Friday, September 12, 2014

Video Nation

Timothy Egan, NYT
SEPT. 11, 2014

The barbarians in Iraq and Syria had been beheading innocents, raping girls and slaughtering “infidels” well before a single awful video appeared of an American journalist being executed by a masked fanatic. The world shrugged.

Racism in the era of the first African-American president continued to drive the actions of police and festered in high places, well before Donald Sterling was caught on tape saying he didn’t want prominent black people appearing in public at games played mainly by blacks. Meh.

And about 1.3 million American women were assaulted by an intimate partner last year, with more than 150,000 of them being hit by a fist or something hard. It was just another stat in a jumble of disconnected figures — that is, until a professional football player was shown cold-cocking his fiancée.

We are roused to action by cruel realism, but only if it looks and sounds authentic. Reasoned calls to our better angels are no longer enough. It takes the YouTube snuff films of gangsters with a religious cause, or the fuzzy images captured by an elevator robo-cam, to move a nation.

(More here.)

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