral outrage for the sake of ratings. We love to call gotcha. We love it when evildoers are put in their place and in this respect these shows are no different than any other programs which resort to cheap theatrics and hyperbole to make a profit. This is in the same vein as the "pretty white rich blonde female in distress" theme that gave us nauseatingly endless coverage of Natalee Holloway and Jon Benet Ramsey.

To conclude, one of my favorite movies is a documentary on Idi Amin entitled General Idi Amin Dada. The closing credits state that we, as humans, should consider ourselves complicit in allowing bloodthirsty dictators such as Amin to thrive and survive unchallenged. We, the human race, created Amin. We created Hitler. These were not simple accidents. Clearly there is a part of all of us that despite the guise of so-called civilization remains barbaric and carnal.

There is a part of each and every one of us that is to blame when even one child is molested.


DJD said...

The news media is nothing but bad news. But how do you draw the line between reporting information so that the general public may remain aware of what's going on in the world, and sensationalism?

Comrade Kevin said...

Excellent point.

I suppose it's contingent upon we, the audience, to demand information that isn't dripping with innuendo and gossip and up to the networks to curb their own lust for ratings and capital.

Being that none of us has enough power or sway or money or all of the above to influence the media, the best thing we can do is turn the television off.

That's how I deal with it. I just don't let myself be sucked in. If I had kids, I would severely limit their television viewing and try my best to contradict the sensationalism and hyperbole. If I was lucky, I'd make a significant impact on them. If not, then at least I tried.

Making an attempt is all we can do.