Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The "must surely be better than the last post" post

Yes, the last post sucked. And yes, Villette still sucks. But today, a new, supreme level of suck is awarded to The Denver Post. I hope you agree.

Way back when, before all this presidential nonsense and stealing of Bradbury's titles, our buddy Michael Moore made a movie about a school shooting. But, it wasn't really about the school shooting, it was more about guns. But, it wasn't really about guns either, because it was most about fear. It was about fear and the media. And to that extent, it wasn't so dissimilar from his latest debacles. I don't want to talk politics though, this post is about the Post, so MM's ideas on the media more appropriately fit my bill. His point, more or less, was that the mainstream medias focus on violence and gore and tragedy in the news fosters an atmosphere of fear which plagues America and drives us to handgun ownership, and then, to handgun use, because we are constantly afraid of everyone else in our world. I'll leave you to judge my summary as accurate or not, and frankly, it doesn't matter, this post isn't about MM, it's about the Post.

This morning in the Post, I saw this article on the front page, with the big front page photo. Blah blah, more homicide criminals are getting away, blah blah. Typical fear-inducing shit. I didn't really get upset until I opened up to 6A, where the story continued, and found myself confronted with a massive inset. Taking up more or less the entire page was a two part graphic. On top, there was a street map of the city, with 61 numbered circles scattered about on it. The 61 circles represented the 61 homicides that have occurred in Denver since January 1st. About half the circles were dark, representing "cleared" homicides, whose cases have been closed, while the other half where white, representing homicides which were still under investigation. Then, below the map, and taking about twice as much space, was a very neat and orderly chart. The chart had 4 columns. In the far left was the light or dark numbered circle which corresponded to a similar circle on the map. Following it were columns labeled, "Date", "Weapon", and "Synopsis". For example, circle 1 is followed by:

1.(dark) Jan. 1 Handgun Victim shot after argument.

Or, there is number 10, a special Valentines day homicide.

10.(dark) Feb. 14 Lamp/Hands Victim beaten to death during an altercation.

Then, of course, there are the light circles, like number 27.

27. (light) April 25 Bludgeon/cutting tool Victim beaten and stabbed, then set on fire.

61 of these delightful rows, in beautiful, spread out, roomy, attractively glory occupied page 6A of the August 10th 2004 Denver Post, begging to be read, to be absorbed, to be shocked and wondered at. This, certainly, is journalism at its finest. 61 top stories, all put into one, with a graphic so I can see which numbers happened closest where I live, or where I work. Easy to read, easy to see, easy to understand. The perfect layout, to be sure.

Then, I thought more, and I began to see all of the wonderful things I could do with such an article! With ease I can county which weapons lead to a faster resolution of the case, and which have left police stumped. Which "synopses" are the most difficult for the police to sort out? Where ought I commit my homicide on the map? It is clear that some areas lead to arrests while others lead to mysteries. Surely I would rather be the latter. So many uses.

But so many fears! So many people killed? It is a miracle it has not been me! I should be more safe. Look at all the handguns used! I should have one, what else will prevent me from becoming like number 40?

40. (Light) June 17 Handgun Victim shot for no known reason.

How terrible! There are so many things to fear! According to this alone, there are 31 killers out there running the streets right now! They will surely come to kill me.

It's an imperfect world we live in, and there will always be darkness. I cannot make these homicides go away. We can all try, but they will never completely disappear. I thought for a moment about why this is so offensive, after all, I only just watched a movie about a prostitute serial killer, and recommended it as a great movie, though not a greatly enjoyable one. Is there a difference between that and this? Both are depictions of real events. Both make me feel uneasy, both show me things which probably make me afraid. But, I think, there is a difference. Where both subjects are dark, the film's outlook, presentation, and mood, are similarly dark, sad, and frustrated while the presentation of the Post's article is no different than if they had been listing dates and places for te fair. There was no depth to this chart. No thought. There was no understanding. There were no people. Only numbers, light or dark, dates, weapons, and synopses.

5 comments:

colderwater said...

I hate to be commenting on something so trivial, especially in light of the subject matter, but if you're going to be serious about it, then you might want to explain to the readers what a "homocide" is, because if 61 gay people have been killed, that's boardering on a full-fledged hate war. But if you're thinking of "homicides" then that's a whole other issue.

scribbs said...

OMGSI. What is this the fucking spelling be? I'm a fucking student of English literature, i will spell things however i want. Though, apparently i managed to spell check my post and then replace the spellchecked one with the not spellchecked one. My point however remains the same: shove it.

Oh, and OMGSI is the lamest thing i have ever possibly heard of, even lamer than Villette, which i finally managed to finish.

mindovermatter said...

Oh my god, save it. Both of you.

mindovermatter said...

Furthermore....Colderwater, you might want to explain to your readers (by that I mean...the people who happen to read the blogs you happen to comment on...and then happen to read your comments) what "boardering" is because didn't know boardering was even a verb (snowboardering?). But if you're thinking of "bordering" then thats a whole other issue.

scribbs said...

haha, brilliant. best stuff to happen on this blog in a long while. brilliant.