Friday, September 3, 2010

Too Soon?

“He [the modern man] is turned into a restless, dilettante spectator, and arrives at a condition when even great wars and revolutions cannot affect him beyond the moment. The war is hardly at an end, and it is already converted into thousands of copies of printed matter, and it will be soon served up as the latest means of tickling the jaded palates of historical gourmets”. Nietzsche The Use and Abuse of History

It seems that with today’s immediacy of information, yesterday becomes the past quite quickly. Individuals have so much information to process on a daily basis that recent events are often pushed further back into time than they actually belong. When Nietzsche wrote this excerpt media was nowhere near as contemporaneous with time and space as it is today with modern technology, thus making the past even farther removed than it was a century and half ago.

Yet perhaps it is also the component of entertainment media that causes this chronological rift as well. As we are all fully aware, media presents itself through a variety of vehicles, the messages often being the same without the intentions lining up. Fiction writers (for screen, print, or audio) have become so good at their work that they can bring to life seemingly unimaginable things. Yet, what happens when events of similar magnitude actually occur? Take the current floodings in Pakistan, or the gang rapes in the DRC as examples. It is almost incomprehensible to grasp the realities of these situations, despite the pictures, interviews, and tales that are being streaming to us. There are some people that stash these events away as stories, distancing themselves from these catastrophes by appreciating the account without digesting its reality. Yet whose fault is that? Or is it even a problem?

1 comment:

  1. What a great quote and interesting discussion. With the continuous flow of information, the coverage of war in Afghanistan, tsunamis in Southeast Asia and earthquakes in Pakistan, it is potentially possible to become desensitized to the horrors we see on TV on a daily basis. These tragedies are not our reality as we sit on our couch half a world away, and thus it is easy to view them as fictional. It is also a testament to how much information we really have that we are able to move on to the next “big deal” so quickly. Are there people still willing to donate to Haiti relief, let alone the tsunami in Southeast Asia or anything more than a year ago it seems, leaving cripple governments and nations still struggling while the international communities have moved on to the next sensational subject. But the combination of constant media coverage coupled with the fictional world of movies and TV leaves people “jaded”, as Nietzche states. So yes, I would say this desensitization is a problem, because today’s various communication outlets really do have the opportunity to bring people together for a cause.