“Va. Tech gunman” & the NBC material

April 19, 2007 at 1:28 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment
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So the NBC received material from the “Virgina Tech Tech gunman” between the first shooting in the early morning and the second two hours later, and received it the traditional way, via mail. A selection of pictures and video from this “multimedia manifesto” can be seen on the NBC homepage (btw: not among the top headlines of NBC.com) or here on USAtoday.com.

I’m hesitant to even form an opinion about this. It worries me deeply that the most atrocious crimes of our days (9/11, War in Iraq, Va. Tech) reach us as media representations mainly. I know there is no going back, and of course I am myself completely hooked up to the media sphere. Nevertheless, I often dream about a life that would be confined to our immediate environment, and not haunted by the mediamatic ghosts of our times. No need in telling me that this dream is pointless, and I am not the type of conservationist who’d want to turn back the time. But I still have the feeling that it would be healthier if…

As said above, this is such a sensitive issue that I don’t even WANT to articulate a view of my own.

Language is a virus, and it seems as if ‘society’ (or which ever name you’d like to give this dumb mob) has decided to baptize a new strain after the name ‘Cho Seung-Hui’. Jetsam wrote something earlier in a comment about the witch media hunt after the shooter’s parents that has now started. And I have a very bad feeling about this collision between mediamatic codes of representation and archaic ways of dealing with a crisis.

EDIT: And I don’t think that the material should have been published. I fear that the publication did only contribute to the further shaping of the gunman mold, making it a discursive vehicle for all sorts of troubled minds who are craving for a way out of the insignificance of their own lives.

Virginia Tech: “The Gunman’s Victims”

April 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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The Sun (UK) has published a list of the victims of yesterday’s shooting. I’ve always had a problem with coming to terms with the UK practice of giving away victims’ names in news reports – this is not a common practice in German news reports, although there has been a certain tendency toward individualization of victims in the past (terms like “die kleine Jessica” and “Kevin im Kühlschrank”, all referring to cases of ‘homicide by neglect’, are media names that everybody will remember). Still, that’s first names, not full names.

On the Sun’s site, they prsented full names along with a victim’s major subject or position within the faculty. 15 victims were depicted with photographs. And what I find even more disturbing is that they also included links to the personal websites, blogs or myspace pages that some of them had.

I resisted the urge of clicking those links. I kind of find it indecent, like a forced resurrection.* I feel like the victims, in their death, would deserve not to be exposed a big last time to the gawkers worldwide.

I suppose there are people who have different views on that.

*) I’ve always wondered what would happen to all those email accounts and blogs and web services of people who died.

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