Thursday, January 14, 2010

Disaster porn...

... is the idea that the media uses disasters as a means of entertainment.

Maybe I'm both cynical and sensitive - but, I'm having a hard time watching media coverage of Haiti for this very reason.

I keep wanting to shout "don't just stand there filming -- DO something".

Several years ago an African student asked me a very wise question. We were discussing Kant -- and the question was, in essence, whether it was morally permissible to use photos of a dying person to raise money for famine relief -- under the assumption that the relief would come too late to save the person being photographed, but would help others... he wanted to know if the person was being used as a means only (which Kant does not permit).

That student's question might be what's bothering me.

2 comments:

Bardiac said...

Your student was right; that's certainly an issue worth considering.

When I was in an earthquake, Dan Rather came and stood around in front of a collapsed bit of freeway in safari gear, and all my friends and I were thinking, safari gear? Dude, get the eff out of the way in your safari gear. Except, of course, we were watching TV as we cleaned up the mess in our apartments or our friends' apartments.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I felt this way during 9/11, during Columbine, during Hurricaine Katrina, during the Typhoon in the Pacific and still feel that way now. Inform me, yes. Make it into some sort of pornographic viewing? This is why I get my news off the radio. I don't need images. I don't WANT to watch the suffering from my lazy-boy at home. Not that I'm in denial, but because of what you say.