April 18, 2007

Mary's Notes, April 18, 2007

Mary's Notes, April 18, 2007

A critical ROS listener and fan wrote to me this morning saying the timing of last night’s Entertaining Violence show was really bad. He liked the topic and discussion very much, but thought it felt wrong as a listener and made us look like we didn’t know what was going on in the real world. “It was an insular intellectual discussion when the rest of the country was in shock,” he wrote. Lumière agreed.

It’s always a challenge to figure out how to cover a story like the Virginaia Tech killings as it’s breaking and when everyone is talking about it. We don’t think our strength is the breaking news game, and sometimes what people want at the end of a day of mayhem is to change the subject. We thought last night’s discussion was a creative way to both touch on the news and digress from it, but maybe we’re just defensive and tone deaf.

Media critic and OS guest Bill Powers gave us a nice plug in the National Journal this week. Thanks Bill.

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  • nother

    I’m a little perplexed as to this idea of the country being in “shock.” Sure I heard people talking about the tragedy, but then the subject inevitably changed. I’m sorry, but I didn’t come across anyone in shock. Maybe after 9.11, but not after this shooting.

    Have the critics answered David’s question about the hundreds of Iraqis that died last week?

    Would Shakespeare have canceled “Titus” if 30 people had been killed during production?

    In my humble opinion, the timing could not have been more apropos.

    Thank you for a great show.

  • nother

    Wow, after seeing the shooter pose like a movie star on the cover to the NY Times, I hope you all feel vindicated for going ahead with the program.

    This guy’s self-aggrandized illusions were influenced by popular culture violence and our insular intellectual discussion was probably the only place in the media that was breaking it down.

    One minute he is an anonymous alienated immigrant in Virginia, the next he’s a martyr…immortal in the realm celebritydom.

  • herbert browne

    Re ..”immortal in the realm celebritydom..”- Is that like “A Legend in his own Mind”?

    I’m on the same page, nother… a lot more needs addressing, but the show was a good start. Lindsay Beyerstein (on her blog, Majikthise) had very perceptive comments about how, by Not discussing issues, that we lose any reasoned dialogue- AND the community discourse which should follow- and end up with a lot of emotional voyeurism. (and somewhere else, someone was saying how they have the equivalent of 2 or 3 of these a day in Iraq… which kinda grabbed me)… ^..^

  • katemcshane

    A comment about how the rest of the country is in shock is what I would expect to hear on television, if I had a television and I could stomach what comes out of its mouth (so to speak). Whenever I hear a story about an event such as the Virginia Tech shooting, I tend to imagine what it was like for the people involved, the kids who were going along in their day and suddenly saw a glock handgun pointed at them, even the kid who held the glock handgun. If we really wanted to do everything we could to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the country, we would talk about it. We wouldn’t say over and over and over — The country is in shock over the shooting at Virginia Tech — because that serves to numb anyone who wasn’t already numb from the never-ending horrific violence that OUR country perpetrates everywhere. I want to underscore that whether we elected these psychopaths or not, we go about our daily lives knowing that people who run OUR government are terrorizing the world and we don’t do anything real to prevent it. We make more weapons, bombs, and other atrocity-perpetrating equipment than any other country — but imagine reporting THAT on television. In this particular case, we want the residents of the United States to understand that South Korea is responsible for producing the man who killed OUR innocent children.

    The thing is, you could run a program about violence in this country once a week for the next year and maybe at that point we would begin to understand what really goes on around here. A psychoanalyst who discusses this issue using the terminology your guest used is an anachronism. If you got Freud, himself, to come onto the show and agree to discuss the issue in ordinary language with Chris, a volunteer from Emerge in Cambridge and David Gammons, psychoanalysis and the rest of us could take one small step for humanity.

  • I heard on the BBC how the kid in Virginia used violent computer games to get used to killing. They said this was the same for a campus shooter in Montreal and someone in Germany. Naturally, most people cannot stay calm enough to carry out so much atrocity so apparently simulated games help to bring down the breathing rate when carrying out an actual massacre.

    As you say Nother, this show couldn’t have been more timely.

  • webcastboy

    When the rest of the nation is in shock is the MOST appropriate time to talk about serious issues. Because that’s when those who least respect the rest of the nation are most likely executing their own means to their own ends.

  • loki

    Our culture is saturated with violence. Yet we don’t really talk about it and we remain in Denial.

    Shakespeare in his plays dealt with violence(ableit in an entertaining way.) Perhaps that is why BLOOM CALLED HIS BOOK”Shakespeare and the invention of the human.”

    Violence is mimetic i.e. immitative. Patriots’ Day gave us VA Tech, Columbine,Oklahoma City, David Koresh(sp?). Is it because TS Eliot calls April the cruelist of month when folks move from the dperessive doldrums of winter to spring or is it because violence-a nation at war-foulmouth talk show hosts that build of divisiveness creates the possibility of unstable psyches to act out their suicidal intents? I do not know-whoever talking about it the other night was helpful,purgative and necessary. I would have dumped the shrink and brought back Robert Jay Lifton.

  • katemcshane

    loki — I think we should bring back Robert Jay Lifton whenever possible.