Sunday, November 15, 2015

Je Ne Suis Pas Français. Je Ne Suis Pas Parisien.

Je Suis Humain!

The slew of hashtags reading “Je suis Parisien” and “Je suis Français,” while perfectly understandable are, in my humble opinion totally missing the point. I propose that the more apropos hashtags for the actions of this week would be “Je suis humain.”

Not that I have anything against having sympathy for the victims of the terrorist attacks of Friday in Paris, I do! Not to feel something for the victims would be inhuman. My point here is that we have fallen into the strange norm of aftermath of these tragedies by reducing it to a hashtag online, and elevating it to the incident to a spectacle on Television. Gone are the days when a tragedy would be covered by the news, as opposed to speculated about.

Time was when the news would not have “covered” an incident unless there were actual known... uh what is that word... Oh, yeah! “FACTS” Unfortunately, these types of incidents have all seemed to have fallen into the same basic pattern of late:

  1. The incident occurs
  2. The Media overreacts; they cover the incident, baseless speculations about the incident, social media opinions about the incident, rumors about the incident, and other unhelpful filler as if it were newsworthy wall-to-wall for days (or weeks if they can hold our attention that long)
  3. The People overreact; we demand immediate and decisive action – even when the facts are not known and even if no meaningful action can be taken
  4. The Government overreacts; calls are made for sweeping new powers and draconian measures that often infringe upon our civil rights
Gone are the days when the news would have informed us that terrorists had attacked a number of locations in Paris and then moved on to the wars in the middle east, the other newsworthy stories of the day, and coming back to Paris coverage only when things were known. All the domestic media are, to some extent, guilty of this same behaviour. And it’s not just terrorism, it is tragedy of all kinds; once things slow down a bit, I fully expect CNN to tell us that Malaysia Air Flight 370 is still missing.

Granted, ratings go up when people gorge themselves on the vacuous coverage of rumor and speculation, but they absorb this insipid drivel as if it were some Reality TV show. The problem with this behaviour is that this, more than anything else, plays into the hands of the terrorists. Long have we had terrorists; but it is a relatively recent aberration that we have elevated their attacks to such a vapid, vile, and vulgar vaudeville.

Not that if the news media acted responsibly and simply reported the news things would be MUCH better, we would still have grossly misguided individuals who are able to muster large groups of similarly deluded individuals and entice them to commit inhuman acts of mayhem. That is the real problem. So long as we have such deranged individuals we will have people willing to perpetrate acts like those that rocked Paris this week. But there is no reason to compound the damage by giving it such a wide audience. If we do not speak-up for basic human decency then we are aiding and abetting, or are at very least encouraging, these acts. Having worked at a bar-or-two in my past, I can tell you the first thing you do with a drunk who has wandered up on stage is you take away the microphone.

Let’s start by doing at least that much. Wherever you are today, I hope that you will turn off the ad nausium coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris; show your support for the Parisians by denying their attackers the fame they so violent try to wrest from you!

Don Bergquist – November 15, 2015 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Editor’s Note:

To those of you who were or who have family and/or friends who were directly or indirectly impacted by the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, this article was in no-means intended to belittle or deride those impacts. The inhuman actions of a few severely misguided individuals who believed that they were doing the bidding of the deity they believe in cannot be dismissed – this article is written to point out that they should not be elevated beyond what they were either.


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