Something About the Voyeur?

Today I turned on the television, after a long much needed sleep, and the first image that slowly burned crossed the screen was an American Airline 737 jet liner trying to land at LAX, (L.A. International Air Port) in California, U.S.A.. Nothing to unusual about that I thought? I turned up the volume and the news announcer said that the aircraft had blown a left rear tire during take-off, and that it had return to land back at the air port, and was preparing for an emergency landing. The image of the aircraft getting ready to start the landing was transfixed on my screen while it slowly glided towards the Earth, and it stayed fix on my screen until the aircraft slowly rolled to a stop.

I switched to another channel, and there was the same jet sitting on the tar mat shown from a slightly different vantage point, just like the previous station I was watching. Then, I clicked through some other channels, “commercials, commercials, commercial,” then the same jet yet again, though this time there was a talking head pasted in a boxed imaged over top of the moving image of the jet landing again. I switched off the television set.

What is with people’s fascination with wanting to watch disasters, carnage and death? For several news stations to focus on a jet that was possibly doomed to destruction, we have a need to watch this from our living rooms? Why?

I remember several years ago when I was living in Toronto, I saw a large crowd gathering in front of a office building off from Young Street, and everyone was looking up. When I looked up to see what everyone else was looking at, there was this women perched on the side of a ledge from the eighth story of the fifteen story building. The police and emergency workers had arrived and were busy moving the onlookers away from the edge of the building. For ten minutes I stood there looking up at the helpless women as she stood there, still and composed, with a blank stare on her face, the look of someone with no hope. Just as it seemed that she was going to let go of the edge of the window that supported her upright, a pair of arms grabbed her and pulled back inside through a near by window. There were sounds of gasps from the crowd around me.

The crowd started to leave. Some people were very disappointed that she never jumped. One person, I remember, was so disappointed that the woman never jumped, yelled out a “BOO,” and threw his arms down, almost like he was demanding his money back for such a poor performance. Another woman I heard say, “she’s going to the nut-house for sure….” There were some who were crying, and some who seemed not affected by the attempted suicide whatsoever. I left and went on home from whatever it was I was doing.

Since that day I wondered why people have such a fascination with wanting to see death and destruction. I have read about cultures that allow public executions, and others that allow televised viewing of it across the airwaves. I know of people who go to sporting events, such as car racing, only because they know that there will be collisions and possible explosions, carnage, death and mayhem. Yet, no matter how horrible the tragedy is, people seem drawn to these events by the masses.

Are we so fascinated with someone else’s life that we need to see it in full view. That when someone was about to end their life, we must see it, whiteness it, see the tragedy for our self, only to have that image engraved into our minds that will later cause us to have nightmares and other metal dysfunctions down the road. Should we be labelled “sick” for that? Is it “us” who have the problem?

Perhaps there is need for us to see a jet landing that could possibly burst into flames, knowing that there are 150 people on board who will die a horrible death if it does, only to help us to touch our own helplessness and needs? Or, is our moral compass so bent out of whack that we need this as entertainment in our living rooms because we are so numb from our daily routines that this helps us breaks the monotony of it all?

3 Thoughts on “Something About the Voyeur?

  1. All You Have To Remember Is All Of Our So Rights And Freedoms The Various Goverments Have Taken Awawy , And Told Us It’s For Own Good. Think About It.

  2. Ps Talked To JM, Sh Both Are Good Sept 2nd

  3. Hey Super Turtle! I’ve been busy, I should phone the birthday girl…. Damn classes started already!

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