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[P]
A Heartbreaking National Tragedy

By superdiva in Op-Ed
Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:57:47 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

It happened one morning, on your drive to work, or while channel surfing on your 400-channel cable-satellite or whatever-mind-numbing-media outlet you feed the desires lurking in your mental cage. The Heartbreaking National Tragedy.

So sudden. So devastating. No one saw it coming. And who could believe it happened? "Honey, did you hear? It's devastating!" Even the Dr. Pill show is interrupted. Little Cousin (the incestuous child of Big Brother) comes on with pancake-makeup face and shellacked hair carefully arranged to hide his receding hairline....


BREAKING NEWS FROM "C.U.P." NETWORK: SOMETHING TRAGIC HAPPENED! SEVERAL LIVES WERE LOST!

Apparently, at 10:13 a.m...p.m....b.m....i.m....a national tragedy happened. Americans died. They were in a shuttle...an office building...an airplane...just being Americans. Several lives were lost. Emergency crew members already on the scene say that there are no survivors. What you are about to watch now is a video of the Heartbreaking National Tragedy.

The video of the HNT plays. You see how devastating it is, that moment in time when American dreams burst into atoms or crumble into ash, and you hear a gasp, a scream, or "Oh, my God!" narrate the view of billowing smoke that is now twisting its way benevolently towards the sky.

Little Cousin comes back on:
As you can see, this Heartbreaking National Tragedy is really heartbreaking. We're going live to the scene of The Tragedy where The Officials Who Stand Around and Give Bullshit Sound Bites to Newsfeeds are there to give us some more information.

The feed cuts away to somewhere remote. There is fluorescent emergency tape, police officers, National Guardsmen, and The Spectators...always The Spectators. The Spectators are the ones who lived near the HNT. It has only been 30 minutes since the HNT but already there are teddy bears, flowers, crosses, and the odd pack of Marlboro Lights just in case one of the victims needs a smoke while they are kept waiting in the queue of Eternal Life and Everlasting American Martyrdom. The Spectators stand near the taped off area hugging each other, some crying. They don't know the victims. But it's a Heartbreaking National Tragedy and the victims are Americans, and how can you not weep when an American dies in something so terrible?

The Spectators are animated under the gaze of the cameras and news feeds broadcasting their image across the nation and around the world. At the drop of a pin, or a cell phone, there are several ready to go on live and, on pure self-will, blink out tears as they tell how they felt when the Heartbreaking National Tragedy occurred.

Suddenly, the news feed breaks up, and the digital snow comes on. Little Cuz is back on, staring at some spot off-screen waiting for the feed to come back, but it doesn't, so he starts producing filler until they can cut away for a commercial break:
We've temporarily lost our live feed, but we should be reconnected shortly. For those of you just tuning in, a Heartbreaking National Tragedy has happened (video plays again) and as you can see, from the video clip, it was just devastating. Really heartbreaking...we will be right back with more information.

James Horner-Forrest Gump Music comes on and the soft-sentiment news font is on the screen:

America Grieves. America Fights Back. America Cries. America Recovers. America: What Will Happen Next? America: Find the Bastards Responsible!

And then the commercials come on. There is a moment of silence for the victims; but, in the meantime, buy a new mutual fund, Try AOL, refinance your mortgage, buy Dell, watch the History Channel. Oops, Little Cousin is back with an Expert in Heartbreaking National Tragedy who can shed light on how something this terrible could happen:
Little Cousin: HNT Expert, how could something like this happen?

HNT Expert: Apparently there was Something That Went Wrong. We haven't pinpointed exactly what it was, but we do know that It Could Have Caused the Tragedy. There will be an independent investigation to find out what happened.

Little Cousin: HNT Expert, let's watch the video clip again. Can you tell us what's going on as we watch The Tragedy?

HNT Expert: Yes. As you can see, everything is fine. The Americans are living... now...as you can see... they are dead. It's really devastating to see, no matter how many times you watch it...the Heartbreaking National Tragedy...really devastating...

Little Cousin: How do you think this will affect future attempts at being an American?

HNT Expert: Well, there is no reason to believe that Americans who are alive should be afraid that they'll die in a Heartbreaking National Tragedy, unless, of course, they are breathing, then there might be cause for some concern...

Little Cousin: Thank you, HNT Expert. (Little Cousin turns to camera.)

We will keep you updated on breaking news throughout the day on the Heartbreaking National Tragedy as more information is available. Stay tuned. Later on today, there will be a special edition of Shut the Fuck Up You Terrorist-Sympathizing Bastards that will look at the lives of the victims who perished in the accident....

And it goes on. The day is abuzz with anxious voices. People log on to their Big Brother Internet Box to find out more on the HNT newslinks, message boards, pics. Will the All-Star Gigabowl still go on? Will the upcoming movie on Heartbreaking National Tragedy not be released? Angry debates and fervent speculation seep into your consciousness hour by hour.

And Little Johnny is in his room, surfing on his laptop, looking for pics of HNT body parts on Google.

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America: A tragedy fiend?
o Yes 56%
o No 3%
o So What? The victims still deserve some respect. 40%

Votes: 215
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A Heartbreaking National Tragedy | 365 comments (333 topical, 32 editorial, 3 hidden)
Post this during 0700-1900 GMT... (3.23 / 17) (#3)
by gordonjcp on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:05:43 AM EST

... so that it stands a better chance of not getting voted down by humourless Americans.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


'kay.. (4.00 / 5) (#8)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:17:57 AM EST

I'll try to submit from 4:00-6:00 p.m. EST.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Humorless USians (nt) (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by BinaryTree on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:12:39 PM EST



[ Parent ]
No, no... (4.12 / 8) (#50)
by gordonjcp on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:19:38 PM EST

humourless USians, because the 'U' really pisses them off.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
We're not humo(u)rless (4.25 / 4) (#116)
by BinaryTree on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:29:38 AM EST

USian sense of humor just doesn't coincide with "HAHAHA! SOD SOD SOD WANKER WANKER WANKER CUNT CUNT CUNT BOLLOCKS BOLLOCKS BOLLOCKS ARSE ARSE ARSE USIAN USIAN USIAN YANK YANK YANK SHAG SHAG SHAG"

[ Parent ]
Of course not (none / 0) (#142)
by Psycho Les on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:10:29 AM EST

USian don't understand sarcasm and irony.

[ Parent ]
Haha. (none / 0) (#165)
by mnet on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:09:36 AM EST

SOunds like IRC users!

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#267)
by Eater on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:49:34 PM EST

Sounds like self-centered elitist pricks, but who am I to judge?

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Don't you mean Usonians? (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:12:37 AM EST


---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

On the other hand... (none / 0) (#193)
by bint on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:30:19 PM EST

Outside the US, some might have difficulties understanding the satire as the media coverage of the Columbus(*) shuttle hasn't been *that* intense.

(*)=local radio announcer's interpretation of the name.

[ Parent ]

Not intended as humor. (5.00 / 29) (#12)
by blixco on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:46:03 AM EST

If I may be so bold as to dissect the impulse that drove our favorite superdiva to write this: it's coming from a place of anger and annoyance at the commoditized nature of grief in this country. The major media outlets simply cannot wait to put stories like this out; they positively wet themselves presenting the horrorshows of reality in bright, shrink-wrapped sound bite laden emotional soundtrack driven pieces.

And tragedy is no place for showmanship, no place for the walking, smiling, hairsprayed hardons that dominate network television.

Tragedy is a quiet, reserved place. It deserves facts and time. It gets spin and engineered emotional response: "punch up the strings more in the background there, and make sure you pause after each mention of 'they found a torso.'"

For encapsulating this complex observation in a balanced way, ms. diva deserves applause.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." -

There was a long running satirical show (4.86 / 22) (#17)
by Rogerborg on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:04:58 AM EST

On UK TV in the 1990's called "Drop the Dead Donkey", set in a news studio.  It was vicious, biting and utterly incisive, and is highly recommended viewing if you want to keep some perspective on how you get your perspectives.

Standout moment?  Ace reporter Damian Day carrying around a soot blackened child's doll to place on the site of any human tragedy.

When we saw the same image from ground zero in NYC, the USA wept... and the UK drew in its collective breath and said "Wait just a damn minute..."

Tragedy is a commodity, sold and bought just like any other.  Buy all you want, but caveat emptor.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Reminds me of something a friend saw... (5.00 / 3) (#218)
by unDees on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:51:27 PM EST

...where the TV reporters purposefully placed a few stones on an otherwise immaculate beach near the historic D-day landing, so that President Clinton could pick them up one after another, ponder soberly, and cast them into the water, leaving the beach prettier than he found it.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]
Tom Shales (5.00 / 8) (#14)
by wiredog on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:57:24 AM EST

Washington Post TV columnist, A Compelling Story, Numbingly Repeated.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Great Editorial (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:03:33 AM EST

I have another favorite columnist, Mitch Albom, who will probably have a great op-ed on this too.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Hit the nail right on the head (4.77 / 27) (#15)
by JahToasted on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:02:58 AM EST

I turned the tv on saturday and while flicking through the channels I noticed they were talking about the shuttle a little more than usual. "the shuttle had seven astronauts on board" etc. blabbing on and on... talking about how many of them were married how somehow there families need our prayers. It took a good 20 minutes before I could find out what the hell happened. I knew right away that the shuttle was lost, but I had assumed that it must've been during takeoff (like challenger) since reentry was relatively safe. I had to sit through twenty minutes of blubbering before I could find out just that much.

I can't stand the media's lame ass attempts to constantly force feed emotions to us. I want information... I don't need your phony emotions. I have my own emotions I don't need some guy on the boob tube telling me how I should feel. Just tell me what the fuck is going on!

I know that all these astronauts have families, and I know its very sad for them. Everyone knows that. So don't bother telling me about them over and over.

I want information not a fucking soap opera.

Maybe not everybody is so mature? (4.00 / 3) (#81)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:00:36 PM EST

Emotionally I mean.

Maybe, not everybody can deal with simple emotions on their own. Maybe some people need to be told how to feel, some people feel better grieving because the TV tells them to. Maybe it makes their pain less real than it would otherwise be.

The media is in its current state for a reason, isn't it then.

[ Parent ]

Apathy (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by rdskutter on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:25:05 AM EST

Maybe if you ignored the media, or lived in a country where the media aren't so prolific then you would realise how little you actually do care about.

Maybe its insensitive to say "Shit happens!, ain't much I can do about it" but its got to be better than the media stirring up mass hysteria to get people watching the comercials.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

That's why I don't watch much TV anymore (none / 0) (#167)
by JahToasted on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:17:16 AM EST

well I do watch cartoons and some movies, and some of the better shows on HBO on sunday night. But my television viewing has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years.

Everytime I watch network TV, or listen to the latest pop music, ro worse yet, turn on MTV, I get a strange feeling like we are seeing the beginnings of a Brave New World. I think of a line from a Stone Temple Pilots song: "Somebody please think for me, I can't bear to."

[ Parent ]

that's me... (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:09:10 AM EST

When most things explode or mass amounts of people die, I don't usually care. Death is part of life, we all die. I do get emotionally affected when specific people die, either my relatives or authors. I cried for hours when Isaac Asimov died, the same for Douglas Adams. To me the deaths of those two men represent a loss to the world far greater than that of the WTC collapse.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

I didn't cry (none / 0) (#234)
by rdskutter on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:18:52 PM EST

But I do think about one of them most days. I read loads of Asimov when I was a kid and there's a lot of sci fi stories I read that are definitely Asimov's style.

Douglas Adams' death was far more tragic. He defined a lot of my sense of humour. ("A pan galatic gargle blaster is like being hit in the head by a slice of lemon wrapped around a brick"). That always makes me chuckle.

I'm struggling through The Salmon of Doubt at the moment. I'm sure Stephen Fry did his best, but really does not match up in the slightest to any of Douglas' completed works.

<SPOILER WARNING>

I finished Mostly Harmless last week and I think that it is the best book he has written. The best thing about it is that nothing at all happens in it. Its just about Arthur being happy making sandwiches.

Grief is personal. You can't televise it.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

Mostly Harmless. (none / 0) (#238)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:27:38 PM EST

I have a custom t-shirt on it, black, with white letters, that says "mostly harmless" across the front.
I liked "So long, and thanks for all the fish" best I think.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

How true! (4.61 / 21) (#30)
by coderlemming on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 01:13:59 PM EST

Someone needed to say this. People are quite quick to jump in and feel sadness and regret for such HNT's. It's a lie though... certainly we all feel sad that the trade center was bombed, or that the shuttle broke up, and I'm not denying that these events do, in fact, suck. But really... we don't know these people. We can force ourselves to cry, but in the end, we're just making a big fuss over being sad because we're Supposed to Feel Sad. I'm not suggesting feeling happy, and I'm not being callous... but I do think that forced hallmark sadness is itself degrading to the memory of the people involved. And just don't get me started about the "God Bless America" cash-in that's developed.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
Speak for yourself (none / 0) (#196)
by Karmakaze on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:40:28 PM EST

... certainly we all feel sad that the trade center was bombed, or that the shuttle broke up, and I'm not denying that these events do, in fact, suck.  But really... we don't know these people.

I happen to have known a number of those people.  Dead, narrowly escaped, and who helped pick though the wreckage pulling out body parts.

Can't say I'm nuts about the flag-hype myself, but it's not like the WTC was academic to all of us.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]
We will speak for ourselves (none / 0) (#310)
by pediddle on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:55:19 AM EST

Everyone, I'm sure, can feel sympathy for you then.  But 99% of the world is not so fortunate as to have a real reason for such an event to affect our lives.  After WTC, people at my school actually used their "grief" as an excuse for not getting homework in on time.  The media has created a society where we must all grieve during a national tragedy in order to be normal, and when those who don't grieve are put under the spotlight (a TV camera from the local news channel), they must act like they do.

I grieve because of the political fallout that these events cause, but not necessarily because they have any other affect on my life.

[ Parent ]

I'll be modding this down (3.05 / 19) (#34)
by kholmes on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 03:05:43 PM EST

But not because your article probably isn't funny but because *I* can't find it funny. Because, well, I was rather affected by the news and I don't think I can make light of it yet. Perhaps for some of you the incident itself couldn't compete for attention with the medium itself, while usually I would agree with you, but not now.

And I realize how odd it seems to be saying this to a culture who holds nothing sacred, but I know as a kid I was so optimistic towards the future and I really thought we've entered an enlightened era and one of the greatest symbols to that is our exploration of space.

But the tragedy of the Columbia should really make you think. Are we ready for space? Is it worth the risks and the costs? And you people want to go to Mars! How many lives is a trip to Mars worth? How many billions of dollars? For what! to put another American flag on a distant world?

And in the end, putting a flag on the moon or on Mars isn't really the great leap of mankind that we had thought. You see, to become that enlightened race we have to see ourselves as something less than human. We need to stop seeing ourselves as this giant dominant race but rather as something quite a bit less and yet, quite a bit more: mostly human. "homo sapien" translates to "wise man" and "humane" means a compassionate empathy for others and both require a certain humility with the world. You see, we've already set the ideals for ourselves; our only arrogance was in believing that we have attained it. And the cynics should make way for those of us who believe we can yet attain this ideal. For if we discover that we belong to a cruel world it is our duty to become the exceptions.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

what are you saying? (4.88 / 9) (#41)
by khallow on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:04:53 PM EST

But the tragedy of the Columbia should really make you think. Are we ready for space? Is it worth the risks and the costs? And you people want to go to Mars! How many lives is a trip to Mars worth? How many billions of dollars? For what! to put another American flag on a distant world?

"Are we ready for space?" Should we ask if we're ready for wheeled transportation every time someone dies in an automobile? Should we ask if we're ready for the secret of electricity every time someone sticks a finger in an outlet or gnaws on a power cord? Should we ask if we're ready for freedom every time someone does something stupid?

This kind of question is a tyrant's question. The answer is always the same. You're never "ready" because then I'd lose my power over you.

As far as putting a flag on Mars, it isn't the sum total of what space exploration is about. That accomplishment in itself is worthless to me as apparently it is to you. However, there are useful things that can be done on Mars or elsewhere, if we decide to go there. Further, useful things have to be done in order for someone to plant a flag on Mars or do anything else in person on Mars.

Ultimately, we have to deal with the risks and limitations of living on this planet. Space travel changes things for you. The eggs aren't all in the Terran basket. Many of the tradeoffs between an industrial civilization and the heritage of Earth vanish. The scale of human activity increases greatly in both space and time. These things come with a human cost as do most human endevours - worthwhile or not.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Life is worth very little... (4.87 / 8) (#45)
by gordonjcp on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:10:59 PM EST

... if all you do is sit around worrying about when you're going to die. How many lives is a trip to Mars worth? As many as it takes!

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
I'll be modding this up (4.00 / 7) (#46)
by Oblom on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:11:14 PM EST

Just being curious : are You ( *-americans, since you are talking for them I belive) ready for driving cars and owning guns ? I think that those two things cause way more deathes each day then this accident.

Any death of human is tragedy. Tragedy of Columbia is not a bigger tragedy then a car accident tragedy. It's just way more expensive tragedy. And way more covered by media tragedy.

[ Parent ]
You're so close, but not quite there (4.62 / 8) (#56)
by Control Group on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 05:24:21 PM EST

You're right, the Columbia exploding is no more tragic than any reasonably severe car accident. But that's not because the car accident is tragic, it's because the Columbia isn't.

The word "tragedy" has become so overused by the media that it has lost all meaning. The Columbia accident is tragic to all the family members of the crew. It's tragic to all the friends of the crew. It might even be tragic to anyone with a sufficiently significant interest in American space exploration - but I'm stretching.

Just because some people died does not make something a "tragedy." It makes it unfortunate, it makes it sobering, possibly saddening. "Tragedy" should be reserved for things which are...well, tragic. Thousands of people dying in a surprise attack is tragic. Millions of people starving to death in Africa is tragic. The systematic trampling of fundamental human rights in various countries is tragic.

"Tragedy," in my mind, is not defined by whether or not the media's fancy is caught, but by actual consequences to people.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

I am there (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Oblom on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 06:55:03 PM EST

I just used to be laconic.

PS. Couldn't write it better myself.

[ Parent ]
Tragic (4.25 / 4) (#80)
by godix on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:00:25 PM EST

So your definition of tragic is entirely based on how many people are affected?

I gotta disagree with that. Tragic is when hopes are killed. Note that under this definition that very few things are tragic to everyone. Some may consider the 2K election tragic, I considered it a better political parody than SNL could ever hope to do.

9/11 was tragic not because of the deaths, but because of the effect it had on Americans. Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin weren't tragic because of how many people they killed, they were tragic because it destroyed hopes that people are fundamentally good and humanity is civilized. My fathers heart attack wasn't tragic because he died (he didn't), but because it destroyed my illusion of immortality amoung people close to me. Replacing a system that got men on the moon with something that can't even get half way there was tragic. Columbia exploding wasn't tragic because few have any hope for space exploration by now anyway.


It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction.
- Rusty[ Parent ]

That's pretty much what I meant (none / 0) (#152)
by Control Group on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:14:01 AM EST

I guess I didn't say it well enough. I didn't mean to say tragedy is based on number of people dead, but on the number of people who consider it tragic - i.e., are personally stricken by the event.

Or at least, that's the definition I use vis a vis the media's use of the word. There are several things which were tragic to me (I still get all teary-eyed when I remember the two blown head gaskets on my first car), but aren't "tragedies" in the general sense of the term.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Tragedy overused? How about hero? (4.33 / 3) (#200)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:49:28 PM EST

I agree that tragedy is overused, but I don't think it is as overused as "hero".  Nowadays, *anybody* who is the victim of a "tragedy" is a "hero", along with just about everyone else who died not of natural causes.

These people in the Columbia shuttle?  Now, for them it isn't completely outlandish to call them heroes, but it still isn't really fitting.  But really I would say they are "inspirationl role models", "good people", "extremely gifted", etc.  Why should they be "heroes", per se?  

On the 9/11 flight that crashed in the field, the people who risked (and gave) their lives for that are heroes.  But the people in the other planes, or any victims who died in the buildings, they aren't heroes, unless they did something extraordinary for people.  (I'm sure there were many heroic acts that took place on that day, but calling everyone who died a "hero" marginalizes those acts).

I don't mean that in a heartless way.  They also aren't champions, geniuses, saviors, or prodigies just because they died tragically.

I know the "hero" label is not an exact science.  I just think you shouldn't say it if you don't believe it.  Like, if someone says "my mother is my hero"... fine, I'm not going to scrutinize it and pick it apart.  But if a politician, newscaster, or anyone else loosely involved uses "hero" for something that is not really heroic, it just sounds like insulting lip service.

I'd like to be called a lot of great names, including "hero", but if it isn't something that really applies to me, I don't want it.  Then it feels like they are talking about a made up person based on me because there isn't enough there for me to be missed otherwise.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]

Straight up. (1.00 / 1) (#83)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:05:23 PM EST



[ Parent ]
How many lives is a trip to Mars worth? (4.57 / 14) (#47)
by the on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:12:07 PM EST

A better question: how many freely given lives are worth a trip to Mars?

Today we live in a sanitized society where death is the Thing That Should Not Happen. What happened to humanity? Someone sues for millions when they spill coffee on themselves (please don't point me to the 'facts' about this story) or poison themselves with tobacco. Nobody is allowed to die, or even be injured (except for oil of course). Whatever happened to humanity striving against adversity? I'd go on that trip to Mars. I'm sure just on K5 you'll find hundreds of others. I'm sure NASA have no shortage of people with ambition enough to think that this fight is worth it. This is the difference between being a vegetable and being a human.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

No... (none / 0) (#289)
by kholmes on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:18:17 AM EST

You misunderstand me completely, and probably do a bit worse as I'll describe.

"A better question: how many freely given lives are worth a trip to Mars?"

Don't be so pompous. You just rephrased the question to suit yourself. Sort of like how you can change the question on a questionaire to get completely different responses from the same people. That wasn't the point of my comment. I could have slanted my question anyway I wanted but the point was to get people to consider it. Have you been watching the news? The most obvious response to the incident, in my mind at least, isn't even considered by the media. They blame funding; they blame NASA; they blame the technology. But they never question whether or not our kind is ready for space. That they gave their lives freely---what a horrid way of speaking! Thats what we say about soldiers and warriors---not explorers. And the difference between war and exploration is that with exploration, we can be patient. We can wait until we are ready. And we won't have to console ourselves with rhetoric about "freely given lives".

"Today we live in a sanitized society where death is the Thing That Should Not Happen. What happened to humanity?"

Yes, you're probably right about our sanitized society and I admit its a good point. Then again, if our society was really sanitized we wouldn't have the death penalty nor these petty wars; we'd all be taking public transportation and the police would not be armed. You see, I'm not part of that sanitized culture and nor do I have to be to believe as I do. To me, I ascribe a great deal of worth to human lives and sometimes, for causes like freedom and justice, I believe they are worth human lives. But this incident has nothing to do with any such cause, but rather, its a technological problem---an engineering mistake. And such is the problem with technology in that its perfection requires incidents like this to learn from. When a computer application crashes, you send a bug report and someone rolls out a new release. But how many lives is the next technological glitch worth? In my view, none at all.

"I'm sure just on K5 you'll find hundreds of others."

You must be joking...

"I'm sure NASA have no shortage of people with ambition enough to think that this fight is worth it."

I'm sure these same people would much rather like to see the program go out of BETA, first. And like I said above, these are suppose to be explorers, not warriors.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

We can wait until we are ready. (none / 0) (#320)
by the on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:39:26 PM EST

Er...no. If we wait until then (where 'ready' means the chance of accident is <1 in a million say) then I'll be dead anyway. In fact, waiting is close to 100% fatal. Flying on the shuttle now is only 1% fatal.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
I'll be modding down your comment (4.07 / 13) (#52)
by askey on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:23:51 PM EST

But not because your comment probably isn't insightful or sensible but because *I* can't agree with it. Because, well, I was rather impressed by the submission and I don't think I can tolerate comments against it.

[ Parent ]
I'd .Sig This... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Canar on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:41:38 PM EST

...if there was enough space... sighs

[ Parent ]
Comment ratings are useless, really (none / 0) (#287)
by kholmes on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:46:37 AM EST

They just tell you how popular a specific viewpoint is. In my opinion, the online democracy has to go.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
How many people? Tons, I'll bet! (4.80 / 5) (#61)
by Greyjack on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:28:23 PM EST

How many lives is a trip to Mars worth?

Well, given historical precedent, I'd say, oh, a shitload.  Do a google search on the phrase "died during construction" if you want to find a few examples of how expendable human life is in the pursuit of building Really Big Things.

Since putting men on Mars would be Really, Really Fucking Big, I imagine we'd burn through at least a few dozen or so people, as long as they're blue-collar low-wage types.

Compared to other monumental endeavors, that'd be chump change.

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
Fuck jet fuel, burn people! (5.00 / 4) (#85)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:08:17 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Shit! (1.00 / 1) (#88)
by JChen on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:15:58 PM EST

Someone 5 this one; the 0 was for the one above it.

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
um.. you can change your own ratings [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#93)
by infinitera on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:54:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Just a small me too (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by Pac on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:53:05 PM EST

I am not even American and I don't really care whose flag ends up there first (and I am certain that if we do it in the next two or three decades it won't be my country's). But my answer to your question is  "how many it takes, how much it takes".

And while you speak from a rather local point of view, I think  the sooner we get there the better. Eventually we must get out of this planet if we are to survive as a species. Better start early.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Lives? Count 'em! (4.80 / 5) (#113)
by Aetius on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:17:42 AM EST

In roughly 50 years of there being an American space program, do you know how many astronauts have died? Including Saturday's deaths: 24 If our space program were a traffic intersection, that wouldn't even be enough to justify a traffic light. And people who go into space are already more aware of the dangers they face than most people who drive cars.

[ Parent ]
You Misunderstand (5.00 / 3) (#136)
by DarkZero on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:14:15 AM EST

Because, well, I was rather affected by the news and I don't think I can make light of it yet. Perhaps for some of you the incident itself couldn't compete for attention with the medium itself, while usually I would agree with you, but not now.

You misunderstand the point of the article. It's not making light of a tragedy. The goddamn music video bastards at CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News that are putting montages of family photos on the air next to a video of people's deaths and against the sound of obnoxious opera music are the ones making light of it. They're exploiting this for money by showing off all of their audio, video, and all-around presentational expertise in the most ghoulish and exploitative way possible in order to get the people that are looking to them for news to stick around with them afterwards and give them higher ratings. They know that people like you are affected by this and they're betting that if they put on a sad enough show, they can catch you on the rebound and make you a new viewer.

This story isn't making light of a tragedy. It's telling the people that really are doing that to go fuck themselves. It's mocking the media that makes a mockery of human death, not mocking the human death itself.

[ Parent ]

Oh joy! (1.21 / 42) (#35)
by m0rzo on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 03:27:08 PM EST

Yet another embittered, twisted geek, angry with the world for hating him, empowering himself with the edit queue. You're not funny, as such. I say that because you're not funny in the old sense of me laughing at your brilliant, razor-sharp wit. You're funny because when I read this I imagined you, wheel chair-bound, slobbering in a heap over your keyboard, a long, dangling, sticky string of saliva trailing onto your desk; your wrists limp and lifeless as you try, hopelessly, to bite your ear. That's why you're funny. And that's why I laughed. Har, har, har.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
idiot (3.62 / 8) (#36)
by turmeric on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 03:36:45 PM EST

im sure alot of people said shakespeare was a hack

[ Parent ]
That Carl Sagan quote (2.00 / 1) (#201)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:54:56 PM EST

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.



Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Yeah baby! (4.33 / 6) (#39)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 03:40:28 PM EST

You're funny because when I read this I imagined you, wheel chair-bound, slobbering in a heap over your keyboard, a long, dangling, sticky string of saliva trailing onto your desk; your wrists limp and lifeless as you try, hopelessly, to bite your ear. That's why you're funny. And that's why I laughed. Har, har, har.
Whatever hoists your flag, dude. :D
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
That hoisted my flag. (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:09:24 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You're not smart enough to troll nt (5.00 / 4) (#104)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:16:08 AM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
You're not smart. (1.33 / 3) (#206)
by m0rzo on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:13:02 PM EST

Learn to spell 'Ayn Rand'.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Dear Sir, (5.00 / 3) (#288)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:11:19 AM EST

Please be aware that my signature is a troll, albeit one that only catches the least intelligent of the community. Do not ponder the irony of the situation and have a lovely day.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
The submission is now in the voting queue... (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 03:56:32 PM EST

But I've saved the final version and will probably post it to my website.

Thanks to everyone who thought it was +1 material. It has been an interesting K5 experience. :)
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
No matter its final destiny (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by Pac on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:27:30 PM EST

At least you made into my diary watch. Be happy... :)

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Thanks, Pac. : ) (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 05:07:35 PM EST


__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Well (4.37 / 8) (#43)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:07:36 PM EST

This isn't nearly as funny as one might hope, but it does ridicule something I particularly despise about modern culture, so I voted +1 because I think mockery should be promoted. :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Thanks. (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:19:31 PM EST

I've already said somewhere in the thread that my goal wasn't really to get laughs, but to give the media front covering the tragedy the finger.

I can only wonder of the story will get the "pecan pancake" treatment in the voting queue. ;P
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
I think that enough of us here (5.00 / 2) (#87)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:11:47 PM EST

are sincerely embittered and cynical enough to vote it up!

Up with the finger I say!

UP!

[ Parent ]

Now imagine a Beewulf cluster of these... (4.61 / 13) (#51)
by Pac on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 04:22:47 PM EST

Even more interesting is that now most American HNTs quickly become HWTs. Whatever happens in the heart of the Empire is dutifully reproduced by media outlets all over the world.

There are at least two major reasons for this. First, the media industry is trully global, and the major news agencies are the same everywhere. A Reuters text will be published in all known languages, a CNN video footage will run around the world following the eight o'clock timeline. Second, the US nowdays acts as a major cultural magnet, attracting the hearts and minds of the cultural elites everywhere. Be it to praise it or to blast it, the United States are the main point of reference against which one measures his/her ideas.

The effect is somewhat numbing and probably self-defeating. Most people couldn't care less about what happens a thousand miles from their village (actually, the same way American usually do not care about what happens away from their villages). People care about prices rising, employment falling, the movie they will see tomorrow or the neighbours' new car. No matter how sad the news are, Pierre Doe, Franz Smith and Caterina Whoever can't really emphatize with half-a-dozen foreign astronauts, no matter how important their respective news anchors think this is. The United States news overload, by making people more and more bored with USian news, may well be one of the contributing factors for people all over the world disliking the United States.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


don't be so sure (5.00 / 3) (#63)
by tichy on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:30:08 PM EST

I could pretty much stay ignorant of the whole space shuttle affair simply by avoiding the two CNNs (original and local flavor). This probably attests to the fact that this HNT is not as significant as 9/11, which was broadcasted live pretty much everywhere. 9/11 was a HWT, not because the media wanted it so, but because it would changed US policy, something everyone realized at the time. The symbolism of it was not lost on reporters, and the shuttle disaster lacks it.

Your basic point is, however, true, just not as bad as you think (yet). One of the reasons is that those multinational media corporations did not buy media all over the world so that they would lose money, and constant coverage of US-Centric events would tend to do that, I think. Instead, the effect is more subtle; the spin of the local news.

The United States news overload, by making people more and more bored with USian news, may well be one of the contributing factors for people all over the world disliking the United States.
Maybe, but I would think this pales in comparison to actual US policies in its annoyance factor.

[ Parent ]

Not so easy down here (none / 0) (#144)
by Pac on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:25:32 AM EST

In Brazil, all major broadcast TV stations spent the day showing Columbia's explosion. On cable, the major local news channel (owned by the largest and most powerful TV network in South America) was undistinguisable from CNN. And then CNN (both, as you said),BBC, Deutsch Welle... The list goes on.

My point is, yes, if I wanted to watch a Friends rerun, some cartoons or a movie, I certainly could. If I wanted Brazilian news I was prety much out of luck.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
The sad thing (5.00 / 5) (#134)
by Rogerborg on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:37:26 AM EST

Is that even the BBC has gone News-O-Rama over this.  The same fireball played over and over, the same slavish broadcasting of Bush II's speech.

That's where it got bizarre.  The BBC running the entirety of speech by a US President-assumptive about a US incident.  Why?

Same reason as everybody else, I suppose.  Prurient interest, and because they have footage of the deaths.  Hey, it happened on camera, so it must be newsworthy.

Meanwhile, according to Unicef, 160 Iraqi children died today as a direct result of US sanctions, and nobody gives a fuck, because they didn't die on camera.

It's a strange, sad, fucked up world we live in.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

I saw it, I saw it! (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by Pac on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:12:51 AM EST

I kept waiting for that bald guy from Hardline (or whatever) to break into the NASA press conference and start making a string of uncomfortable questions and interrupting the speakers. But he never showed up.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Yes! (4.00 / 6) (#57)
by ENOENT on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 05:29:03 PM EST

This story is the most insightful view of American culture that I've ever read. Everything it says is absolutely true, except that "Little Cousin" isn't the best name for the job--"color commentator" is better. Disaster is America's #1 spectator sport.

So nyah.


Well, yes... (2.00 / 1) (#174)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:07:08 AM EST

I hear that the rest of the world loves a rousing tragedy as well, and commercialize all that we should hold sacred for the sake of a few more dollars. No country is free from this taint. Keep that in mind.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

You forgot.... (3.88 / 9) (#58)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 06:52:42 PM EST

.... Dear Leader gives teary speech.

I heard two sentences, I changed the radio station.

Mr Bush should avoid long speeches like the plague.

"Stay a while, I'm distraught but juiced on your nearness."- johnny

actually, (5.00 / 4) (#66)
by postindustrialist on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:48:22 PM EST

he should avoid the long speeches and try to catch the plague
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
[ Parent ]
Long speeches? Nah. (5.00 / 4) (#114)
by henrik on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:20:40 AM EST

Mr Bush should avoid long sentences like the plague.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]
Why all this focus on the US? (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by Delirium on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:35:45 AM EST

I seem to recall the leaders of France, Israel, Australia, and Italy, among others, making similarly dramatic speeches, along with various ministers from Belgium, India, China, the UK, and so on. Bush did too, but I don't see what's particularly noteworthy about him making a dramatic teary-eyed speech on a day when just about every major world leader made such a speech.

[ Parent ]
He, (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:34:47 AM EST

I heard other speeches and they were not teary (not preachy. Bush quoting the Bible was distasteful. Only Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US seem comfortable with such practices).

PS: I did not hear the speech, but after getting notice about how bad it was I read excerpts. Abominable, people being remembered deserve better.

"Stay a while, I'm distraught but juiced on your nearness."- johnny
[ Parent ]

Damn (3.80 / 5) (#60)
by jman11 on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:12:58 PM EST

I voted this -1 without even reading it.  Why?  I thaught it was Yet Another Sentimental Lets Pause And Think Article.

Teaches me, hope it makes it thorugh voting anyway.

Ah, sweet irony n/t (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by coderlemming on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:31:46 PM EST




--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
It's triple sweet when it's double irony (none / 0) (#89)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:16:48 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Vote with your other account. ; ) (none / 0) (#76)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:30:25 PM EST


__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
WTF are you talking about?? (3.00 / 12) (#62)
by NaCh0 on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:28:30 PM EST

This is the most incoherent trash I've seen in a long while.

Something of national interest deserves to break thru the regularly scheduled program. The space program and terrorist attacks within our borders qualify as national interest.

I agree it is usually overdone by the media. But according to the ratings, a lot of people care.
-1
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.

But who posts the ratings? (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by knoblaw on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:58:28 PM EST


I'm not an American citizen, I'm only human...
[ Parent ]
National Interest (5.00 / 13) (#73)
by superdiva on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:19:19 PM EST

I hope can shed more light on my "incoherent trash" in response to your comment: I'm not talking about the interruption of regularly scheduled programming. I will, at the very least, say that the Columbia disaster merited some alert. But let me backtrack to 9-11 for a moment:

I never thought I would EVER see anything like I did that day when I saw the second hijacked jet fly through the World Trade Center. Ever.

It blew me the fuck away that morning. And at this moment, I STILL can't believe that I saw people jumping from a building then watch what seemed like two impregnable buildings just collapse like a stack of cards.

I went to work and the streets were a madhouse. In the library where I worked, the auditorium was packed to full capacity while broadcasting CNN. Every major city in the nation was on alert.

That day as the disaster happened right before my eyes, I wanted a consistent connection to the some news outlet because of the nature of the crisis. I watched CNN for several hours, not because I wanted to gorge on tragedy, but because I knew that the world would never be the same.

But what's happened since then? Has Osama Bin Laden been caught? Are we free from terrorism? Has the conflict with the Middle East been resolved? No. Not at all. The past 16 months has been a media merry-go-round with speculation of Bin Laden's whereabouts and now a war on Iraq as some de facto fight on the War on Terrorism. Nothing has really been righted.

And after the secret memos on covert ops emerge or some new headline sparks hysteria of another attack, you realize the people who died during 9-11 pretty much died in vain.

It's all pretty much empty rhetoric, now matter how it gets spun on T.V. or the newspapers. The lives that are lost during these HNTs will be blown-up, resized, edited, photoshopped, taped, spliced, cut, processed, and developed, until any real meaning of their existence on earth will be nil.

That's what I grieve for.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Ratings schmatings (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:21:06 PM EST

While I agree with your point, this is a very bad example:

>But according to the ratings, a lot of people
>care.

A lot of people care about Britney's records and boobs and the everyday antics of a certain senile heavy metal star.

Shit is good. Five hundred gazillion flies can't be wrong.

But who cares about this?

--
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell


[ Parent ]
Have to agree.... (+1FP) (4.84 / 25) (#65)
by bobsandwitch on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:33:14 PM EST

With this one. Russell Brown (New Zealand media commentator) has a similar sentiement:

[quote]
In the same few days as seven astronauts died when the Columbia space shuttle broke up on re-entry, nine people died in a train accident in Sydney, 40 people died in a train crash in Zimbabwe, 15 people died in a terrorist bus bombing in Afghanistan and 46 people died in what appeared to be a terrorist bomb attack in Nigeria.

So why did the shuttle accident fill five full pages in the New Zealand Herald on Monday, while the others (with the brief exception of the Sydney crash) got world-page headlines at best? It's not because any of these sad events was, in human terms, any more or less tragic than the others. Comparison of tragedies is fruitless.

But there were reasons that the shuttle accident got a much higher profile in the news than the others: it happened on TV and over America; hence, there were compelling pictures, breaking reports, extensive back-stories on the international crew, background and analysis. It was a no-brainer for the editors of Sunday's TV news and Monday morning's papers.

[end quote]

http://www.publicaddress.net/default,hardnews.sm#post252

It's not so simple. (4.60 / 5) (#94)
by coljac on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:57:14 PM EST

If the Columbia was a commuter plane or a train, would it have had 5 pages in a New Zealand newspaper, even if it was captured on film. I don't think so.

The space shuttle and the space program, for all the interest they generate when nothing goes wrong, I think are widely acknowledged as something important to history and humanity.



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

well..... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by bobsandwitch on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:41:45 PM EST

If the Columbia was a commuter plane or a train, would it have had 5 pages in a New Zealand newspaper, even if it was captured on film. I don't think so.

Nope, more likely to have 3 or so - as the Bali bombing did - and there was limited media coverage of that. The front page of the newspaper was pretty much just ONE image of the shuttle breaking up..... stuff all text, just the picture.

The space shuttle and the space program, for all the interest they generate when nothing goes wrong, I think are widely acknowledged as something important to history and humanity.

From memory, the space program gets almost zero publicity when everything goes right. The media (US, NZ, world) only cares if something bad happens....

I DO agree it is something important tho - but if the US Government thinks it IS so important, why does they cut funding constantly?

which is why I avoid it as much as I can. Especially CNN....



[ Parent ]
I agree. (none / 0) (#198)
by DavidTC on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:42:12 PM EST

The sadness I feel is, really, from the blow the space program may have suffered. Luckily, the general consensus of the media seems to be 'we'll overcome this setback', not 'space flight is too risky', so I doubt we'll have another Challenger-type break from space travel.

It sounds cynical to value a multi-million dollar spacecraft over seven people's lifes, and if I could pick between them I would pick the seven people's life. That said, the lost of a space shuttle will have a much larger effect on anything even vaguely related to me than the lost of seven lifes...people I don't know, to be blunt, die all the time. For God's sake, we're about to go to war.

Whereas the space shuttles are important not because of what they do, but because of what we're trying to do with them. Thank god that it looks like we're going to develop some sort of replacement vehicle, possibly boosting the space program a bit, instead of just cowardly running away.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Live vs Money (none / 0) (#283)
by coljac on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:21:50 AM EST

The shuttle was worth what, $4 billion? I wonder, if it came to it, at what point as a society do we value an object over a person? What if one person could save the ISS from crashing into the atmosphere by venting all the oxygen? Should we expect him to do so?

Wow, heavy.



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

agreed, remember... (none / 0) (#161)
by google on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:56:58 AM EST

that the bigger the country the bigger the baby...

[ Parent ]
And don't forget... (none / 0) (#194)
by DavidTC on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:35:46 PM EST

...over 1000 people died of lung cancer from smoking. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
One was infrequent, the other is not (4.25 / 4) (#202)
by goodwine on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:02:30 PM EST

First, there is a space shuttle "disaster" once every 17 years or so, but there are train accidents practically every week. The former is (was) unique, the latter is not.

Second, as you indicated, there was video. Watching the event happen is more compelling for the average viewer.

Third, to some extent the astronauts were heroes. Now, most people are heroes to some people and generally benevolent, but their death in a train accident simply isn't of much interest to most people. However, it is hard to deny that the astronauts died in an endeavor which was designed to promote the advancement of science, which will generally benefit all of humanity. (I know that many think unmanned space flight can accomplish most of the same, but if NASA decides, incorrectly or not, that manned space exploration is the way to go, then, individually, the astronauts did die for the advancement of science. Debating NASA policy is another matter.)

A train accident is not the same as a space shuttle accident simply because a comparable number of lives were lost. It's apples and oranges (or space shuttles and trains).

[ Parent ]

If your not American your a lesser being... (4.47 / 21) (#67)
by knoblaw on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:52:04 PM EST

The media would have us believe that the Columbia's demise is an earth shattering event, simply because it was an extremely watch-able sound and light spectacular, and because American lives were lost. If this had been a Russian spacecraft crash it would be dismissed as a quirky news item, on page 9 of the paper. If this was an earthquake in India, which killed 2000 and left many more homeless, it might of made it to page 4.

But when an American is killed in such lovely fireworks display the media love nothing more than to splash it all over page 1, and act as if the world had stopped turning on its axis.

I'm not an American citizen, I'm only human...

That's pretty much bullshit. (4.66 / 6) (#82)
by jjayson on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:03:26 PM EST

The earthquake in Iran, the hostage crisis in Russia, almost any loss of life is guaranteed front page. Do you even look at the front-page of the newspaper?
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
true. (4.33 / 3) (#97)
by aphrael on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:06:48 PM EST

but the earthquake in iran did not get the saturation coverage in the media that the space shuttle is still getting.

In the case of the World Trade Center I thought it was justified. In this case I think it's just kinda strange.

[ Parent ]

well, it's not as spectacular (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Delirium on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:39:05 AM EST

Other spectacular things, like the Russian hostage standoff, did get pretty saturated media coverage.

If you want them to give coverage proportionate to number of lives lost, they should devote nearly all their time to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and car accidents. I don't think anyone particularly wants that.

[ Parent ]

Coverage... (4.80 / 5) (#130)
by Znork on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:11:58 AM EST

Of course, if they did devote their time to heart attacks, strokes, cancer and car accidents then maybe the same amount of money and energy that's spent on the War on Terror might actually get spent trying to find a cure for various diseases and making traffic safer... which might save several dozen WTC attacks worth of lives per year.

But why would anyone want that?

Of course, that's not going to happen until someone piles a years worth of car wreck victims on the Whitehouse lawn, at which point it might look like Good TV and a Heartbreaking National Tragedy (not to mention it would obscure the presidents view).

[ Parent ]

I'll bet you didn't even know (3.85 / 7) (#109)
by Kinthelt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:01:09 AM EST

that there was an avalanche in Revelstoke, British Columbia that killed seven schoolchildren. It barely made the news here. In my opinion, the deaths of seven children is greater than the deaths of seven astronauts.

[ Parent ]
You mean... (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by jjayson on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:22:20 AM EST

the story I just saw on the local news?
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, right... (2.75 / 4) (#172)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:51:49 AM EST

School Children are non-productive, useless, and much more likely to end up being welfare slurping drones or criminals than do anything productive. 7 ADULTS who spent their lives in the pursuit of getting our species off of this mudball for good just got blow to pieces. I'd say their future contributions to society far outweigh the likely possible contributions of 7 little kids. So societally losing 7 astronaughts is far worse.

Kids are NOT more valuable than adults, frequently they are LESS valuable.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Of course... (5.00 / 1) (#180)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:31:49 AM EST

...we don't really believe that now, do we, because than we would be objectifying and placing a price tag on human life. And that's just something that decent folk don't do, right? Right. So I can only conclude that your attempt at humor is sorely lacking and completely inappropriate at this time.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

the reason it's getting such big airplay... (2.00 / 1) (#191)
by joshsisk on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:22:34 PM EST

...isn't just that seven people died.

It also raises the question : "should we continue manned space flight?"

It also shows that America isn't infallible (in case anyone didn't know that one already).
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

I heard about it the day it happened (none / 0) (#205)
by aonifer on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:12:41 PM EST

on CNN.

[ Parent ]
WTF? (5.00 / 6) (#135)
by DarkZero on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:58:55 AM EST

I watched the live coverage of this about three hours after it happened. There were half hour blocks of reminders that there was an Israeli on board. They went through his life history, they went through his parents' life histories, they had a full explanation of his role on the shuttle, they had the reaction from his government and Israeli citizens... I started to wonder if there were actually Americans on board or if it was just an Israeli man and a bunch of cardboard cowboy cutouts with "AMERICAN" stamped on them. The only information that I saw about the individual American astronauts were a few tidbits sandwiched between every detail of the Israeli astronaut's life.

[ Parent ]
Well, yes. (none / 0) (#182)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:44:42 AM EST

Just like that Russian spacecraft would have made the front pages of the local Russian papers, and just like how that earthquake in India would have gotten over-saturated by the local media there (hey, it's already happened! A couple of times!). Most other nation-states are just as ego-centric as the US, you know. Don't be such a narrow minded fool.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

I would pay not to live in America... (none / 0) (#284)
by Liet on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:58:03 AM EST

but maybe thats just me. BTE I live in Sydney (thats in Australia for all you Americans).

[ Parent ]
You forgot the commercial. (4.77 / 27) (#68)
by godix on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 07:54:44 PM EST

Stirring patriotic song plays in the background. A flag is waving, filling the screen. The following words slowly scroll onto screen:

'When Baby Jessica fell down a well we cried like little babies, because we cared.'

'When Rodney King was beaten we closed all our stores in LA during the riots, because we cared.'

'When Elian Gonzolaz was forced back to Cuba we moved our jobs there, because we cared.'

'After 9/11 we donated .001% of a days profit to survivors, because we cared.'

'When the space shuttle blew up we did a press conference where we looked really serious and sad, because we cared.'

'Buy from Walmart, because we care.'

'Made in China.'


It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction.
- Rusty

I thought I was as jaded as it gets (4.50 / 8) (#71)
by jabber on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:09:45 PM EST

You win.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

+1 FP (3.41 / 12) (#74)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:20:52 PM EST

Thank you for saying what we all think, but were all afraid to say. I think the media pumps this stuff up way beyond how much anyone cares about it. Everyone just has to go along because they don't want to be the asshole who calls the game.

I think pieces like this are what make sights like this worthwhile. It enboldens people to say it like it is, which enboldens others to embrace "bad" opinions.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

It's hard to avoid (3.00 / 1) (#207)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:15:11 PM EST

I think the media pumps this stuff up way beyond how much anyone cares about it. Everyone just has to go along because they don't want to be the asshole who calls the game.
I wouldn't blame the media for it either. It's sort of like everybody playing a game of chicken-- nobody wants to be the first to move on and seem heartless. It's like the whole thing with putting up American flags everywhere after 9/11. Slowly, people were wondering if it was okay to take the flag down from the car window now... they sure didn't want to be the first though.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Conflicting Views (4.41 / 12) (#75)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:23:29 PM EST

This is a repost from the diary entry.

As tasteless as this is a day after the Columbia accident, I think it is right on. I couldn't help wondering yesterday if Americans don't get some pleasure from coming together after a tragedy and mourning as a nation. Did that many Americans really follow the space program? I consider myself a supporter of space exploration but I didn't even know the shuttle was in space until it was lost yesterday. It seems that many people jump at the chance to call the victims heroes, say "God bless America," and condemn the evildoers if applicable.

Perhaps our emotional isolation has trained us to react in a less-than-genuine way whenever there is a HNT. It is a chance to connect with people who are feeling the same feelings, a time when Americans don't have to feel self-conscious about being emotional. Usually the news is about scaremongering, cynicism, and most importantly placing the blame. After a disaster the news certainly feels more genuine - at the moment it'd still be rude to condemn NASA and the space program as being too dangerous. I think this frankness in the news is mirrored in people. This is their only opportunity to mourn, before "sadness" turns to "resolve" and "solidarity" turns to "patriotism."

Some may accuse this diary or this comment of "dishonoring the memories," not "thinking of the victims' families," etc. Don't bother, we've all heard it before. Alternatively: Don't worry, you'll get to say it again.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

Yeugh. (1.76 / 13) (#78)
by Imperfect on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 08:47:56 PM EST

This is the kind of garbage I typically saw on freaking E/N sites a couple of years back. I had hoped we had matured beyond that since then.

Not perfect, not quite.
Hrmm... (5.00 / 19) (#84)
by mstefan on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:08:10 PM EST

To be honest, I'm not sure how to feel about this. It's incredibly cynical, but there's also a lot of truth in what's being said. There's no doubt that the media is is looking to play every emotional angle there is. I was in college when the Challenger exploded, and remember how disgusted I was that reporters were shoving microphones in the faces of these crying children asking them how they felt about the accident. Then I saw the same sort of thing Saturday, with reporters interviewing parents and their kids who were standing around with shocked looks on their faces.

To some extent, shared expressions of grief are a positive thing; it's a coping mechanism. However, the media often goes beyond this and encourages us to wallow in that grief so that they can sell more Cheez Whiz™. I mean, exactly how many times did they really need to show the shuttle exploding?

On the other hand, I understand why people find themselves grieving for folks that they don't even know. Astronauts have a certain hero status among most Americans. They symbolize the things that we like the most about ourselves and what we aspire to be. If you read the bios of most astronauts (and cosmonauts too), by and large they're pretty impressive people: doctors, engineers, scientists, test pilots, and probably most importantly, adventurers. Many of them have already accomplished things in their life that the rest of us can only aspire to. So I think there's not a small amount of vicariousness there, as well as some communal pride. Not to mention that it's always poignant when a hero dies doing the very thing that makes him or her heroic.



Top notch. (3.12 / 8) (#91)
by Subtillus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:26:10 PM EST

Satire is my friend and since you seem to have made satire your bitch for the day, you can also be my friend.

wow (2.72 / 11) (#92)
by VoxLobster on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 09:51:40 PM EST

that's the best story i've seen in the queue in a long time...i wish i could vote +2FP on this. well done.

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

So I says to Mabel I says (1.00 / 18) (#95)
by Hide The Hamster on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:50:26 PM EST

Mabel! Bring me my ass-pad!!!!!!!


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

Hearts broken by guilt (5.00 / 8) (#98)
by arthurpsmith on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:19:28 PM EST

We are the reason the lofty ideals of the space program have, for the past 30+ years, been crushed under congressional nickel-and-diming, pork, and corporate welfare. We turned away from space, happy with our 400 satellite channels, the GPS maps in our SUV's, content that our military's overwhelming (satellite-enhanced) superiority would protect us from all harm. We turned to our own petty fears, of growing old, of not retiring as millionaires, of regimes and cultures in other countries so different from our own. And now, with this brutal reminder that there are still a few who, even knowing the odds, tempting death, lived to fulfill our old forgotten dreams - well, our hearts break not so much for their loss, but for our having forgotten for so long their sacrifices.

And in New York - how much of the heartbreak was for the loss itself, and how much more of it for the collective guilt of a country that had grown fond of hating New Yorkers, and now realized that so many of that city risked so much, as symbols and enablers of our country's wealth? A city long neglected, in a state that has for decades contributed far more to the rest of the country than it has received in return. Yes, it was a great tragedy. But it was that much more of a tragedy because it forced us to face up to our previous less than noble feelings.

The people of the US have grown far too comfortable - we not only avoid sacrifice, but spend our days in almost pure self-indulgence. The realization that that all comes at a price is more than heart-wrenching.

Of course the media have no real interest in facing our underlying guilt - what they are practicing is guilt-avoidance through information overload. Which the country as a whole seems to want, but which is far from healthy. But rational discussion of our habits and priorities doesn't fit into 30-second sound bites, and I fear there's little hope for improvement now...

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


what americans want to watch (3.87 / 8) (#101)
by blisspix on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 11:55:27 PM EST

on the news: bad things that would never happen to them

in sitcoms: things that are not so bad, but better that they happen to other people

in magazines: bad things that happen to famous people

People like to be constantly reassured that they are ok and have a good life. If the news was positive, full of happy stuff, mrs Joe watching it would not feel too good about herself. If, heaven forbid, something good actually happened to say, Nicole Kidman, she'd feel even worse.

News organisations just prey on this natural tendency. They know people will watch it. So they put it to air.

satire (4.18 / 11) (#102)
by xah on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:10:22 AM EST

Satire is easy, contemplation difficult.

I know; I know. (4.25 / 4) (#103)
by regeya on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:10:41 AM EST

Disasters can be so goddamned tiresome.


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Not the disasters... (5.00 / 2) (#162)
by blixco on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:57:15 AM EST

....which *deserve* fair, considerate coverage. What we have here is a lot of "hey, buddy, here's a bloody torso we found in a field! You need to see this!" kind of sickness, coupled with a lot of over-produced sappy nonsense. Grief isn't something that *should* be sold in a nice shrink wrapped thiry-second sound bite. But it is, and there's probably no changing that.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]
Kudos (4.00 / 5) (#105)
by Brock on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:18:44 AM EST

I had to create an account for the sole purpose of congratulating the author for saying exactly what I've been trying to, but in a far more eloquent manner. Thank you :-)

Haha! You're trapped now! (n/t) (none / 0) (#112)
by jjayson on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:11:25 AM EST


_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
It is a big deal (4.33 / 12) (#106)
by Idioteque on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:45:07 AM EST

Many times I would agree with you, but this event is a big deal and I am glad it is getting all this attention. Our endeavors into space are far too unnoticed and the people who risk their lives are far too unappreciated.

This was a sad event, but for a moment, I didn't feel ill watching the news. This event wasn't about weapons inspectors, anthrax or terrorists, it was a personal event.

This was not an American event, it was a human event. Why don't other space flight accidents get such attention? Only the Americans and the Russians are sending people into space. There aren't many of these accidents and when they do happen they get a lot of attention.

Not only that, but this was an example of seven people living out their dreams; seven people coming together and working as a team; seven people not fighting or bickering; seven people trying to better humanity; And together with them, hundreds of others on the ground all doing there part to help continue humanity's exploration of space.

I guess you have never dreamed of being an astronaut or wanted to see the earth from afar. I guess you're too jaded by the world to appreciate for what the seven astronauts died. I guess you've never had the urge to explore. These astronauts died carrying out a mission for both themselves and the benefit of us all. I guess you don't care about that...




I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
Manufactured emotion (5.00 / 10) (#111)
by mstefan on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:07:09 AM EST

I don't think the article says that people shouldn't genuinely feel badly about what happened. However, let's be honest: the media are looking to manufacture emotion here. The repeated viewings of the explosion; the haunting music in the background; the screen crowded with talking heads, speaking in somber, hushed tones; the endless parade of images of the dead and the weeping relatives left behind.

The news coverage isn't about information, it's about the drama. It's about wallowing in the suffering of others. And most importantly, it's about keeping your ass on the couch watching the potato chip commercials between breaking news alerts.



[ Parent ]
Are you that stupid? (3.00 / 6) (#117)
by Idioteque on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:30:44 AM EST

I know I don't play along with the drama. I find emotion when it arises, not from graphics and background music. I use the time between the actual conveying of information to reflect personally on what the events mean to me or discuss them with others. The orchestrations, pictures and "manufactured" emotion don't play a part. You truly believe that everyone just goes along with what they see and hear on the news?

That's a typical "I see this is fake/hollow/useless/stupid and I am better than it all" attitude.

When Aaron Brown on CNN tells the field reporter to just let the camera pan all the flowers and people at a memorial, that is a genuine moment, at least for me. YMMV. But regardless, we don't all fall for the hype. We're all not that stupid.


I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
[ Parent ]
Ahem (5.00 / 3) (#121)
by mstefan on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:53:29 AM EST

You truly believe that everyone just goes along with what they see and hear on the news?

Not everyone of course, but I do think that a lot of people do exactly that. And while you might think Aaron Brown is providing you with a "genuine moment", I can guarantee that first and foremost CNN is looking to give you good television in exchange for pimping your viewership to Wal-Mart's advertising department. In case you haven't noticed, that's how television works: you're not the consumer, you are the product. Everything that they do is designed to keep your eyeballs glued to that screen, and apparently they did their job with you. Keep that in mind the next time you're not falling for their hype.



[ Parent ]
Alright... (3.40 / 5) (#124)
by Idioteque on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:15:29 AM EST

Well, I can see this won't be very productive and my last comment may have been a bit harsh, but just one last point.

I agree that the media manufactures drama and emotion. I agree with the some of points in the original commentary. I just think this is the wrong event to tie this commentary to. IMHO, it shows disrespect for some very respectable people and a noble undertaking.


I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
[ Parent ]
Bzzt, that's the point (3.40 / 5) (#132)
by Rogerborg on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:22:58 AM EST

This commentary must axiomatically be tied to just such an event.

The attitude that it should not be is exactly what's protecting the media from being questioned about their reporting.

Look at the grief, they cry, crocodile tears streaming down their faces.  Have you no respect?  We have to all pull together right now.  We have to all think the same way.

Sorry, not buying.  It was an auto wreck, and seven people died so that we could reenact a Simpsons episode.  It's sad that they died, but it sadder that they died in such a petty, pointless endeavour.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Petty, pointless endeavor? (3.50 / 2) (#168)
by Idioteque on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:25:25 AM EST

Are you a human being? Do you dream? Do you wonder? Do you want to know more about our world and what's beyond it? Petty and pointless, do you really believe that? Are you trying to belittle the whole event to justify your inability to express any real emotion about it or use your brain to think about it? Well, being cynical about the whole thing is much easier, but cynicism never got anyone to the moon or fixed the Hubble Telescope.

These pictures don't make you dream?


I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
[ Parent ]
Cluestick (5.00 / 2) (#298)
by Rogerborg on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:05:15 AM EST

Space exploration is the most noble goal that mankind has.  But that's not what was happening here.  What was happening here is that NASA was spending a billion dollars to investigate the effects of microgravity on ants.

Was that knowledge worth seven lives?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Careful now (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by Rogerborg on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:18:38 AM EST

Don't accuse someone of having a holier-than-thou attitude just after espousing it yourself.

I'd suggest that if you're watching events unfold on TV then it's irrelevant what you claim to be doing between the infrequent updates.  The idiot box is flickering away, the commercials are getting served, the machine is working the way its supposed to.

Here's the news so far: a shuttle burned up on reentry.  Seven people died.

Now switch off.  Come back in a week and there might be more news.  Until then, there's just theatre.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

I am better (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by spakka on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:31:44 AM EST

These clowns trying to tell me how I should feel about the crash are the same ones who claim that the shuttle was travelling at 'Mock 18', being '18 times the speed of light'.

Why, then, should I trust their assessment of the emotional relevance of the event? I will stick with my initial response - apathy.



[ Parent ]
News is about information, not emotions (5.00 / 5) (#129)
by slaida1 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:36:46 AM EST

So you think CNN looping that same feed over and over again with that accompanying tearjerker-crap is news? It isn't, news is about facts, analyzing consequenses and stating the obvious. When they show emotions, try strenghten yours or guide them, anything emotional, that isn't news. It's propaganda if it's planned&intentional and shows their poor skills if it's unintended.

Don't mistake nowadays general practice of selecting emotional news over important ones as correct, it's wrong even when most if not all news agancies do it. I don't know how long it'll take until mental manipulation and abuse is elevated to the same level of importance as physical (and criminalize it) but people are now pretty much on their own against the thrash that comes from the tube, uneducated to understand how media professionals can affect their feelings and opinions.

I know it's hard to tell the difference between "normal" news and propaganda but I do know that real news don't play with emotions, they show only facts.

Personally I think this event is a setback for the whole world since co-operation in scientific research spans over borders. We now have one shuttle less and lower confidence for manned spaceflights.

[ Parent ]

But... (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by TheMgt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:27:49 AM EST

It's as much a human tragedy as seven people being killed in a road accident and yet seven road deaths would have been reported quite differently.

[ Parent ]
You americans you should be more patriotic (3.20 / 10) (#107)
by mlapanadras on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:48:47 AM EST

The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll.

Do not make us dissapointed.

Best Comment Ever [n/t] (none / 0) (#123)
by YelM3 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:14:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You americans you should be less patriotic (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by TheMgt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:19:04 AM EST

They, and everyone else, should be LESS patriotic. No state deserves your automatic loyalty.

[ Parent ]
thank you, superdiva (2.66 / 6) (#108)
by RelliK on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:55:36 AM EST

excellent stuff from a fellow cynic!
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
You forgot... (4.25 / 4) (#110)
by Kinthelt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:02:32 AM EST

You forgot the part where people rush out into the streets to collect pieces of debris from the HNT and sell them on eBay.

How is this a US phenomenon? (4.50 / 10) (#118)
by Delirium on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:31:02 AM EST

If this is indeed a manufactured tragedy, it's being manufactured by just about everyone, not specifically the Americans. The international reaction has been pretty similar:

Jacques Chirac (President of France):

"In the name of the French people, forever a friend to the American people, I express to you the profound emotion and feeling of solidarity in the ordeal that all my compatriots are feeling."
Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister of Israel):
"These times strengthen the feeling of common destiny, values and common vision of the American and Israeli nations. Ilan Ramon and his friends on the space shuttle were victims of science, the progress and aspiration of all of us to a better life on Earth."
Romano Prodi (President of the European Union Commission):
"[an] enormous tragedy [has occured]...in the service of progress, science and in this case, we can really say humanity."
Silvio Berlusconi (Premier of Italy):
"[I am] deeply shaken by today's tragedy ... In the name of the Italian people and government, I express condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims and with the American people."
I could continue for another 3-4 pages with Belgium, Australia, India, Japan, etc. all calling it a "terrible tragedy", "immense human tragedy", etc.

I think part of it may be that the Europeans are particularly fond of science type things, and so like the US space program more than they like most American things, but regardless, calling this a "tragedy" is certainly not an American-made idea.

Politics of diplomacy vs. 24-hour TV coverage (5.00 / 6) (#125)
by fraise on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:38:37 AM EST

Honest question: what else are world leaders going to say? "I am somewhat shaken, but not really, by today's relatively unfortunate events"? At least Chirac called it an "ordeal" rather than a tragedy. Also, unless you have cable here in Europe and speak English, there was no round-the-clock TV coverage of the shuttle crash. There was almost 24-hour "tragedy" coverage of the WTC attacks here in France on public television (when they happened), but from what I heard from my family in the US, it was nothing compared to US coverage, which of course lasted for weeks. But was the AZF explosion in Toulouse given mass coverage of any kind in the US? No. Or terrorist attacks in Corsica? I do have to admit that I turned off the TV after a few days when it came to reporting on the AZF explosion, but it was only during news hours (noon and 7-8pm).

[ Parent ]
And Germany didn't say anything (3.66 / 3) (#141)
by mami on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:19:35 AM EST

... f**ing Germans.

[ Parent ]
Therefore, Germany implicated (none / 0) (#147)
by spakka on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:42:25 AM EST

By analogy with Iraq / WTC

[ Parent ]
Germany, France, Switzerland (none / 0) (#293)
by parliboy on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:57:54 AM EST

The axis of apathy.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

well (5.00 / 2) (#188)
by Delirium on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:59:33 AM EST

From CNN: "German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder paid tribute to the 'courageous men and women' who died in the 'terrible tragedy.'"

[ Parent ]
hmm, well then (none / 0) (#223)
by mami on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:27:51 PM EST

we are not so f**ing after all ... :-)

[ Parent ]
sympathy... (4.50 / 2) (#155)
by chu on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:31:48 AM EST

nah.. they're just 'showing solidarity' cos they don't want to be the next country the US decides to invade.

[ Parent ]
"victims of science?" (3.50 / 2) (#159)
by amarodeeps on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:51:08 AM EST

Sharon is a vile moron, just another quote goes to show.

Well, not the vileness as much as the moron-ness.



[ Parent ]
Oh yes... (2.00 / 1) (#235)
by tkatchev on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:19:19 PM EST

...won't somebody please think of the Palestinians??!

The poor cute little helpless Palestinians are getting mowed down by bulldozers as we speak!!!1

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Yay! Here we go! (2.00 / 1) (#259)
by amarodeeps on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:41:32 PM EST

Look buddy, I didn't say anything about the Palestinians. Frankly, I don't really think that much of Arafat and suicide bombers aren't my idea of diplomacy (not that that represents all Palestinians). But that doesn't change the fact that Sharon is a scumbag (and he doesn't represent all Israelis either).



[ Parent ]
So we have commercialized death. (4.36 / 11) (#126)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:11:56 AM EST

It's not that big a deal, and neither is it a phenomenon localized to the 'States. In addition to death (and tragedy in general), I'm sure our more astute viewers have also realized that we (we as in the world) have commercialized love, sexuality, birth, spirituality, youth, old age, politics, et-fucking-cetera. It's the modern age my friends, where having effectively placed price tags on human lives, we seek to package and sell the intangible in any way we can. Not to get into a Valeko-style rant, but this is the price we must pay for capitalistic efficiency - nothing is sacred anymore, and everything has a veritable market value. This is a condition that has struck the entire Western world, and not just the US (remember that entire Di fiasco, my smarmy British comrades?). And the frightening part? There's absolutely nothing we can do about it.

At first I was going to write this off as another tired anti-Americana shitstorm, but it was a pretty sharp commentary on society in general. Of course, I hope that I am not giving the writer more credit than she (I'm guessing you're a she, anyway) deserves, but this struck me as something a little more than the rantings of your average nationalistic euro-freak. The piece seems to be a criticism of the crass commericialization of an integral part of the human condition, the need to mourn, more so than it is a criticism of some retarded notion of American patriotism (even though there were hints of that scattered about here and there). And as such, I applaud Ms. Diva, even though in the end, it's all utterly useless, and serves to reinforce the hopeless feelings prevalent about those that would seek to bring about the winds of change.

I mean, really, what else can I say? She's right. Any loss of human lives is a tragedy, worthy of all the outpouring of emotion from anonymous faces whose only link is by the tenuous ties of a shared culture, a shared history, but the real tragedy is the way that we have subtly placed Pepsi cans around these tarnished headstones, transformed entire fucking lives into mere scatter points on some suit's Chart to ProfitabilityTM. There can be no dissenting voices here, because you cannot deny the truth - we are officially only worth as much as we are willing to purchase. The entire worth of human accomplishment, human worth reduced to mere dollars/pounds/deutsche marks, and we, poor unwitting victims that we are, continue to feed the Beast, sacrificing our children in order to placate His ravenous appetite. Hoodie-hwa-fucking-ha. It'd be a laugh riot if it was happening to someone else.

But it's all okay, right? We'll just bury our heads back into our magic drugs and celebrate Cinco de Mayo everyday with Corona!

Well, fuck that. I hope those motherless/fatherless children know that their parents died as heroes. I hope that they know that there's a genuine outpouring of honest-to-goodness real emotion out there, all for them, that yes in-fucking-deed, we care because they are, we are, all human. We cry for your parents, we cry for you because we know what kind of hell you must be going through, and we would do anything in our power to make you feel just a little bit better if we could. If we just could.

Quench your thirst with Sprite! Catch Ben Affleck in Daredevil, coming soon to a theatre near you!

But we still care. I, we hope you know that.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.

not to troll, (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by ph0rk on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:53:18 AM EST

But what exactly is Heroic about doing your jobs?

Were they informed before they boarded the shuttle that it would explode on reentry? No.  If they were, and boarded anyway, that would have been Heroism (or stupidity).  

They died while doing their jobs.  It is sad, and it sucks for their family and friends, but dying due to circumstances out of your control is NOT an act of Heroism.

Why the hell must we martyrize and heroize every fucking American that dies in public?

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

I'm not much a supporter of the space program. (3.66 / 3) (#199)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:47:30 PM EST

There seems to be a lot of folks here that are, though, so perhaps they might be able to better answer this question. But what exactly is heroic about firemen who die in burning buildings, or soldiers who get shot in battle, or to the cop who died in the line of duty? Were they informed before they enlisted that they would die? No. If they were, and continued anyway, that would have been heroism (or stupidity).

They died while doing their jobs. It is sad, and it sucks for their family and friends, but dying due to circumstances out of your control is NOT an act of Heroism.

Why the hell must we martyrize and heroize every fucking American that dies in public?

Space travel is not exactly either a glorious or safe profession, friend, and not any Joe Schlomo can sign up. It takes a certain type of person to aspire to be an astronaut, no? A certain drive, perhaps, that many of us lack? Many astronauts are fine role-models to set for children (and many were, back in NASA's glory days). Besides, it might be a job, but it's one helluva selective job, where only the cream of the crop are accepted - not many other professions can admit to the same type of stringent requirements that NASA requires. These are people with a vision, with a dream that few of us rarely realize, requiring a dedication that many of us lack. Once again, if not heroes, they are at the very least role-models to follow.

But I suppose that's neither here nor there. We "martyrize" and "heroize" every American that dies in public because we (Americans, that is) must, especially when said figures died in the name of a selfless cause (after all, no one becomes an astronaut for the personal glory anymore...). They had a cause to believe in - in this case, space exploration - that applied not only to themselves, but for the good of the whole as well, and they died pursuing that cause. That is usually enough to merit heroism in and of itself. These are uncertain times friend, when the American public can no longer rely on their elected officials and most celebrities happen to be morally bankrupt hacks. Sometimes, people need someone to look up to, someone whose accomplishments others can aspire to achieve. And when such folks go out in a blaze of glory, they just become all the more attractive to elevate to the pedestal of "hero."

Furthermore, don't be such a narrow-minded ass. Americans are not the only people who seek to immortalize the deaths of their citizens - in fact, I'm fairly certain that most other countries do it as well. I think there's something in the human condition that causes us to search for other people that we can look up to. Perhaps something ingrained into our natural social tendencies state that these folks must share our cultural heritage, so that we might feel connected to them in someway and feel that their accomplishments are achievable by anyone else. A community pride, so to speak. Regardless, there's nothing wrong with it, and is actually rather healthy. Where would we be, after all, if there were no role models, no heroes to aspire to be?

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

i'll stop being a narrow minded ass (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by ph0rk on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:47:40 PM EST


When the fuckin president speaks at the memorial of every dead police officer who died in the course of duty.

He did not speak because of their tragic loss, or because of their heroism, he spoke because of the TV cameras.

And, as for your shitty analogy, cops and firemen risk their lives to save the lives of others.  

Our space program is, sadly, little more than a glorified trucking operation.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

cops and firemen... (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by dirtmerchant on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:52:33 PM EST

the primary role of cops and firemen is protecting private property, not human life. it is not a tragedy when these tools of the machine are snuffed out.
-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
Why so anti-social? (3.00 / 1) (#272)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:39:17 PM EST

I'm quite tired of you arrogant fools that would place a value on human life. While your first sentence is valid and arguable, your second is unforgivably ignorant. These "tools of the machine" do not accept their positions knowing their (debatable) place in the political gearworks - many of them sign up for truly humanitarian reasons. Your arbitrarily judgemental nature leads me to believe that you are lacking in the qualities that would define us as human, without emotion - a meat machine to the core.

As such, I do hope that you are thusly ignored if your living abode was to go up in flames. It would be a tragedy, as the loss of any life would be. However, it would a very fitting end to the likes of you, and the poetic justice would be absolutely delightful.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

define human (none / 0) (#364)
by dirtmerchant on Sun Feb 16, 2003 at 10:56:54 AM EST


-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#365)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Fri Feb 21, 2003 at 12:14:27 AM EST

...anybody that would so thusly deem others to be deserving of death is obviously not human. So therefore, I don't believe that it would be inhuman one bit if you were to disappear in a horrible flaming accident.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Your opinion. (2.00 / 1) (#276)
by ph0rk on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:14:58 PM EST

But, when a gun toting lunatic goes on a shooting spree, whose unfortunate job is it to get the asshat to stop?
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

You know... (none / 0) (#269)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:07:48 PM EST

...that wasn't the point, and it was neither the point you were trying to bring up (remember? When you asked why we must make martyrs of every single American that dies in public?). I'm quite certain the president would speak at the memorial of every dead police officer who died on national TV, but I have no idea where that came from, since we were not discussing the president's political motivations behind his teary speeches.

Also, my analogy was quite fine, thank you, if doing a bit of disservice to astronauts in general. However, others, such as mstefan (I do hope that was the correct name) have elucidated this point much better than I have (as I admitted) - perhaps you would be better served complaining to them. Nonetheless, the analogy stands as these professions require a certain type of person, with a rare sort of dedication to furthering humanity in general (something that I have also further clarified in the parent post). In this case, perhaps, the details do not matter as much as the "big picture."

And finally, I called you a narrow-minded ass because countries other than America also elevate the idea of heroism amongst those that have died under the media's watchful eye. There are other countries out there, you know, which so many of you blissfully ignorant euro-hipsters and wannabe euro-hipsters tend to forget. It's frightening exactly how nationalistic you type of folks tend to be. People are not defined by their borders, you know.

I advise that you focus on the topics on hand instead of focusing on why you're an ass. Perhaps some reading comprehension lessons would be of help?

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

who gives a flying fuck about other countries? (none / 0) (#275)
by ph0rk on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:10:44 PM EST

This is about American media, you insensitive clod!

I could give a fuck about how USian this sounds, --I am discussing America--  

The very fact you expect someone to consider mindsets in other countries while lambasting American media is repellant; this is an internal matter to be quite frank.  I can discuss the American media, and their pitfalls, quite well without keeping the euro-mindset (or any other non US mindset for that matter) in mind.

As for the fact that other countries are just as cold and sensationalist-minded as we are isn't my problem.  It is a shame, but let their own nationals bitch about it.

As for our disagreement about the jobs of astronauts and policemen, we will just have to disagree, unless for some bizarre reason the popular (US, of course, there I go being an ass agian!) media have suddenly given them the same respect and coverage they do these unlucky astronauts.

The president, and the media minions whine and cry about these unfortunate explorers not because they care, but because it sells, and it is sickening.  It will always be sickening, and if you think I am a narrow minded ass or a heartless bastard because i have the guts to say it, then so be it.

The day that every dead police officer and every dead fireman gets the same national memorial thee astronauts do, is the day I will be satisfied.

(Hell, there are probably a great deal of other professions equally deserving of praise, why isn't the media talking about them?)

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Once again... (none / 0) (#282)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:18:31 AM EST

...your reading comprehension level is lacking. We care about other countries, because the original post (of which I wrote, if I might remind you) concerned the commericialization of grief in all western capitalistic countries, and not just the US. It was a sentiment meant for the resident proud-to-be-Euros that love to pounce on America for all of its perceived faults. If you wanted to speak of America, perhaps you might have been better served posting to the original article rather than my comment?

Furthermore, I believe that we are in agreement that the president would indeed speak for policemen if they died on national TV (like I said in the previous post), thereby becoming media darlings in the process. They would probably get national days of mourning as well in such a circumstance. Perhaps I am being too subtle for you, but the entire original post was about the commercialization of tragedy, and how it is indeed sickening. Once again, I call you a narrow-minded ass because you seem to focus on America, when in fact, the entire world suffers from this crass marketing of the human condition, and not because you have the "guts" to say it. I'm afraid to break this to you junior, but I've already said it, and said it quite well, thank you very much. In fact, Ms. Diva has addressed the issue much better than I have. Perhaps you should read the article again.

And no, I don't necessarily believe that we disagree about the status between policemen and astronauts. I thank God you aren't one of those "I hate pigs" hipsters that would so blithely throw around such phrases. But let's take a hypothetical situation. What if police and firemen died on nationwide TV, in clippable news segments? They would get saturated with coverage, and weeks would be spent in mourning their loss. Oh wait, that already happened. Dipshit.

Let me give you the short version of the original post that I wrote, just in case you missed it the first time. Commercialization of human tragedy is a condition afflicting all western capitalistic countries. However, that doesn't mean people don't care, no matter what type of trumped up emotional fanfare the media might use to sell the latest fashion in sneakers. In response to your original query, heroes are created from the dead because, in my opinion, there is a distinct human need to create role models from which we share a common link to look up to. And what better role models than the ones that just recently died on TV, exposed to the entire nation?

Anyway, that's just the short version. Look, should we just end this game? The more we delve into it, the more it looks like you're arguing with someone else, and it's reflecting rather poorly on you.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

once again again (none / 0) (#309)
by ph0rk on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 10:26:02 AM EST

>> Commercialization of human tragedy is a condition afflicting all western capitalistic countries. However, that doesn't mean people don't care, no matter what type of trumped up emotional fanfare the media might use to sell the latest fashion in sneakers.

The very fact it is and has been commercialized is proof that people just don't care, and thats what i'm railing against.

If you'd rather make weak personal attacks, feel free.  You are the one that steered the discussion in that direction, by referring to me as a narrow-minded ass.

Anyone who thinks the disgusting public posturing that has been going on is healthy is a sick puppy.  If you don't see it that way, then I am sorry, but you are acting just as much of an ass as I.

[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

When did I ever say... (none / 0) (#345)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:34:39 PM EST

...that I wasn't acting like an ass? I am rather arrogant and pretentious you know, especially when dealing with people that so easily fall prey to invectives hurled by anonymous innerweb personas that should, by all rights, have absolutely no bearing on your real life emotions. Suffering from low self-esteem problems, are we? On the other hand, this person has done a sound job at defeating me at my own game. It might not mean much, but he has my respect. You, on the other hand... oh ho ho, you have left my sides aching!

Anyway, I do so dearly love how you are jumping from one inarguable stance to another to try and cover up the trail of electronic feces that you have been leaving behind. Sir, your shit still stinks.

I have not, to the best of my knowledge, said that the "public posturing" is healthy, and your example of "proof" means nothing, as you have no means to back it up. Obviously, we (as in you and I and most of k5) care, and so do a great number of people out there that are genuinely disturbed by these "HNTs". The commercialization of such only indicates the simply destructive factors inherent in a capitalist system, where, once again, no sacred cows are left unslaughtered. Does that mean we should stop supporting capitalism to show that we "care?" Of course not. That'd be foolish. But it is a tragic (or perhaps comedic) side effect to which no known (workable) cure is known.

At the very least, you have admitted that you are indeed acting like an ass. Now, if you'd only admit that are also a mind-bogglingly obtuse idiot, we'd all be very happy indeed.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

you are so full of poo (none / 0) (#358)
by ph0rk on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:13:02 PM EST

that i'd wager your eyes are brownish-green.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Why yes... (none / 0) (#359)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 10:31:47 PM EST

...they are the most lovely shade of hazel. I also have a body to die for, and am, in all actuality, a very attractive, busty eighteen-year old girl. I am barely legal.

Wanna get together sometime, baby? Oh, wait - I don't date idiots. Loser.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

hazel != brownish green (none / 0) (#361)
by ph0rk on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:28:13 PM EST

Thanks anyway though.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]
We don't place price tags on human lives... (none / 0) (#262)
by MyrddinE on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:04:50 PM EST

... that's called slavery, or gladiators.

We place price tags on butting into human lives, on the information, the privacy, the details. Still not good, but most definitely not as bad.

[ Parent ]

While I do not disagree... (none / 0) (#271)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:19:22 PM EST

...I believe that we still place prices on lives, in the sense that we are only worth as much as we are willing to consume. Businesses are free to trade folks like a common commodity, and we're only known in terms of a particular demographic group and what type of purchasing power that demographic group might have. So no, while we no longer traffic in the sale of human beings, our lives have very much already been given a dollar value by the powers that be.

Cheers
DLS

(PS: Please don't mistake me, however, for some type of socialist. But as already stated, the commercialization of the sacred is the cost that we must pay for capitalistic efficiency; it's interesting to wonder whether our economy is worth our human dignity.)
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

rocks (3.75 / 4) (#127)
by gullevek on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:21:18 AM EST

simple rocks.

I really loughted when reading it.

no more to say.

just, that, well ... you have to keep the mass stupid. panem et circenses it was called in old rome. why should the new rome change anything that worked 2000 years ago.
--
"Die Arbeit, die tüchtige, intensive Arbeit, die einen ganz in Anspruch nimmt mit Hirn und Nerven, ist doch der größte Genuß im Leben."
  - Rosa Luxemburg, 1871 - 1919

Dear sir: (1.37 / 8) (#133)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:23:09 AM EST

You're an idiot who obviously finds pleasure in the torment of others. Please keep your illiterate ramblings to yourself next time, and refrain from conversing with the adults. Yes, this was sharp and fairly incisive, but it was not funny. I don't think many people here, whether they agreed with Ms. Diva or not, found much humor in her observations, and rightly so. Please take your demented sense of humor and your narrow worldview back to whatever backwoods village you might have crawled out of. Thank you.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

you'd make limbaugh proud (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by dirtmerchant on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:46:29 PM EST

you've obviously been taking notes on his "debate" method (read: ad hominem attacks). kudos!
-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
Ahem. (1.00 / 1) (#265)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:47:48 PM EST

I am rude, and fairly arrogant, and a wee bit pretentious, yes. I'm very much a jerk. However, I do not make use of ad hominem attacks. If I did, I actually might have been trying to prove something instead of just insulting the chap, now, wouldn't I?

It seems you are not aware of the proper form of the ad hominem attack. If one was to make use of one, it would read, "this person is an idiot, so his argument is wrong." I rarely do that. Instead, I usually respond along the lines of "you're wrong, here's why, and furthermore, your're an idiot." See the difference there, kiddo?

In conclusion, you sir are a cuntwhistle.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#306)
by Labiator of Elaboratelessness on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:29:00 AM EST

Dear "Dirty Liberal Scumbag",

I agree: The aspect of the whistle is crucial. Let me see: What was the question? Ah! Who impersonates whom? I have no clue but a brash one: You are talking by people here (confer "Talking with", not to confuse with "Talking to") - as if most people does not.

Impressed by the multitude of comments as I am, I am limited to have read enough to sympathize with "rankor" saying 'ok', and agree with the conclusion "Oblom" comes to. Though I find the ideas of "Dirty Liberal Scumbag" in 'So we have commercialized death.' to be reasonable to the extent of the observations being made, I dare say the pronominal awareness leaves a great deal to be desired.


Yours intricate
Me and myself



E: Back to plant!
C: Seedling or sapling?


[ Parent ]

I love you. (none / 0) (#343)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:10:12 PM EST

Do you know that? I really do. You have suddenly become one of my most favorite internet people of all time.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Don Henley already explained this to me. (4.90 / 10) (#128)
by ti dave on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:33:29 AM EST

I clearly recall the summer of '82, when the following refrain could be heard
on radio stations all over America...

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry

You don't really need to find out what's going on
You don't really want to know just how far it's gone
Just leave well enough love
Eat your dirty laundry

Ah, those were the good old days!
I think I prefer Mr. Henley's explanation, for truly, we all know that Crap is King!

Watch for Ice!

But I think some people ARE hurt by HNTs (4.80 / 5) (#138)
by gt2313a on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:27:08 AM EST

For example, my Singaporean mother in law cried & cried with Di died.  She collected all the newspaper clippings & went around all sad.

I was like, what are you crying about?  People die in car crashes every day...and its not like she was even a really selfless person like Mother Theresa.

Mother in law said she "used to be a British subject" (until she was 13!) and it therefore made her sad.  I was like WTF?

I cant think of any more examples right now, but I think some people really do like to consume sappy tragedy news.  

WTC was one thing, but Diana?  

Tragedy vs. heros. (4.66 / 3) (#160)
by blixco on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:53:47 AM EST

Or, maybe, "heros." Depending on POV.

Anyhow: when Important People and Heros fall, it's a reminder of our own mortality, and a reminder that, from a biological standpoint, we're all on a level playing field: all of us can die. The whole Tragedy fiction form is just a set of deep hooks into these emotions, because while I can't relate to Homer as a person (in theory or action), I can relate to Bad Luck, Bad Tidings, and Bad Things. Sympathy = interest, in tragedy. And interest = success, in fiction and non-fiction.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

I cried... (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:32:13 AM EST

When Isaac Asimov died.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

News Opera. (none / 0) (#354)
by Akshay on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:42:53 AM EST

'nuff said.

[ Parent ]

Look at yourselves! (2.33 / 12) (#139)
by theshunt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:33:32 AM EST

I find it amazing that you people are finding humor from this matter! When seven people die, and a (insert value here) dollar spacecraft goes up in a Champagne Supernova (C) in the sky, I personally think that it counts as a national tragedy!

I also find it disheartening, and, in a way confusing that people think that the United States looks for tragedies. Of course, the news media is going to cover this kind of stuff. What do you want? They stay in business by broadcasting news.

Anyhow, I think that people should think before posting a sarcastic article without thinking about the lives, technology, and resources lost in this tragedy.



where's the humour? (4.50 / 4) (#146)
by perky on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:42:07 AM EST

It's not that 7 people have died, and a multi billion dollar program has been grounded that's funny. It's the hyprocasy and hyperbole of the mass media.

Whilst the death of 7 astronauts the other day was indeed unfortunate, being an astronaut isn't exactly a low risk business. Those that lost their lives, and their families, all knew the risks involved and presumably accepted them. So when things go wrong it's a shame, but these things happen.

Now let's look at the humour in the article. It's derived from the unrelenting hyperbole and hysteria that the media present in response to an event like this. Fortunately I am not in the states, but I imagine that USians amongst us have been subjected to 24 hours of almost blanket media coverage of people crying and so on as described in the article. You may have noticed that the actual news content could be presented in about 2 minutes. Now this contrasts starkly with the coverage received by the (approximately) 7 people that have died in firearms accidents since saturday. (see NIPPC for more mortality stats).

Now let's consider the hyprocrasy. President Dubya is intent on going to war with Iraq. The British press informed us over the weekend that we are now 6 weeks away from first strike, and that this will consist of 3000 cruise missiles to take out strategic targets. Many thousands of Iraqi civilians will die, and countless further civilians will suffer indirectly through the destruction of farming land and housing. Somehow I doubt that these civilians, killed by the press of a button on a ship in the Persian gulf, will feature highly on US or international TV news reports.

Finally I should point out that many people deal with tragedy through humour, and that the phenomonen being lampooned by the article isn't ristricted to the USA. When Princess Diana died the reaction in the UK was similarly insane.
-- "Freedom is the by-product of economic surplus" Aneurin Bevan
Note: spamblocker...
[ Parent ]
Okay, you both make good points... (none / 0) (#209)
by PSYCHOlogical on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:19:02 PM EST

But I'm going to have to disagree with each of you in some areas. One... it is a tragedy, it sucks pretty much. But what can we do about it? I knew none of the people on the craft, nor any of their family. I'm sorry to see that their lives were lost, but as it's been stated many, many times in the forum, they knew what could happen. I do believe that these guys were heros. Most of the people typing on this forum, could in no way withstand the vigors of space and super-sonic travel, so before you get on here and talk about my country and how they over-rate some people's lives more than others, think about what you're saying. Yes hundreds die every day. A new's crew really can't be there every time that happens. And because gangs kill people in many states, all the time, we're used to it. We knew it would happen. Sounds kinda crude, but I live in this "horrible country" that let's stuff like this happen. Honestly Astronauts do not die every day, that's why they're getting the coverage. Oh yeah, and those missile strikes you're talking about... yeah, there will be all day coverage on it. Honestly I don't like it. I'm in the military and I have to stand behind my President and every decision he makes. But I don't have to stand behind my media... I think they take it too far, and there are too many indecisive, tree-hugging punks out there that have no idea what it's like to actually defend or lead a country downing what decisions are made and telling of how it's affecting their psychic fucking aura... whatever...We've already lost in Viet Nam because of the media, and then have our boys spit on and beaten when they got back by a bunch of pot head, draft-dodgers. One or more of you have said that you're glad you're not an American, but I for one... wouldn't have it any other way.
"Only two things are infinate; the universe, human stupidity, and we're not so sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]
And around the ring we go... (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by theshunt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:50:31 PM EST

I also fail to find humor in a multi-billion dollar program being grounded. I for one believe that the space program is neat.

Yes, deaths happen every day, and some are made more public than others. Yes, the astronauts knew that their lives were in danger. However, that does not mean that their lives are not important, nor does it mean that the space program is not an important matter. When a zillion dollar piece of metal that can go into space turns to shreds along with the seven people in it, some information is necessary. While the media may be over-emphasizing the incident, that is not nearly as bad as people on Kuro5hin poking fun at it.

The point is that poking fun at the death of the seven astronauts, and/or the possible demise of space travel, is extremely rude.



[ Parent ]
Look at yourself (4.50 / 2) (#171)
by clarkcox3 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:34:38 AM EST

OK, 7 people died, but they knew that was a possibility, and they were prepared for it. You call that a national tragedy.

However, when 7 people die in a drive-by, or 7 people die in a car wreck, or 7 people are executed because they disagreed with their government, or 7 people die because they happened to live in Iraq, and an American missile killed them, or 7 people die of hunger, or AIDS, or whatever, it doesn't get this much attention.

You seem to think that these astronauts' deaths are somehow more tragic than any other deaths, and that these astronauts somehow deserve more attention than others who die, and have no say in the matter.

Unless you are willing to call every single death a "national tragedy", and support round-the-clock news coverage of each of those deaths , then you, sir are a hypocrite.



[ Parent ]
Some deaths are more tragic than others (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by hagbardc on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:54:52 AM EST

I tend to disagree. I don't mean to suggest that I believe some lives are worth more than others, but I think that some deaths are more affecting than others. In most of the examples you mention (deaths in violent crime, by disease, in an accident), the individuals are victims of unfortunate circumstance. Through no fault or action of their own, they were put into a position where death was the final outcome. And I do believe that's sad, but it's something that happens everyday (and ultimately to all of us).

But what happened on Saturday (and here I'm referring to the the Columbia breaking up on re-entry, and not the train crash in Zimbabwe that killed 34 people) was a great tragedy, and something well-deserving of wide media coverage was that fact that it was not something that happens everyday. The act of sending a manned rocket into space is a forward looking act, something that pushes at the boundary of human endeavor, something that has the potential to bring glory to the human race as a whole (and not only to the American-, Israeli-, and Indian- born individuals onboard). It's something that we all can be proud of, regardless of our level of involvement. What astronauts do stand for something important, and it's that which makes their deaths more tragic.

It's also the fact that, (and you were right on this) the crew did know that death was a possibility, and they were prepared for it. And they went anyway, and ended up giving "the last, full measure of devotion." And I think those of us that believe this is a "manufactured tragedy" or otherwise somehow not important, are just plain wrong.



[ Parent ]
You are confussing words. (none / 0) (#300)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:59:27 AM EST

Important and hysterical are different terms applied to different situations.

The reaction of the US media (as usual) was hysterical. The event was important.

"Stay a while, I'm distraught but juiced on your nearness."- johnny
[ Parent ]

Let's look at it objecti½ly. (4.66 / 3) (#178)
by bhearsum on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:29:33 AM EST

First, I'll apologize for my lack of a ½ key. My school's computers don't like d½orak.

Now, how many people die daily? Probably o½er a thousand. There's about 11,000 gun murders in the US e½ery year. That's about 20 a day, around there. Why don't all of them get a speech from the president? And what about all the ci½ilians killed in bombings, what about them? I don't see how 7 people is such a tragedy. I'd much sooner grie½e o½er ci½ilians killed in the bombings then 7 astronauts who knew the dangers before they went up there.

Again, apoligies for the lack of a ½.

[ Parent ]

What do you expect? (2.00 / 2) (#208)
by MessiahWWKD on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:17:48 PM EST

We're a bunch of sociopathic fucks who hate the world that rejects us!
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Challenger (4.75 / 4) (#140)
by spakka on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:47:17 AM EST

I recall that there was close-up live footage of the faces of some astronauts' family members taken as Challenger exploded. This was an interesting choice of subject, given that everyone else was watching the sky. I suppose some media genius must have filmed just in case the thing exploded, and got lucky.

Don't be such a cynical asshole. (3.33 / 6) (#176)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:21:10 AM EST

I mean, cynicism is fine and all, but have you ever thought of the possibility that they might have been watching the family members to capture what should have been positive reactions to a grand, somewhat historic flight?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

It's possible (4.80 / 5) (#181)
by spakka on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:39:28 AM EST

However, I have never seen such footage broadcast after a successful launch.

Perhaps it's some US thing, to do with being true to your emotions. Or God.



[ Parent ]
Well, I've never been to France. (1.00 / 5) (#190)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:07:57 PM EST

But I suppose that it's possible that Frenchmen exist.

Chances are you've never seen such footage because it's boring, and doesn't merit a 24/7 repeat. Although my memories are a bit hazy in those halcyon days that were the 80's, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they showed such footage, had a quick interview with the family ("Aren't you proud?" type deal) and then never played the damn thing again after it stopped being relevant. You have to remember the time period; space shuttles were still brand-spankin' new, and the exploration of space was still of national interest. Sure, they probably wouldn't waste the time now with the routine launches they have every couple of months or so (which will probably change, one way or the other) but there was a time when this stuff was exciting, and relegated to more airspace than the NASA channel.

Wait, don't tell me; you're not one of those overly arrogant semi-fascist euro-trash hipsters, are you? The type that seem to be so prevalent 'round these parts? Please tell me that you are aware that a person's nationality does not define his/her existence, and that you refrain from using blanket statements like "dem Americans (USians)" or "dem Chinese" or "dem Krauts." It would so ease my mind.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Wow, you type fast (4.50 / 4) (#195)
by spakka on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:39:29 PM EST

You have to remember the time period; space shuttles were still brand-spankin' new, and the exploration of space was still of national interest.

Challenger explosion was the 25th shuttle launch, 21st if you discount 'developmental' flights.

Wait, don't tell me; you're not one of those overly arrogant semi-fascist euro-trash hipsters, are you? The type that seem to be so prevalent 'round these parts?

"I am whatever you wish me to be to excuse your own inadequacy."

Please tell me that you are aware that a person's nationality does not define his/her existence, and that you refrain from using blanket statements like "dem Americans (USians)" or "dem Chinese" or "dem Krauts." It would so ease my mind.

If you're asking me whether I can pronounce 'th', I can.



[ Parent ]
You know... (none / 0) (#264)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:42:23 PM EST

I could have sworn to God that I responded to this. I recently lost my "trusted user" status, so I'm not entirely sure if it's just been zero'd out or not. Could anybody else confirm this, or am I just completely losing my mind?

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

You were zeroed (none / 0) (#277)
by hex11a on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:21:16 PM EST

Not by myself, but yep, your comment got a 0 from someone... I won't mention who it was as it's probably not something I'm meant to do, but it wasn't by your "opponent" in this argument. Perhaps it was the "syphalitic whore" comment - some people find that kind of thing offensive...

hex

[ Parent ]

Thank you. (none / 0) (#281)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:51:56 PM EST

I wasn't entirely lucid when I wrote that last set of comments, and I wasn't too sure if I actually did respond or not. I'm not angry about the zero-rating or anything - it is rather inconsequential, after all - but it is comforting to know that it was merely hidden, and that my short-term memory is not slipping. I'd be the last to ask anybody to change a rating, for chrissakes.

For the record, I do not consider anybody that I speak with an "opponent," but I am rarely civil in situations where it is not required of me. I'm quite aware that a great many people would find my choice of wording in this particular environment offensive. It is their choice. But I do hope that I always make some sort of point with every response I choose to make. I rarely pointlessly insult others.

Oh, and yes, it is generally in poor taste to reveal who "zero-rated" another poster. Just to clarify.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

OK, no worries (n/t) (none / 0) (#305)
by hex11a on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:15:02 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Or, more aptly... (5.00 / 3) (#143)
by skyknight on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:19:03 AM EST

Little Johnny is in his room, surfing on his laptop, hawking his HNT collectibles at greatly inflated prices on ebay.

Can I interest anyone in some tulips?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
What is a real tragedy (4.84 / 13) (#145)
by sheepy on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:32:27 AM EST

It is a shame when people die when the rocket they choose to strap themselves to explodes. It is a tragedy when innocent people are killed by a rocket and they had no choice.

"Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong." John G. Riefenbaker
cheap amusement (4.00 / 2) (#148)
by easy on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:00:32 AM EST

"The number of such as live without the ardour of inquiry is very small, though many content themselves with cheap amusements, and waste their lives in researches of no importance."

Johnson: Rambler #103 (March 12, 1751)

Hypocracy© , Obesity© Copyright 2003 U.S.A.
All Rights Reserved.

[Caution: Do not feed starving children]

Yes, that's the point of the satire right? (4.50 / 2) (#166)
by amarodeeps on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:16:28 AM EST

That tragedy has become cheap amusement "without the ardour of inquiry?"

Or is that what you are saying?



[ Parent ]
Was topical, is now editorial (4.69 / 13) (#149)
by epepke on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:07:52 AM EST

Since this was voted up, I have to point out again that the cynical opportunism of posting an article like this right now is no different from the cynical opportunism of tragedy-mongers in the media.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Here, here. (4.00 / 3) (#150)
by Imperfect on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:09:13 AM EST

I find it appropriate that it was written by someone named "superdiva".

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
That's "hear, hear" fer crissakes (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#286)
by spcmanspiff on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:20:40 AM EST



[ Parent ]
In opportunity, at least. (5.00 / 4) (#158)
by blixco on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:50:19 AM EST

But not in intent.

The intent of news (as was pointed out to me by a few people) is to sell adverts for the network. The intent of this story is to voice the concern that "news" ain't "news," it's commoditized emotion.

Superdiva isn't trying to sell you anything here. She's just making an observation....one that is very difficult to make. It's tough to deride the coverage of an event without negating the event. Thus the completely generic HNT tag.

Plus, I'm pretty sure the news outlets aren't covering the story due to any cynical opportunism. They're trying to get you to buy whatever their sponsors are selling. Which leads to the more interesting, deeper point of this article: what News is truly free? Is there an information outlet that doesn't color it's coverage of an event with quick-sell emotions? How else would they draw in viewers?

The Internet, for all it's purpose and intent, isn't really the answer. Free press? Indymedia? The local weekly? Mostly left-leaning, which isn't bad necessarily, but is one-sided in coverage. NPR is good, but their funding sources may make people nervous. Alex Jones? Jeff Rense? The tinfoil beanie crowd? They represent the most distilled form of emotion over content.

Hrm. No good answer, other than: know your source, and know their intent.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

Streaks in the sky show (5.00 / 2) (#280)
by cam on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:48:55 PM EST

it's commoditized emotion.

It rapidly became the streaks in the sky show on all the channels. I remember Sept 11th when the shows cut the planes hitting the WTC towers into small bytes and played them over and over. It became the planes hitting the building show. I turned off the TV as I was becoming desensitised to it. I didnt want to watch it or remember it like it was a Wesley Snipes film.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 1) (#301)
by epepke on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:31:06 AM EST

The intent of news (as was pointed out to me by a few people) is to sell adverts for the network.

So, the big difference is that network reporters whore for popularity for a news organization that whores for advertisements, while on Kuro5hin contributors whore for popularity for an organization that whores for membership and text ads?

That's just the myth of the little guy, who is automatically assumed to be pure in heart.

The intent of this story is to voice the concern that "news" ain't "news," it's commoditized emotion.

As opposed to, say, the hundreds of thousands of Dead Iraqi Babies that have served as a gut-punch in a goodly number of articles on this site in the past year, seemingly (to me at least) intended to disable the readers' critical thinking skills?

And what's the probability that should any of the reporter wannabes here get "discovered" by some news outlet, whether Pacifica Radio or the New York Times, they would be substantially better?

My point is that described by Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us. Actually, if memory serves, it was Porky Pine who made the observation in that particular strip.

Superdiva isn't trying to sell you anything here. She's just making an observation....one that is very difficult to make.

Difficult to throw brickbats at "the media"? On kuro5hin? It is to laugh. Besides, I see such sentiments regularly on the editorial pages of major newspapers.

Plus, I'm pretty sure the news outlets aren't covering the story due to any cynical opportunism. They're trying to get you to buy whatever their sponsors are selling.

That fits the definition of cynical pretty well, I think, in the way I was using the word: "selfishly or callously calculating."


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Hrm. (none / 0) (#315)
by blixco on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:32:31 PM EST

See, I read the article as not only taking on mass media, but those of us who fall for it as well. By your model, communication itself is useless. I have no idea, then, how a fact would propagate in that model.

She's also not implying that "we" are any better than "them." It's just an observation; from a high-enough vantage point, it can be applied to any information dissimenation. The diffcult part of this article: how to discount the coverage of the tragedy without discounting the tragedy itself? I think she attained that quite well.

You're coming from a perspective that I can't grasp, because I don't really see "cynical" as being "bad." I can appreciate every one of your points, though, and am thankful for them.

In re: the point about cynical opportunism, upon re-reading that, I agree......except that I don't think they're *intentionally* cynical. I think they're intentionally capitalist, and the best way to sell their ads is to sensationalize tragedy. Ultimately, that's a sad place to be. To "cynically" note that isn't bad, in my opinion. I think that superdiva managed to do what she set out to do: point out the (arguably obvious) flaws in reporting a tragedy whenthe goal of that reporting is not the information delivery, but the sensational, and the capital gained from selling that sensational information. Is it the fact that she pointed this out using a media outlet what bothers you? If that's the case, the point still stands, though the method may disagree with you.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#319)
by epepke on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:34:35 PM EST

By your model, communication itself is useless.

By your model of what you suppose to be my model, you mean.

You're coming from a perspective that I can't grasp, because I don't really see "cynical" as being "bad."

Did I say "cynical" was "bad"? I think it's likely that you are telling the truth and can't grasp my perspective. If you want Good vs. Bad, go hunt some orc with Aragorn, or go argue against Rush Limbaugh or Noam Chomsky. From my ungraspable perspective, it hardly matters.

In re: the point about cynical opportunism, upon re-reading that, I agree......except that I don't think they're *intentionally* cynical. I think they're intentionally capitalist, and the best way to sell their ads is to sensationalize tragedy.

How many actual reporters have you been interviewed by? How many have you slept with? The MediaTM isn't some capitalist Borg collective. Your average $25,000/year reporter gives as little of a dam about the quarterly report as the guy flipping burgers does. What she does care about is Getting the Story, in an environment where 95% of what she films goes on the cutting room floor. So she films some astronaut's choir director in the hopes of getting an "angle" that hasn't been done before. And so the people above, who maybe do care about the bottom line, pick and choose, quite cynically, about what they think will keep people watching. And the people watching keep watching. They may be horrified about how The MediaTM are commodotizing emotion, but they watch. And they watch the ads, too, and they buy the products. Of course, they all think they're too smart to be swayed by advertising.

It's like a line in an old poem I read in High School that goes something like "We touch a wound and it opens, to our horror and delight."

Is it the fact that she pointed this out using a media outlet what bothers you?

I'm not "bothered." I made an observation. I think it's spot on. I think it also has the advantage of being short.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Right then. (none / 0) (#321)
by blixco on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:51:57 PM EST

My perception of your statement is incorrect. I'm not sure what your stance is, but I can see the edges of it from here.

In re: the rest of your message, you've got some sweeping generalizations in there. Reporters don't chose their stories, typically. At least, the ones I know don't. That's left to the news director, a writer, and four different groups of editors. But I get the point. And I understand that your position is precisely the same as the story.

The length and creativity of superdiva's message doesn't impact the statement, in my mind. I see no pretense there; just a method.

Anyhow. Nice thread. Thanks for the discussion.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

Free Ride (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by DarkZero on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:05:10 PM EST

Since this was voted up, I have to point out again that the cynical opportunism of posting an article like this right now is no different from the cynical opportunism of tragedy-mongers in the media.

So, just so we're clear, how long does the media get a free ride in doing whatever insulting and degrading thing it wants with the deaths of other human beings? Can we safely criticize them by Valentine's Day or do we have to wait until March or even April before the media isn't immune from criticism any more?

[ Parent ]

It's very simple (none / 0) (#331)
by epepke on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:29:53 PM EST

So, just so we're clear, how long does the media get a free ride in doing whatever insulting and degrading thing it wants with the deaths of other human beings? Can we safely criticize them by Valentine's Day or do we have to wait until March or even April before the media isn't immune from criticism any more?

It's really very simple. You can criticize anything you like any time you like. The trick is, other people have the same right. This is not difficult.

What, I hear you cry? You want to be able to criticize "safely," which means that nobody can criticize you? Well, get in line.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Don't get all Meta on him (none / 0) (#332)
by yooden on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:25:52 PM EST

What's your response to his question? What amount of time should pass before criticism is ok for you?

[ Parent ]
24 hours (1.00 / 1) (#335)
by epepke on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:48:26 PM EST

after you stop beating your wife.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
commenttype=none (4.87 / 8) (#156)
by 0xdeadbeef on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:42:42 AM EST

Metafilter linked to this article, but constructed the link so that the displaying of comments is disabled. I understand why that might be done to encourage posting to Metafilter's comment system, but it gives the immediate impression that kuro5hin members have had no opinion on this article.

Not that I really care, but this kind of linking is impolite, especially since I can't complain on Metafilter. (Stupid snobby Mefi, won't accept new users. They suck.)

Linking the article (4.66 / 3) (#177)
by ODiV on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:24:23 AM EST

I think the comments were hidden because the person linking the article wanted to link the article, and nothing more.

By posting it at mefi, he's effectively saying "I think this is worth checking out." He's vouching for it. The article was what he wanted to point people to and it will stay as it is. Who knows what would show up in the comments?

--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
That was me (5.00 / 3) (#183)
by Mwongozi on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:48:53 AM EST

I did that, and I did it because I didn't want to cause any more stress on K5's server than I had to. Linking with comments turned off made for a smaller page for people with slower connections, too, who may not have been expecting a page full of comments.

The comments are easily turned back on.

[ Parent ]

Ahh. Well done! (4.42 / 7) (#157)
by Fantastic Lad on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:44:24 AM EST

Homage and much kneeling. That was damned funny. Supurb word-craft!

A bit fluffy around the edges, mind you. As somebody pointed out already, "Satire is easy. Contemplation takes effort.".

This is the prime difficulty I have with the average and generic comic-music-alternative video shop employee with a goatee and a black tee shirt. Once described by a grinning friend of mine thusly, "They are blessed with brains they refuse to use, and whine away their lives as though waiting for God to notice them and say (with a John Cleese accent). . . ,

'Oh, I'm TERRIBLY sorry! That wasn't the meal you were supposed to be served! Heavens! Here, let me take away that disgusting plate and bring you the good dinner you were supposed to be served. And, please, allow me to, on behalf of the entire Choir Invisible, extend our deepest, deepest apologies. You are SOOO fucking special!'"

Yep.

Being able to see is only half the job. Doing something about what you see is the action which closes the circle; it is the thing which garners real power and respect.

But very entertaining, nonetheless. As I said, fine word-craft! Hope it takes you somewhere.

-Fantastic Lad

Almost topped the topic! (none / 0) (#227)
by drone on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:24:32 PM EST

You cut to the core on this one... I'm surprised no one else noticed this. Funny stuff!

[ Parent ]
The Bigger the Country... (3.00 / 7) (#163)
by google on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:02:34 AM EST

the bigger the baby.


care to elaborate? (none / 0) (#173)
by cicero on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:01:27 AM EST




--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
explanation (none / 0) (#355)
by google on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:02:35 PM EST


the bigger the nation, the bigger the crybabies are...

hope this explains it.

[ Parent ]

And then there are the rest of us... (4.30 / 10) (#164)
by avdi on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:05:26 AM EST

Who leave the TV in the same "off" state that it stays in 99% of the time, play with our children, and get our work done.  We might briefly discuss the Tragic Event with our families, but we know there's nothing we can add that hasn't already been said; and anyway, people die tragicly every day.  So we get on with our lives.

Methinks someone's been watching a little to much TV, and needs to go outside and get a little perspective.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

The shuttle did WHAT on re-entry?! (4.00 / 3) (#169)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:26:41 AM EST

I didn't know the thing blew up until monday morning when I happened to drop by CNN's website to see what was happening around the world. The thing was covered with stuff about exploding space shuttles. My first thought was, "Oh, challenger anniversary of course..." then I read one of the stories and it says, "Debris is falling all over Texas!" Hrmm... what would the debris from challenger be doing falling anywhere after 17 years? Then I finally, about 9 pages deep, wading through tons of stuff about how terrible it is see the word "COLUMBIA" for the first time. "Oh shit, Columbia blew up?! Well, that's going to either Fuck the space program right in the ass as everyone panics like they did after challenger, OR it's going to result in a MASSIVE refunding of Nasa so we can 'prevent this from ever happening again' and 'continue our march to the stars' and other heartwarming phrases."

Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll start taking space exploration seriously as a sort of vindication for the lives lost.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Trouble. (none / 0) (#353)
by Akshay on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:38:27 AM EST

You won't believe how much trouble I had weaning away folks from CNN even after they told everything they had to and were basically parrotting stuff. I did feel bad of course, my condolences to all the families, I really think they are all brave people and there's something for us to learn, but I don't want a television expert narrating me their short stories on what went wrong.

[ Parent ]

has anyone else noticed (4.16 / 6) (#184)
by alkaline on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:51:12 AM EST

that the shuttle astronauts only became heros after they died? I've been seeing all kinds of signs saying "the 7 heros will always be remembered" or something to that affect.

Uh, not? (3.00 / 1) (#258)
by nulbyte on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:13:50 PM EST

Did you miss all the first man on the moon tributes and documentaries, and then of course, MEGO, as it actually occured? He didn't die then...

[ Parent ]
What about the blame game? (4.16 / 6) (#185)
by p3d0 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:51:55 AM EST

What about the part where all the monday-morning armchair quarterbacks tell you that the HNT could have been avoided with just a little common sense, and that the "so-called experts" who didn't foresee this should be fired, and nothing that could ever lead to a HNT should ever be allowed to occur again?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
and i wonder... (2.50 / 2) (#215)
by llimllib on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:46:54 PM EST

who they want to be hired as the next "expert"?

Peace.
[ Parent ]
There's plenty of blame to go around (3.50 / 2) (#294)
by alizard on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:00:28 AM EST

WHY ARE WE SENDING PEOPLE INTO SPACE IN AIRFRAMES OLDER THAN THE AVERAGE PUBLIC TRANSIT BUS?

The place for the Shuttle fleet is the National Air and Space Museum, where kids can look at it next to Mercury and Gemini and Apollo and wonder about the courage or insanity of the people who actually got into these things to get into space.

Blame? Who has refused to appropriate the funds for next-generation Space Shuttles? Congress. Who has refused to push Congress about it even with control of both houses of Congress? George Bush. Who hasn't pushed the government to do what needs doing? That's us... the American people. (well, at least for the Americans reading it.

And who has pretended to Congress, the President, and the American people that everything is fine and that we can continue flying people into space on obsolete deathtraps?

Perhaps the accusations about mismanagement and incompetence by ex-NASA insiders like Dian Hardison and Don Nelson are really true, at any rate, they deserve Congressional investigation, not only into the circustances of the crash, but into NASA management itself.

Perhaps NASA doesn't have it's shit together to be trusted to do a next-generation shuttle right.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

it means even more to others (4.50 / 8) (#189)
by shrubbery on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:06:26 PM EST

I was vacationing in Israel when this happened and let me tell you it truly affected the people there. They are heartbroken. I was in the passenger seat at dusk coming from Mt Carmel down a sideroad in Haifa towards the beach when the news broke.

My friend, all her friends, and her mother were all devestated. They truly believe that after all the tragedies that happened that this was one bright spot in their lives. The fellow that died would of been the first Israeli in space. He was a hero to the whole country.

I found it really interesting how profoundly it touched them. Really, the people my age here (I'm US) seem much more jaded. Maybe its the size of the country or maybe it was just the type of people I was with but national events seem to be always on the everyones' minds there. I didn't understand a word of the news in Hebrew but everyone seemed to be on the verge of tears.

He WAS! (4.66 / 6) (#212)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:41:41 PM EST

He was the first Israeli in space! He made it. He performed a lot of good science. He accomplished his dream. He saw the sunrise over the earth. He gazed down upon the oceans and clouds, the mountains and plains like some kind of omnipresent god for a brief moment. The shuttle was destroyed on re-entry after an extremely succesful mission. He lived his dream, mourn his passing but don't forget, I imagine he died as fulfilled as anyone ever does.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

yes! worded wrong, excuse me (4.00 / 1) (#228)
by shrubbery on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:47:00 PM EST

You are absoluately correct. The grief was directed to the fact that he didn't make it back. I can't say I totally understand what the Israeli people are going through but I experienced true national feeling first hand. Even though it was a very sad experience, I couldn't help but admire the sense of patrotism thats absent in the US sometimes.

[ Parent ]
Wrong kind of patriotism in the US (3.00 / 1) (#230)
by Kintanon on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:54:15 PM EST

The US tends to be filled with the Patriotism of exclusion, sort of a "We're the best! The rest of you suck!" attitude. Israel seems to have a "We're all the same, we have something in common that binds us." attitude. Might come from being horribly persecuted so much. I imagine that's more like the attitude that Americans still had a hundred and fifty years ago...

Now we're mostly left with elitism... Sigh...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Right (4.83 / 6) (#213)
by llimllib on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:45:18 PM EST

And this is the correct response to a tragedy; something I'm fairly sure the author would have no trouble with. When people die, grieve, then recover.

However, when a tragedy occurs in the US, it is covered to point of mockery by the news media, making it so ridiculous that nobody could really grieve over it. The news media make a tragedy seem like just another movie, because that's what gets them the best ratings. My feeling is that the author would appreciate a bit more genuine caring and a lot less circus around such events.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
Thank you and... (5.00 / 5) (#220)
by superdiva on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:58:45 PM EST

Yes, I'm not saying there is not genuine grief around the world and in the U.S. I think, being the apathetic, cynical, geek loser that I am, I'm just hypersensitive to the way the media "kills" the ability to really care about what's going on in our world.

Granted, I know that there are individuals who can take the media overkill for what it is, but I kinda worry about our younger people who already live in explosion-filled, gaming, action movie existence and whether they will still have remnants of anything resembling human empathy.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
HNT? National? (2.37 / 8) (#192)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:23:42 PM EST

What's an HNT? Which Nation? How about switching that TV off for five minutes, and put some things in perspective?

Oh, and where are little Johnny's parents while he surfs google for bodyparts?

Bloody hell I feel like killing people some days.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Thanx for the sig <nt> (none / 0) (#346)
by nanobug on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:46:43 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You're welcome. Link it. (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by SanSeveroPrince on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:44:04 AM EST



----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
This is why I don't watch TV anymore... (4.00 / 5) (#197)
by arkannis on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 12:41:22 PM EST

I was perfectly happy with my copy of the Sunday paper. Read about it, got all the info I needed, don't have to hear about it anymore.

Sarcasm not appreciated (3.00 / 11) (#203)
by Gandalf21 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:06:36 PM EST

Perhaps the coverage of the event is overdone, but the loss of life deserves some respect. Regardless of the media circus, when citizens of any country die due to accidents, their memory should not be mocked by pseudo-intelligent pundits who try to sound elitist. Go back to your hole of self pity and leave society alone.


"Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." - John Maynard Ke

Don't get me wrong but... (4.40 / 5) (#211)
by llimllib on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:40:12 PM EST

What about the thousands of people dying every day at home of poverty, ignorance, and hunger?
What about the people dying in civil wars where there's no oil at stake, so the media doesn't care?

I don't say that we shouldn't give the victims of American tragedies their due, just that it would seem a little more sincere if the news outlets would cover news with just a tiny bit of fairness. Maybe a bit of criticism towards the overzealous "news" (read: tabloid) agencies isn't such a bad thing.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
sarcasm? (5.00 / 5) (#222)
by chu on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:13:07 PM EST

but the loss of life deserves some respect
..think that's the point the author was making - or were you being sarcastic?

[ Parent ]
You're not being very Patriotic (4.41 / 12) (#217)
by mmuskratt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 01:50:38 PM EST

Just because few Americans knew the shuttle was even up there, and just because there are only a handful of people who can tell you the names of more than one of the astronauts who died in the crash, doesn't mean you can get all sarcasticky and stuff.  We have some upcoming clips of Iraqi people getting killed to keep us aware of how important American lives are...you publishing this makes you unPatriotic.  I'm gonna tell on you, and when George finds out, you're going to pay!  Americans are strong.

ok (4.85 / 20) (#221)
by rankor on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:09:25 PM EST

First, I don't believe that this media-generated voyeurism your mocking is something that only citizens of the United States are capable of experiencing. I'm reminded of a time... oh not so long ago... what was her name? hmmmm? oh yeah... drunk driver, speeding through paris, driving wrecklessly, trying to get away from British tabloid reporters. Hey look out ahead! Concrete Wall! Princess Di no longer. That was a (British)National Tragedy. A (former)member of royalty, a royalty that has no power, dies, tragically and the media is all over it. I certainly didn't care about it, but boy oh boy did I hear about it and nothing else for several weeks. Yeah, sure, the death itself sucked, I certainly don't want to see anyone die, but just because she is rich and sleeps around? pfft. give me a break.

Second, as an 11 year old, eyes glued to the TV in my 5th grade classroom, I watched Challenger and saw what exactly is meant by the term "technical problem" when dealing with rocketry. It sucked, bad. Why did it suck so bad? Well, for all of us at Pleasant Hill Elementry I think it had to do with the fact that the guy sitting next to me, watching with us, my teacher, was a finalist in the contest to see which teacher was going to go on the Challenger. I'm not saying he was next in line should Mrs. McCauliff not be able to perform her duties, but he was close enough. Close enough for some of us to realize that all of our hoping for him to be there, our principal-led letter writing campaigns, the generous outpouring of support that we showed could have sent someone we loved, to their death. What followed was an interesting mix of human reaction from the teachers that left an indellible mark on me to this day. My teacher, cried. Cried uncontrollably. Another teacher got angry and ran up to the TV and reached her hand out, no snapped it out, smacking the power button like her hand was a fly swatter. Others just stood in disbelief, some cried, some pretended like nothing was wrong. It was a bit of a surreal experience, as surreal as it could be at 11 I suppose. Kids being kids, just started to cry. We were all confused, in a bit of disbelief; shocked.

The next day the jokes were out. I am a firm believer that there is this joke writer who makes up jokes before a tragedy happens and just waits and waits until he gets to use all this great material. The kids that told the jokes first were the ones that we all knew got beat up at home. Aaron's brother killed himself the year before, we heard the gunshot go off in the middle of class. Aaron ran home, I think he knew exactly what it was. Needless to say, he wasn't the same after that. He told the most jokes. Man that kid was an asshole up until the time we graduated.

Anyway, this "media event" you speak of, really isn't media anything to me. My wife told me what had happened, and was actually annoyingly flippant about the whole thing. That same sinking feeling I had, 17 years ago, returned. I saw flashes of Mr. Brooks face, the kids in the classroom, looking confused, scared. So I went in to the other room and my daughter who is 7 had been watching the TV when it happened. She didn't quite understand it, she kept asking if they had parachutes. After explaining to her that parachutes weren't going to help them and teaching her about friction and how it creates heat she caught on to the severity of the event very quickly. Their class had been following this shuttle flight closely. I haven't gotten it quite figured out, but apparantly quite a few girls in the class are of Indian descent and were very excited by the Indian born female astronaut. I suppose she was something of a hero to them. Then my daughter saw the caption of the one astronaut being from Israel. Actually, she asked what it said because she didn't know the word. We told her Israel, then she started to cry because her best friend, Regina, just moved here from Israel. I don't think she is sad so much for the death of the astronauts as she is for the families that lost loved ones and kids in her class that had a little bit of their pride/hopes extiguished. She doesn't cry when an Afghani bus gets blown up and neither do I. I see it as a sad thing, but pardon me for saying this, but I'm just not connected to it, just like I wasn't connected to Princess Di bleeding to death all over a Parisian tunnel. I don't expect any Afghanis to get upset over the loss of the Discovery, shit, I just want them to watch where they are walking and hopefully not step on a landmine.

I don't expect a cynical French, a nihilistic German, or a hopelessly depressed Russian to give a rats ass either. I just hope that you understand that beneath that "media event" is a very real human reaction and is important in its symbolism (of which has no relevance to you) as well as its substance. The only "crime" we are really committing is that we have more television transmitters. I really am sorry for that, I know how much that sucks.

ok (4.66 / 3) (#249)
by Oblom on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:37:38 PM EST

I think that one of the points of the article it's that this very real human reaction is generated by the media. I am a "hopelesssly depressed Russain" (actually Ukranian) Jew living in Israel.

I don't remmember much of my "early" years (<6), but there is one memory that follows me for many years : the year is 1982. novemeber . Kiev. First Secretary of CC CPSU Leonid Brezhnev is dead and all tv channeles (all 2 of them) show his funeral. I am 3 years old sitting on the carpet in child care(kids garden?) with a couple of dozens of other kids of same age. 20 minutes into the funeral and pretty much all of us are crying and depressed. Why ? Cause it's kind of reaction that media wanted to generate and it succeded : dead march playing on background, sad voice is telling about all the wonders that he did for soviet union and some other crap that I don't remmember. So here was I, sitting and crying out loud for a hour because somebody that i barely was aware of his existance died. <br>
20 years later. Israel. I am watching some movie. Somebody says "change to news. columbia seems to be crashed." I change chanel. After 5 minutes I manage to figure out what happened and change back. Well, it's suck : 7 humans are dead. Am I sad - a bit. Loosing human lifes are always bad. I know that all Israel will be in depression now - after all they just lost one bright sport in pretty darkish everyday's reality. A bit more their hope is gone away ( actually as cynical it sounds from the first moment that i heared about planned flight of israely to space station i felt that it will gone wrong on some way. come on... israely jew in space ? it's way too much to ask from universe i guess ). It's also sucks. But most of all I am sick of the "show" that is shown on all channels : shutlle leaving smoke trail while breaking apart. interviews with clueless specialists that have no clue. interviews with vitnesses and relatives of the victims. ( look the article for the scenario). In other words all what you have it's a dozen of frames and personal tragedy of a 7 families that is shown all over and over again in one giant media circus. Isn't it's reassembles very popular today "reality tv" ? Just way more real and with a real drama. And high raiting . Unfortunatly being an israely citezen i tend to see this alot. Every other week when there is some kind of suicide bombing there is same drama on tv. And instead of leaving families of the victims alone tv sucks from them all the emotions and tears that it can and then airs it. It's just make me sick !

Anyway, back to my point ( if there is any), i think that your daughter will cry over Afghani bus that was blown away if she will sit next to TV and watch for an hour show describing all the kids that was in this bus, their life, their hopes and their families.
All what metters it's the sauce under which the event is served in order to get connected. And todays media (in any country) deffenetly able to prepare some when it want to.

[ Parent ]
Fuck the universe (none / 0) (#304)
by mlapanadras on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:46:20 AM EST

Being Jews we always have to ask more.

[ Parent ]
psychology and the ivory tower actor (3.50 / 12) (#224)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 02:37:50 PM EST

this story cues me into something i have found a lot of on meta sites like kuro5hin.

call it the ivory tower actor.

they are unaffected by something, and they use their lack of affect against those who are affected.

at worst, they are negative trolls. at best, they are embodied by whoever posted this story. their main thrust is not to make fun of people who care about the columbia disaster, but their whole story is built like a house of cards upon a foundation that supposes no one, essentially, really cares about the columbia disaster.

i mean, look at it this way. if a tragedy happens, some people will be emotionally affected. you may not be. but why should your lack of affect be somehow a superior pov?

it is often said that in the heat of the moment, under the influence of emotion, judgment is clouded.

most of the time, this is true. but sometimes- only in a minority of cases, this really is not true. it all depends upon what you are talking about. sometimes, a lack of emotional affect renders ones opinion less important than someone who is emotionally affected by a tragedy. how is this possible?

what if you are talking about what the memorial to the columbia victims should look like? if you are emotionally unaffected by the incident, why should your opinion matter?

human beings are emotional creatures. you can not tease emotion out of every situation, nor should you necessarily try to. the key is not to remove emotion, but to understand its proper role. because, granted, in most cases emotion overpours its boundaries and affects the debate in ways it shouldn't.

the ivory tower actor, on the other hand, is someone who engages in the opposite phenomenon: removing emotion from a topic, and then somehow thinking their opinion matters, when the topic is a very emotional one to begin with.

for those who hold to the ivory tower pov as superior at all times, there is a lesson here: you risk irrelevancy by your lack of emotional involvement.

that a story like this one got posted to the front page means nothing more than that there are a lot of people who are unaffected by the columbia disaster.

so what? are you proud of that? who cares? you are not being responsible by trumpeting your lack of emotional involvement, you are merely being childish.

a truly responsible person respects the pain and hurt of those who are affected by disaster. they do not harp on and trumpet their own lack of emotional affect.

passion rules the day. cynicism does not. cynicism is not a replacement for real experience and sound judgment. all i see in this story is a lot of ivory tower cynicism.

the columbia disaster, as well as the challenger disaster of 17 years past, sets back man's exploration of space.

for anyone truly concerned with "technology and culture, from the trenches," this is emotional, and it hurts.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness

Media and emotion (5.00 / 5) (#226)
by Znork on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:07:03 PM EST

Respecting the pain and hurt of those who are affected by disaster. That is exactly what this is about.

The media circus around disasters cares nothing about the pain and the hurt. They are vultures trying to squeeze the absolute maximum ratings out of the pain of the affected. The 'emotional' comments by polished politicians who dont care at all, but who know that some sympathetic words and some faked emotion will garner votes. The 'experts' who want their 30 seconds of fame and have absolutely no clue, but are needed to prop up the ratings march. Insensitive reporters shoving cameras and mikes in the face of bereaved relatives.

These make a complete pathetic spectacle of a tragedy.

No, I cant say I'm emotionally affected by that. Apart from a queasy feeling, about the same I would get shovelling roadkill off the road.

The tragedy touches me, the spectacle disgusts me.

You may find ivory tower criticism of the medias handling of tragic events to be cynical, but I find the perverse exploitation of such events, for money, votes or fame to be far, far, worse.

[ Parent ]

biting the hand that feeds you (1.50 / 2) (#239)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:30:29 PM EST

everyone hates the media, and no one can live without it

when the paparazzi basically killed princess dianna in their attempt to feed the public's desire for information about her, everyone was quick to blame the paparazzi... and failed to see their own complicit guilt in her death

as long as there is a market for sensationalist drivel, then the media will feed it.

you should not rail against big media, they only serve a market.

look at the larger picture. what disgusts you is not big media. look deeper. what disgusts you is an aspect of basic human psychology.

be proud that you are not beholden to that aspect of your psychology. but recognize that a lot of other people live by it.

but don't hate the common man because they are beholden too sensationalist drivel. that just makes you a cranky old man before your time.

it is what it is. make peace with it, or wind up hating everyone and calling them lemmings.

me personally, my trip on this planet is short, and i will not hold against my brethren their common desires and wants. i will make peace with it. better that than become cynical and bitter cranky about it. that is what you are in danger of becoming.

snobs and superior-than-thou types bother me way more than common folk. don't become one of them.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Media could, you know, help (5.00 / 2) (#244)
by SLTrigger on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:16:09 PM EST

Educate the common man, and contribute to the development of some higher understanding in the citizenry. You can say they're a business, and that's fine. But if they're going to claim the bottom line, then all their nice, lofty journalistic standards go out the window.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
you have a valid criticism (1.00 / 2) (#251)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:50:16 PM EST

you have a valid criticism.

however, your noble ideals are not reflected in reality.

i am not supporting this arrangement of journalism "ethics" being subservient to capitalist impulses, but i am informing you that that is the way things currently exist. don't shoot the messenger. i agree with you that the reality sucks, but i will not spend my time grappling with the foundations of capitalist media networks. i will merely accept the reality of them, and make peace with my understanding of the true nature of the beast, rather than developing some sort of cynical jaded disavowal of them. change will not come from the inside, the capitalist directive is too powerful a force, so it is no use criticizing them. better to post on kuro5hin and make my own media. ;-)

you know what? when tv was invented it was immediately heralded as a great educational tool.

funny and ironic, isn't it?

such is the way of technology intersecting with culture. it's not always pretty.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

circletimesquare reminds me of... (none / 0) (#270)
by slur on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 08:08:45 PM EST

...Lord Henry Wotton!

http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/dorgray/chapter01.htm

|
| slur was here
|

[ Parent ]

lol (1.00 / 1) (#279)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:08:43 PM EST

a first!

a literature troll! HAHAHAHA ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Fine. (4.50 / 2) (#295)
by SLTrigger on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:01:57 AM EST

i agree with you that the reality sucks, but i will not spend my time grappling with the foundations of capitalist media networks

This is, of course, your right. As for alternative news sources, I'm with you. But as many people get their everyday news from major networks, and shows like Crossfire and The O'Reilly Factor, we ought to at least try to show them there's another side.

For the issues-conscious minority to retreating into cynicism, even if the cynical ideas are correct, is not an acceptable alternative.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (none / 0) (#341)
by composer777 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 10:12:44 PM EST

Don't you think that he already realizes that this is the way things are?!?! boggle

No offense, but I don't get it.  You're sitting here telling someone the way things are, when, in order to fight the way things are, one naturally would already know about "the way things are".  I understand what you are saying, I'm just looking for content.  Can you tell us something that we don't know?  

The way your post is coming off is that this is the way things are and you are trying to convince us not to do anything about it.  If I'm reading you wrong, then please let me know.  

I'm not against you expressing your opinion.  I also agree that being on kuro5hin is a way of fighting traditional media, which is why I've joined such sites.  Can you explain why are a creating a false dichotomy between yourself and SLTrigger, since it seems that in fact you are doing something to fight this?  I'm honestly confused about where you stand.  There is a whole range of things you can do, and if you only plan on doing a little, that is still something.  But if what you are saying it "do nothing", then I do not agree with that at all.  

[ Parent ]

a realist? (none / 0) (#340)
by composer777 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:39:09 PM EST

me personally, my trip on this planet is short, and i will not hold against my brethren their common desires and wants. i will make peace with it. better that than become cynical and bitter cranky about it. that is what you are in danger of becoming.

I'm not sure what you mean here.  Ok, so your trip on this planet is short, what do you plan on doing with it?  

You won't hold against people their common desires and wants.  What exactly does this mean?  From what I can delineate, what you are saying is that you are tolerant of the little people.  How noble.

Have you ever talked to the people who you are describing?  I've worked all kinds of jobs, everything from factory worker to McDonald's fry cook to the current engineering job that I have now.  The one thing that I can say is that "average" people aren't all that average.  I know, neither of my parents finished college, and I've spent plenty of time outside of my own circle to get a good idea of what people think.  Most people are smart enough to understand that what is on the tv is crap.  One example, I was talking to the maintenance guy in our building, no college degree, nice guy, what was his comment?  "Boy, they sure blew that out of proportion, I couldn't find anything else to watch all day."  Then he talked about how if he lived in the area he wouldn't let them remove parts of the shuttle from his property without compensation.  Most of the feedback I have gotten is like his, it's cynical.  And, unlike you, I talk to people from all walks of life.  Most people I know do not buy into it.  Sure, they'll show fake sympathy if the situation merits it, but they don't really get worked up over this.  It's just tv.  I would challenge you to find statistical data showing that this is what people want.  I think that since you claim to be a realist, the feedback might surprise you.  Slashdot was actually the exception, and even there, enough people understood what I was saying to mod me up to 5.0.  

What is the point of what I just said?  The point is that if you really were a realist, you would know that most people get really tired of this crap after a few hours, if even that.  You would also know that most people that buy tabloid media do it with a cynical attitude.  

Why do people buy this?  I think the answer is simple.  There isn't much choice.  If you want to watch tv, you have a limited amount of crap to watch.  The media makes it somewhat interesting, so you might watch it for awhile.  That's about it.

Ok, so why does media push this stuff?  Is there a market for it?  Sure, in the abscence of real news, there is a market.  But what you are seeing is really a result of real news getting effectively censored.  Think about it, since you say that you are a "realist".  One example, tobacco companies.  The media didn't start reporting on the fact that Tobacco companies knew that nicotine was a drug until the late 80's.  Why?  Because they knew that the Tobacco lobby was powerful and they risked getting sued into the ground.  This is a big reason why alot of news doesn't get reported.  There is too much of a liability factor.  So, the media takes whatever the associated press and other "official" sources gives them, and fills the rest of the time with crap.  But the media isn't completely guiltless, since much of big media is co-owned by much larger players.  e.g. NBC is co-owned by Westinghouse, which makes "smart" bombs.  So, when you see them pushing war and talking about how great the technology is, they're pushing their own products.  

The problem you are describing is caused by concentrated centers of power.  You actually hinted at this when you talked about fighting capitalism.  I think you are somewhat irresponsible by pushing it onto people who don't get to choose what is on the air.  This actually happens all the time.  It's called divide and conquer.  The elites screw us over, and watch us fight amongst ourselves.  You can see it all the time.  There was a call-in show on CSPAN talking about the collapsing state infrastructure.  Only a couple of people realized that NAFTA was hurting our economy.  Everyone else was saying "well, the Republicans did this", "the democrats did this", "no, it's the blacks", "no, it's middle class whites", "no, it's the....", etc.

Given all this, we can see that the public is no more "free" to choose what tv to watch than inner city inhabitants are to "choose" where they live.  Statistics show that people that live in the inner city often will spend their entire lives within a several block area.  One could say that this is their "choice".  A moral person would want to understand the situation better, and would realize that they stay there often times because they are never given a choice.  

Basicly, what I see in your post is sugar-coated elitism that is wrapped in the word "realist".  Why use the word "realist", when the words immoral and lazy fit better?  

It reminds me of when Survivor first came on TV and a couple of people referred to how it really shows human nature.  What does that mean?  Well, it shows what people are like if you put them in an environment with a huge amount to lose and where only one guy wins the prize.  Of course that will bring the worst out.  Is that human nature?  No, it isn't.  It merely shows what a poorly designed system of reward will do to people.  It's a close analog to capitalism.  

Here's what it comes down to.  You have a choice that only you can make.  What are you going to do about these problems?  Are you going to sit around and "relax".  Ok, that's your choice, don't expect me to attribute you with having any wisdom or to respect that choice.  

[ Parent ]

my lesson is (none / 0) (#347)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:05:41 AM EST

choose your battles wisely, lest you squander your time and resources

argue with that if you will
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#352)
by composer777 on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:36:33 AM EST

I agree with that.  I think that becoming aware of what the media is doing and coming up with potent arguements to combat what they are doing is not a waste of time.  No, you aren't going to change the world over-night, but by increasing one's own understanding, they can then go out and hopefully change a few other receptive people.  Let me ask you a question, what battles do you choose over this?  Where exactly do you start?  Sure, there are alot of problems that are worse than this, but all these problems seem to be linked.  There seems to be a myriad of problems putting us in this situation, and my goal is to hopefully have a positive impact on people when the situation comes up.

[ Parent ]
All Wrong (5.00 / 5) (#229)
by DarkZero on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:50:25 PM EST

As I said earlier, the point of this article and all of the positive reactions to it is not to make light of human death. It is to mock the vapid, money-grubbing, insultingly stupid attempt by the media to try to make new viewers out of emotionally stunned individuals by trying to play up the emotional side of a tragedy. There is absolutely no reason for some professional music video asshole to be making a montage of the astronauts' family photos dance around a video of their deaths to the sound of blaring opera music. It's insulting, it's degrading, it makes a mockery of human death, and they get away with it because any attempt to criticize them for it is shot down by people like you that assume that we're mocking the deaths of other human beings because we're insensitive pricks.

We're not mocking the deaths of those people. We're mocking the assholes that are making a mockery of their death. We're doing exactly what you thought you were doing when you made your post.

[ Parent ]

Like lemmings over the cliff... (4.25 / 4) (#236)
by mmuskratt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:20:09 PM EST

Here here!  We can't get any good news anymore...soon enough, "Reality TV" and "The News" will be one in the same.  People who make comments like this one are just like all the other lemmings.  The kind that put a flag up and went shopping right after 9/11 as they were joining their fellow Americans in asserting their right to grieve through consumerism (America, Open for Business).  The kind that believes that anyone who doesn't agree with this viewpoint is obviously jaded beyond human compassion.  The kind of compassion we all have as Americans.  The kind of compassion it takes to approve a poorly justified war on Iraq, or the bombing of Afghani weddings and such.  Yay America!  Go TV!  Give me my news with a smile, please, and make me feel like this accident is a national tragedy of epic proportions...we need a distraction from the massing of troops...this works wonders for us, and helps us along the path to accepting Bush's War through distraction.  Yay!  Can I give up all of my freedoms, including freedom of speech, so that I may be as compassionate as this other guy?

[ Parent ]
reading this (1.25 / 4) (#254)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:03:29 PM EST

reading this and i think...

there is more than one kind of lemming now isn't there?

dude, you are just trolling the party line... right over your smaller, alternative leftist thinking cliff. lol ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Aha! (4.50 / 2) (#307)
by Souhait on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:43:18 AM EST

We're all lemmings! But my leader lemming is better than your leader lemming.

[ Parent ]
lol ;-) (nt) (none / 0) (#327)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:38:00 PM EST


C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]
censorship (2.16 / 6) (#237)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:23:58 PM EST

then turn off the tv if it disgusts you

anything else on the issue amounts to censorship attempts on your part

why does the media have to reflect your perception of what the proper level of emotion should be?

if cnn covers the story too emotionally, they will be criticized

if they cover it too detached, they will be criticized

it is a bell curve, and market feedback mechanisms... people tuning cnn out and going to msnbc or foxnews instead, will decide the day.

if you say they are all the same, well then they will all suffer via market feedback mechanisms because everyone will turn the news off. people will notice that and you will see far less of a "media circus" in the future.

but you can't expect the news outlets to reflect your personal idea of what the proper emotional tinge on the news should be.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

I'll censure as much as I like, thanks. (4.25 / 4) (#246)
by bruce on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:25:50 PM EST

anything else on the issue amounts to censorship attempts on your part

Say *what*? I think you have confused "censure" with "censor". Censorship is when you can lose your broadcast license for saying "fuck" on the air. Censure is calling in and saying, "I think you shouldn't say things like that on the the radio". The above article was censure, not censorship.

The media had better reflect our perception of what an appropriate level of emotion should be, or more and more people are going to turn off the exploitative bullshit in disgust, thank you very much. Please note that most of the replies have been supportive, and most of the remaining ones indicate confusion; your level of self-righteous piety is distinctly in the minority.

In fact, so many people have said "Thank you for articulating what I couldn't" or "Man, I thought I was the only one" that we should start a movement for Dignity in Media. If we could get just 10% of the public to turn the channel, and 0.1% to write in with complaints next time the media manufactures a HNT, I bet we'd see some changes real damn fast...

[ Parent ]

you are high minded (2.00 / 3) (#253)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:01:05 PM EST

you are high minded, and your ideals are noble, and it would folly to criticize them.

but it is also important to note that the capitalist directive combined with the common psychological need for sensationalism renders any such noble efforts on your part but a drop in the ocean.

i won't dissuade you from your nobility. you are noble.

but noble don't sell newspapers, capice?

you can hate me for being a realist, as an idealist, you probably will, but i would plead for you to not shoot the messenger, as i recognize and appreciate your nobility.

unfortunately, i recognize your nobility as folly as well. i won't criticize your idealism, but i will afford it it's proper value in the world. not much.

censor, or censure, or whatever, your media as you see fit. use it. recognize mass media for what it is, the nature of the beast. and then get over it. don't expect it to reflect your high minded ideals.

create your own media. i do. see? here we both are on kuro5hin, commenting in a public forum. see how that works? ;-)

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Quick Fix (4.00 / 4) (#256)
by nulbyte on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:12:19 PM EST

So, stop watching the media. Everyone should know by now they blow things out of proportion a bit. I've gotten around that problem myself, quite easily actually. Nothing interesting on TV, why bother watching it? Not that I think they did that in this case, I wouldn't know; it just happened, c'mon.

[ Parent ]
a truly compassionate person (3.50 / 2) (#243)
by turmeric on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:12:45 PM EST

respects that paying 100000000 times more attention to military ppl than to civilians is wrong, that the NASA agency has never given a shit about safety, etc etc etc.

[ Parent ]
trolled by turmeric (1.50 / 2) (#248)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:31:29 PM EST

trolled by turmeric

not an especially uncommon event on kuro5hin

didn't we talk about this already turmeric?

come on now turmeric, be a good troll. work on your redemption. good trolly, trolly. see carrot, see stick. c'mon now. good trolly, trolly. lol ;-P
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

I'm not quite so sure about that (4.50 / 2) (#314)
by composer777 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:13:16 PM EST

I think what she is against is how the privacy of families is being invaded and used to make money.  Sure, people want to know and understand.  So, a responsible news agency would satisfy that desire by providing informative content that increases one's perspective.  How do you do that?  Simple, provide a several hour feature on the History of NASA, the risks, etc.  That would be the best way to honor NASA, by increasing American's understanding of what NASA does so that they can make informed decisions about NASA's budget, etc.  The same thing could have happened after 9/11.  Rather than recklessly replay emotionally charged footage, instead provide a historical perspective of the middle East, going back 50-100 years.  This way Americans could make an informed decision about what to do about these problems.  But, big media isn't concerned about being responsible, or ethical, and they aren't concerned about the devastating impact that teams of dozens of reporters have on families that are mourning.  I'm sorry, but sometimes your "right" to know has to take a back seat to the emotions of those who are truly suffering.  But the media doesn't give a shit, and they don't care about actually informing you of anything.  Their only goal is to drive a nail into the heart of Americans and twist it around to get the maximum effect.  It's disgusting, and I WILL NOT support it.

[ Parent ]
You missed the point and reiterated it all at once (5.00 / 2) (#344)
by nanobug on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:27:24 PM EST

a truly responsible person respects the pain and hurt of those who are affected by disaster. they do not harp on and trumpet their own lack of emotional affect

a truly responsible media would respect the pain and hurt of those who are affected by disaster.  they would not milk it for all it is worth to capture a viewer's attention weeks after the events in an attempt to keep them glued to their channel/newspaper in order to maximize advertising revenue.

[ Parent ]

Gosh, superdiva (4.25 / 16) (#231)
by aonifer on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 03:57:57 PM EST

You're so hip and ironic.  I'll be sure to get your permission before having an emotion, lest I become a media sheeple (sherson?).  To think, I was feeling sad about the Columbia disaster -- oops!  Did I say "disaster"?  No, calling the destruction of a spacecraft that, for better or worse, represents the human drive for exploration and that resulted in the deaths of seven people disrespects the real disasters.  No, I'll use NASA's own word for the event, mishap.  That's probably too strong a word, too, though.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I'm such a sucker.  I actually wasted my energy feeling sad for the Columbia "mishap", not because the space shuttle represents my childhood dream of entering space, or because the space program is part of what inspired me to pursue my current career path, or even because people died in the "mishap".  No, I was feeling sad because CNN, or Fox News, or ABC, or C-SPAN, or QVC, or whatever the fuck network I was watching was manipulating me.

I'm such a loser.  I didn't even know those people!  And that bastard Cartoon Network, or Court TV, or Animal Planet, or whatever the fuck network I was watching that broadcast nontstop for six days actually had the nerve to give personal profiles of the astronauts!  I don't want to know about them; I didn't even know them.

And since I didn't feel as bad about the kids who were killed in the avalanche, or the people killed in the train crash, or the other "mishaps" that resulted in deaths that day, I must be a total hypocrite, in addition to a media sherson.   I won't even get into the loathsome and arrogant (therefore American) behavior of caring more about "mishaps" that occur in my own country than others. Clearly the only nonhypocritical path to take is to never feel sad about any event, ever.

So, fuck you, ESPN2, or Turner Classic Movies, or Comedy Central, or whatever the fuck network I was watching that is probably still broadcasting nonstop coverage of the "mishap".  You won't get me again.

yup (4.66 / 3) (#241)
by turmeric on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:11:39 PM EST

you paint a pretty accurate picture of yourself, congrats

[ Parent ]
Look, (3.75 / 4) (#242)
by SLTrigger on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:12:01 PM EST

If you feel as empathetic toward the forty people that died in that train in Zimbabwe as you do toward the shuttle crew, great. You are a good person. I don't think the point of the article is to trivialize death.

The point is to mock the way the media shamelessly goes after any story they think will sell some advertising, and the way they would have us value the lives of the astronauts over the lives of any number of other people who die every day.

In short, it's bullshit.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
I don't get it (3.66 / 3) (#261)
by Lenny on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:58:55 PM EST

The point is to mock the way the media shamelessly goes after any story they think will sell some advertising
I don't really understand your point. The media covers stories that they think people will watch so they can sell advertisements. The media is funded by advertisements. The media needs people to watch them so that advertisers get to...guess what...advertise to them. Should the media cover stories that won't help them sell advertisements? Do you get mad at Best Buy trying to sell computers or TVs? I mean, isn't that what they're in business for...?

they would have us value the lives of the astronauts over the lives of any number of other people who die every day
What do you think wold affect you more: the death of one of your loved ones, or the death of someone you never knew anything about?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
In response: (5.00 / 3) (#292)
by SLTrigger on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:57:50 AM EST

Should the media cover stories that won't help them sell advertisements?

In short, yes. Most journalistic organizations follow a code of ethics, that says, in essence, that they will report the news as honestly and completely as possible.

I submit that playing on the public's emotions in a time of "crisis" is dishonest and in conflict with these ethics. I further argue that elevating some tragic deaths over others is dishonest.

What do you think wold affect you more: the death of one of your loved ones, or the death of someone you never knew anything about?

I'm not sure what your point is. Of course I think a death of a loved one would affect me more. Is every American expected to have a close, familial relationship with one of the astronauts?

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
You answer your question by your words (4.66 / 3) (#296)
by parliboy on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:07:24 AM EST

We don't want the media to cover "stories".  We want them to cover news.  News is the shit that happened today.  A story is that shit that they will cover for weeks, months, even years at a time, using every available angle, no matter how tenuous, to stretch it out.

O.J. Simpson gets arrested for murder.  News.

O.J. Simpson sits in jail for a year awaiting trial, and we get updates on it every day.  Then we get live coverage every day of the trial.  Then we get updates every day during the civil trial.  Then we follow him while he golfs and does speaking engagements.  Story.

Big difference.

Our intolerance exists because we recognize the pattern well enough to know which of those two the current cycle is emulating.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

Advertising. (3.00 / 1) (#290)
by WhiteBandit on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:27:19 AM EST

While I agree that the media might do things that would sell more advertising, I do fail to see how the coverage of these events actually make money.

I was watching the tube all day on Saturday (call me an automaton if you wish, I watched TV!) watching the news about the shuttle. I don't think I saw one single commercial until late that evening (6pm-ish or so CA time). So from roughly 8:30am when I turned it on to 6pm, I did not see one commercial on any of the major news networks. How did they make money on this incident? When they resumed commercials, I didn't notice an excessive amount either to "make up" for it. I think the same can go for coverage during 9/11 if I remember correctly.

While I share your paranoid views and think the media does do things that are technically in their own best interests, I don't understand how they make money on "HTNs".

[ Parent ]

They're building a brand name, (5.00 / 1) (#291)
by SLTrigger on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 02:52:47 AM EST

just like any other major company. My point is that the media makes out the deaths of the astronauts as more tragic than other deaths. In my opinion, this is a shameless and intellectually dishonest play to people's emotions, and thusly get them not only to watch Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. for the duration of the crisis, but afterwards (when they are selling ads.) Note the sappy profiles of the astronauts (avalanche victims, for example, get perhaps fifteen seconds in total), or the snappy alliterative headlines.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
My Response (5.00 / 2) (#312)
by composer777 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:06:04 PM EST

At work today the head of Human Resources sent out an email telling us how to deal with this tragedy.  I responded to one of the points that I agree with and sent it back out.  Here's the text below.

*    Decide how much exposure to TV and newspapers you want your family to have

That's one point I definitely agree with.  Turn it off.  As soon as the 24 hour infotainment networks realize that they can't make money by invading the privacy of familes and setting it to background music, this will stop.  Therefore, quit watching, it's the only morally correct thing to do.  The only thing you're doing by watching is encouraging a team of several dozen reporters to invade the privacy of the friends and families of the astronauts, who are in a period of mourning.  


[ Parent ]

Again. (4.00 / 1) (#318)
by blixco on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:43:45 PM EST

The article isn't downplaying the tragedy (any tragedy). The article is giving voice to the concern of mass media vs. emotion. Sensationalism vs. healing. Capital vs. respect for the dead.

If you're annoyed that superdiva is cynical, look no further than your post for an excellent example of cynicism, however misguided it may be. Nothing wrong with being cynical; if there is, the entire generation of people in the US and UK under 40 are all bad, bad people.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

People die every day (3.80 / 5) (#233)
by Shimmer on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:17:29 PM EST

People die every day and it's not national news.  Yet when seven people die in the Space Shuttle it is a HNT.  Why are their deaths different from the other "ordinary" deaths of the day?

It's a legitimate question.

I can't answer the question except to say that, for me, it is different.  This was, indeed, an (irony-free) HNT.

I would suggest that you spend your valuable time trying to answer the question yourself rather than waste everyone's time satirizing it pointlessly.

-- Brian

Wizard needs food badly.

the old saying (3.00 / 1) (#266)
by chu on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:48:14 PM EST

'dog bites man' vs. 'man bites dog'

[ Parent ]
Why it is different (4.00 / 1) (#268)
by slur on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:58:21 PM EST

I suppose it is different because in this case the dead were exemplary individuals acting in the interest of something larger than themselves - in the interest of humanity, you might say. But I agree with your opening point. Something around 49,000 people die every year in transportation-related accidents in the United States. That's fifteen 9-11's per year, simply because our modes of transportation are so incredibly dangerous. Several times more people are injured so badly that they require medical care for the remainder of their lives. Yet no one is hunting down the board of General Motors. No one is calling to a halt in driving until we fix the "fatal flaw" in our transportation systems. Because such deaths are random and non-cumulative nobody perceives that they are all connected by a single cause. Nobody perceives that our fast-paced lifestyle is the real Heartbreaking National Tragedy. Nevertheless I appreciate the satire, and I agree with its central point, that we tend to perceive things through a romantic / patriotic filter rather than seeing things in the light of universal humanity. And I agree that when the deaths of innocent people are usurped in the name of the abstraction we call America it diminishes the real meaning and value of life.

|
| slur was here
|

[ Parent ]
superdiva ignore these idiots (4.40 / 5) (#240)
by turmeric on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:10:44 PM EST

they are annoyed that someone would bust the precious little corporate/military/industrial/media bubble, just as 5 year olds do not like to learn about having to pay for things in stores. this article represents the kind of thinking that will save the planet from ignorance, tyranny, and death: no doubt nazi germany and soviet russia had many 'national tragedies', even as our own NASA is preparing to build space lasers and become even more militarized (is it not enough that 6 out of 7 astronauts were ex-air force or navy?)

Well... (5.00 / 1) (#250)
by superdiva on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:39:54 PM EST

Some of them are making valid points. Although I kinda wish that instead of dismissing the article as a cynical detached rant that they read more carefully how the discourse of the news broadcast manipulates events and, also, they read my earlier comments further down in the thread.

I guess the sad thing about all of this is that when I first heard about the disaster from my mother, I didn't even have to look at the television to see how the media would treat this. I thought, "Oh, CNN will probably be on standby and they'll do a film clip on all the astronauts, and they'll show the flowers and teddy bears, and George Bush will probably make a speech....

I guess it was the feeling of being alienated by the whole thing before I even knew what it was about that was frightening.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
I agree completely (4.20 / 5) (#245)
by composer777 on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:20:28 PM EST

I also posted this in your diary.

I wrote about the same thing on Slashdot, and was given quite a bit of crap.  I'm glad to see kuro5hin has a more tolerant attitude.  

Here are a couple of choice comments:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=52528&cid=5206886

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=52528&threshold=0&commentsort=0& tid=160&mode=thread&pid=5207265#5207481

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=52528&threshold=0&commentsort=0& tid=160&mode=thread&pid=5208531#5209558


Kudos (5.00 / 1) (#247)
by superdiva on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:29:26 PM EST

for sticking your neck out there. It looks like you managed to hold your ground.

I don't think making the type of observations I did with this story deserves a merit badge or anything. But you do hope that at the end of the day, you don't regret saying anything at all. ;)
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Thanks (4.50 / 2) (#311)
by composer777 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:58:06 AM EST

I also liked how you had them cut away right as the commercial for the History Channel came on.  I don't know if that was on purpose(if it was, very clever), but I think an antidote for what we have today in 24 hour infotainment media would be a combination of the History Channel and CNN.  So, get rid of all the emotional filler and replace it with context that can only be produced by Historical perspective.  This could have worked after 9/11.  Rather than play emotionally charged footage 24/7, instead produce segments that are several hours long and give the viewer an informative view of the history of the Middle East.  Or, with the Columbia, they could have used the viewer's desire to know more to educate them about the Space Program.  We would then all benefit from an increased understanding of the world around us.  But, I suppose that's exactly what the powers that be don't want.  

[ Parent ]
The Press on: the Press (5.00 / 5) (#252)
by nklatt on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 05:50:43 PM EST

The Washington Post and Times weigh in.

Down the Hole (1.00 / 3) (#255)
by nulbyte on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:09:07 PM EST

Watch where you walk next time, else you'll fall into another one of the media's trap.  Needless to say...right, nevermind.

This is the real tragedy (2.57 / 7) (#257)
by ToughLove on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:12:42 PM EST

That there are people starving in the United States, that the middle class is being squeezed out, and that we waste billions of dollars each year to play around in space.

Perhaps we should stop trying to stop playing spacemen, and take care of our tired and poor, eh?

--Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire



The budger (4.80 / 5) (#260)
by shinshin on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 06:43:18 PM EST

NASA budget is $15 billion, includes climate change research and biological sciences programs. Department of Defense is $330 billion. Total government spending is $2 trillion. Read all about it.

Homeland security, defense, medicare, medicaid, and social security are the biggest by far chunks of the pie by far.

Anyone who thinks that the massive scientific advances that have come out of NASA operations is not worth the $15 billion spent on it is either trying to divert attention from other budget criticisms, or is a victim of this sort of propaganda.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Lay of NASA though... (4.50 / 2) (#274)
by dikaiopolis on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 09:09:30 PM EST

But if you want to talk about wastes of money, why rag on NASA. Take a look at government funding for biotech research relative to government funding for the physical sciences. Then if you want to take a look at a waste of money, try the millitary. Or would you rather all research be done either through the corporations or through the millitary.
gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]
Really? Where? (5.00 / 1) (#324)
by RatGod on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:11:09 PM EST

That there are people starving in the United States, that the middle class is being squeezed out, and that we waste billions of dollars each year to play around in space.

There are? Where? I confess, I haven't seen somebody on the streets who looked hungry in decades. The US has the fattest poor people in the world.

Poor here means your cable doesn't have HBO.

[ Parent ]

forget something? (none / 0) (#360)
by ryochiji on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 01:03:52 AM EST

>Perhaps we should stop trying to stop playing spacemen, and take care of our tired and poor, eh?

Before we stop being spacemen, I think we should stop being warriors. The military gets heck of a lot more money than NASA, and tons of people die before any of the technology comes to the masses. NASA, on the other hand, has come up with some cool technology and they only kill 7 people every 16 years or so.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]

Maybe K5 still has some good writers. (4.25 / 8) (#263)
by blacklite on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 07:22:53 PM EST

That was completely beautiful.

Thank you for writing it.


What always surprises me.... (2.50 / 2) (#278)
by Man of 1000 cups on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 10:29:03 PM EST

is that there always is a camera to catch the tragedy. There was a home video recording of the Columbia breaking up just like there were videos of the Concord crashing, and the two planes hitting the twin towers on 9/11. What's the likely-hood that there's someone pointing a camera in the right direction in the few seconds?

Probably around 1 in 6 billion [nt] (3.50 / 2) (#297)
by gengis on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:35:09 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Convenient cameras (none / 0) (#322)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:55:51 PM EST

If there was going to be a space shuttle flying across my backyard, I'd have a camera ready for it too. I'm sure there was adequate newspaper coverage of it the day before; similar to the coverage of an eclipse ("Watch this point in the sky at this time, it'll look something like this").

As for the World Trade Centre attacks, I am not aware of any video which captured the first plane crash. The fifteen minutes or so which elapsed before the second crash were more than enough to get the big news cameras trained on the burning building. (The delay between the two planes may have been either coincidence or choreography on the attackers' part, but that's another debate.)

I'm afraid I can't speak to the Concorde incident, since my relative lack of knowledge won't permit it. In the other cases, however, the cameras were convenient, but certainly not conspiracy-worthy.

[ Parent ]

There is a video of the first plane crash, FYI. (none / 0) (#323)
by superdiva on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:00:28 PM EST


__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Of what kind? (none / 0) (#325)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:21:47 PM EST

Was it the standard home video fragment? What was its context before the crash? Thanks for the correction.

[ Parent ]
Context (none / 0) (#326)
by superdiva on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:28:39 PM EST

The video caught the plane heading towards the WTC. Then the plane went behind a building, then impact.

The person shooting the video was actually in the street taping firemen or construction work of some type, I think. It was very eery watching those firemen stop what they were doing and go towards the towers because some of them probably died.
__________________________________________________
"This salve is the potent for all humankind, and it is this: possibility." - MisterQueue
[ Parent ]
Thank you (none / 0) (#329)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:12:00 PM EST

Still, a camera in New York City is not exactly an uncommon occurrence, so wondering about the coincidence of available footage does not merit anywhere near the amount of discussion that I've lavished upon it, so I'll be quiet now.

But thank you for the information.

[ Parent ]

On DVD (none / 0) (#333)
by yooden on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:32:47 PM EST

http://www.imdb.com/Title?0312318


[ Parent ]
Sorry if I confused you... (none / 0) (#334)
by Man of 1000 cups on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 06:36:47 PM EST

I wasn't saying that it was a conspiracy I just thought it weird that by coincedence there is a camera video taping, especially of the concord crash. There's a still frame of it at http://www.webdesk.com/concorde-crash/ about half way down the page (the best i could find in the short amount of time) I just think it's amazing that there always seems to be a camera recording by chance when things like that happen

[ Parent ]
My mistake (5.00 / 1) (#336)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 07:08:49 PM EST

I misinterpreted what you said. However, one could make another argument stating that the most "popular" news events are the ones with readily available video footage... and that's just scary.

[ Parent ]
haha, fuckwit (none / 0) (#348)
by ceejayoz on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:34:20 AM EST

Oh, for goodness sake...

Columbia was flying over an entire state, visible to people all along the flight path.  People take photos and videos of shuttle reentries all the time.  People are bound to catch the breakup on film.

There's like one video (and a bad one, at that) of the first plane hitting the WTC, and plenty of video of the second.  It's actually rather surprising that more people didn't get it on film, considering how many tourists are in NYC all the time.

The Concorde crashed after several minutes of being on fire.  Don't you think someone would think to pull out a video camera if they had one and saw a plane belching fire out of the back coming towards them?

As conspiracy theories go, yours sucks.

[ Parent ]

It's not a tragedy if there are no cameras (4.00 / 1) (#357)
by Eric Green on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:34:07 PM EST

Surely you jest? How *CAN* it be a tragedy if there are no cameras?

If it isn't on TV, it doesn't exist, after all!
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Correct Observation but Wrong Event.... (3.16 / 6) (#285)
by NuWinter on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:05:40 AM EST

While I agree with your observation on the commercialization and exploitation of viewers emotions for ratings I cannot agree with the subject matter on which this (I assume) satire is based. To you the Columbia's destruction and the death of the 7 astronauts may not be of any great concern but, it is for the related families and I would hope for the majority of Americans and Human beings on this Earth concerned with Manned Space Exploration.

This event to me is another deeply depressing and maddening reminder of how incompetent Government bureaucracies like NASA really are, and why more support should be given to other groups involved with space exploration (that includes corporations).

The media's cynical exploitation of viewer's emotions for ratings and profit is a tactic well known and I would think not really of any concern anymore, as most are already aware of it. It would be like posting a story about a politician lying. It wouldn't make any sense and you know it. However, since you seem to be so obsessed about this particular issue perhaps you could have posted something strictly concerned with parodying the rash of Abduction Stories that occurred some months ago.

And, as some have posted many do indeed die on this earth in senseless and horrible tragedies and don't get front-page coverage (I'm sure some of them deserve it though) these people that die don't do so while serving their countries in one of the most important capacities a human being can do, exploring new frontiers, be they on land or in space.

With respect to incompetence... (4.50 / 2) (#303)
by epepke on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:44:07 AM EST

People have been talking about how this seems like the Challenger all over again. There is one thing that I haven't seen anybody point out about this event, so I'll do it.

The first space shuttle launch, ever, was in April, 1981 (it was the Columbia). The Challenger blew up in January, 1986. Now, if you stare at the dates long enough, you'll notice that it was a scant five years before the first shuttle blew up, and seventeen whole years before the second one did. Sure, that includes a couple of years before the first post-Challenger launch, but it's still a whole lot bigger than 5.

Calculations about how competent NASA is must necessarily include that decade and a half when shuttle launches that did not blow up were so ordinary and commonplace that most of America had become totally blase about them.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Sure NASA is incompetent... (none / 0) (#350)
by Alhazred on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:28:48 AM EST

This is a ridiculous statement to make. The fact is they built the first reuseable spacecraft in history, a combination rocket, orbital space platform, and hypersonic glider. NOTHING the shuttle does has ever been done before, and they launched it over 100 times with 2 accidents.

Do you REALLY understand how incredibly complex and dangerous this technology is? Obviously not. An SSME for instance is a machine the size of a VW beetle that produces a power output sufficient to provide all the electricity for New York City (if it were in the form of electricity). These are power densities 100's of times greater than that encountered in almost any other application.

I'd like to see ANY organization build and successfully operate a hypersonic glider 100 times with one accident. Your just talking about massive power, speed, heat, and fantastically tight tolerances of materials and control systems.

I've worked in Aerospace designing control systems and data acquisition and processing systems which were used on space vehicles. Its incredibly demanding work and you MUST get it right the very first time or 'POOF'.

I challenge anyone to show me an organization that could even shake a stick at what NASA has done.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

Incompent? No, Misdirected? Yes (none / 0) (#356)
by phurley on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:25:00 PM EST

The shuttle is a wonderful technology showcase, but an terrible replacement for single use lauch vehicles. It is not cheap, safer nor does provide any real capabilities that would not be easier to provide in an expendable lauch rocket.



[ Parent ]

Ignorance is widespread (4.00 / 2) (#316)
by Jamie Re on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:38:02 PM EST

"The media's cynical exploitation of viewer's emotions for ratings and profit is a tactic well known and I would think not really of any concern anymore, as most are already aware of it."

I think people's ignorance of the Spin Media that we have in today's society is more widespread than you think. Just look at the widespread success of Reality TV as an example of the ignoreance of the American TV watching populace. These people watch these reality television programs and eat them up and you expect them to read between the lines of a news broadcast?! I think not -j

[ Parent ]

Yes! The Ignorant Brainwashed Masses! (TM) (5.00 / 1) (#342)
by nanobug on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:08:20 PM EST

Oh, how I love it when people mention the IGNORANT BRAINWASHED MASSES (TM). Heres a clue, don't worry, you can keep your quarter. Not everyone who watches TV is ignorant and brainwashed. Not everyone who enjoys watching the Real World or Joe Millionaire is totally clueless. In fact, it would be to your benefit and everyone elses to realize that a large majority of those who you refer to as 'ignorant sheep' realize that TV is full of commercialization and 'mind control' and have the uncanny ability that you and I have of sifting through all that BS and still enjoying the show. They just don't feel the need to come on K5 or Slashdot and brag about it.

[ Parent ]
Again. (4.50 / 2) (#317)
by blixco on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:38:49 PM EST

The author isn't downplaying the tragedy, she's sending up the reporting of the tragedy.

The point being: it's pretty awful to capitalize on tragedy. As you pointed out, this may be quite obvious to most, but the encapsulation of that idea in words is fairly difficult to do in a balanced way.

The fact of the tragedy, the nature of the problems which caused it, and the emotions around it *do* need to be respected and explored. It is beneath most corporate news services to do this; they have no respect for the tragedy, it's victims, or it's reprocussions. I've said it before: tragedy deserves more than engineered emotion, more than commercial interest. More than noise. How can we heal when the image is replayed a million times a day (hyperbolic as that may sound, I'm thinking it's true)? Healing requires time, space, and distance. News wants sensation. Those two needs don't ever align.
-------------------------------------------
"No. Seriously. Mace the fuckers with prose." - Parent ]

media (4.62 / 8) (#302)
by Phantros on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:38:01 AM EST

This story seems to be a reaction to media overload. I would be sympathetic, but...see that power button on your remote? Press lightly, experience relief.

The last time I turned on the TV for something other than watching a DVD/video was 9/11/01 and that was because many news sites were congested and down. Online you find the content, it doesn't find you. You may pick and choose what is appropriate based upon your needs.

As for the commercialization and media circus brought on by tragedy...is it any surprise? Television is a business just like everything else. They show what people want to see, and you know most things just aren't that interesting. Or do you really miss those Petticoat Junction reruns when they get preempted?

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with

It is HWT now (4.00 / 3) (#308)
by MSBob on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:57:18 AM EST

Right now we are beyond HNT. We are now up to Heartbreaking World Tragedy level. Just check foreign news sources such as BBC or GlobeAndMail. Hell even the Polish press had this story as headline news for the past few days while the country was in the middle of signing it's EU accession treaty!!! This is a sorry state of affairs.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

And elsewhere... (none / 0) (#351)
by Akshay on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:25:38 AM EST

My media communications professor, an Indian, firmly believes that the Indian media derives its sense of self-worth from the American media. Heck, they're copying them so thoroughly that even the journalists themselves are crying (okay, that was admittedly sensationalist; you could argue that the girl was really crying over her lost hair and not on the current state of affairs in the media)

[ Parent ]

And I thank you. (4.50 / 2) (#313)
by Imperfect on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:08:22 PM EST

I've only ever heard it, not read it.

Not perfect, not quite.
Missing the point (4.33 / 3) (#328)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:07:49 PM EST

There seem to be a frightening number of people who misinterpreted this excellent piece. Perhaps its level of abstraction confused them as to its point. Jeffrey Zeldman wrote a few words in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks which, I believe, may act as a suitable concrete complement, helping to focus at least some of the author's meaning.

Excerpt for the lazy:

I can picture the overworked creative director in a news organization, choosing from different graphic treatments of AMERICA UNDER ATTACK: "Use a different font. Too fancy, too bloody. Show me something with the Towers."

I can see an overworked producer at a local TV station scanning footage of the firemen in slo-mo: "There, that one, where you can just see the tear in the fireman's eye. Use that shot."



Just an observation. (4.00 / 5) (#330)
by Wellred on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:16:03 PM EST

100 people die daily in Automobile accidents in the United States of America. Why are these 7 astronauts any more important than any of those? People are people.


So comrades, come rally And the last fight let us face The Internationale unites the human race.

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#337)
by SlickMickTrick on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:09:50 PM EST

You dirty communist hippy! You make up statistics and take advantage of tragedies in an attempt to take away MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO DRIVE!

It seems life is only important when caring doesn't interfere with my preferred lifestyle. After all, what does it matter if my bellowing cries of pain are responsible for shutting down the space program. All it's given me is Tang.



[ Parent ]
Heh! (5.00 / 1) (#338)
by Wellred on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:31:12 PM EST

Ha!


So comrades, come rally And the last fight let us face The Internationale unites the human race.
[ Parent ]

i think... (5.00 / 1) (#363)
by relief on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 01:23:40 AM EST

i think that in this case, even those who don't care much about the tot astronauts would rightfully grieve over the apparent limitations of human calculations. its not like the they were DUI with vodka+tang. its more like the nature of neuron based intelligence imposing a barricade against space traffic.

----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.
[ Parent ]
Splendid. (4.25 / 4) (#339)
by winterharp on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:06:45 PM EST

Brilliant article -- I applaud you for writing it. I'm sick and tired of the American media, whose twisted financially-motivated character is gradually polluting the rest of the world. On a related note, http://www.vote-smart.org/

nice (5.00 / 1) (#362)
by relief on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 01:14:25 AM EST

thanks for sharing.

i have to ask, is there also an implication of how people who work IN the media become numb to tragedy and moral values?

----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.

A Heartbreaking National Tragedy | 365 comments (333 topical, 32 editorial, 3 hidden)
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