Yes, I’ve been told that you lose your right to privacy when you choose to end your life in such a horrific & public manner so “…he should have thought about that before he jumped from one of America’s iconic pieces of architecture.”. However, what about his friends, relatives, teachers, etc who did NOT chose to bear witness to the horrific images that span the globe on media stations & internet alike? Should they also be punished for a decision they had ZERO control over?
I think it’s officially safe to say that our society’s voyeuristic obsessions are beginning to get a little bit out of hand. (In my opinion, at least….)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech and understand that there’s a that basic human need in all of us. The need to bare personal witness to things we don’t necessarily understand or just find down right revolting. Kind-of like the universal habit to smell something horrid, state it as such and then pass it on to a friend demanding they smell it too. It’s just in our nature.
I, myself, am a bit of a voyeur. Guilty as charged for all kinds of things from celebrity blogs to the true stories behind shows like Law & Order SVU, films like Catch Me If You Can and more. Even my mom could tell you that while visiting bookstores as a kid, should I ever go ‘missing’- odds are I was smack dab in the middle of the “true crime” section. After I read Dr Seuss and Amelia Bedelia, of course.
But with today’s technology and all of the immediate access it gives to pretty much anything and everything on this planet and beyond…One has to wonder, what are our moral & ethical limits nowadays? More importantly, when did the lines between what’s considered socially acceptable to view vs what is just blatant exploitation of a person’s life begin to blur?
I’m sure (aside from my age), you’re wondering what spurred this whole “Deep Thoughts” process. It was the recent suicide of a young Yale student by way of Austin, TX who jumped from the observation deck of the Empire State Building last week. Not so much his tragic death but more over, the images that have surfaced of it after.
It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last, that someone’s unpleasant demise was photographed and displayed through out the media. There’s a rather infamous photo of Evelyn McHale who fell from the same observation deck in 1947 taken by a young photography student who happened by the scene just moments after her death. The image is of her on top of the car that she landed on, looking peaceful – almost angelically serene – except for the distorted heap of metal and broken glass that surrounds her. This chilling image was not only published in LIFE magazine but then later appropriated by Andy Warhol as another piece of his pop art many years later.
However, unlike the photo that was taken of Evelyn, photos of the young Yale student’s death are anything but “serene” and are miles beyond what would even be considered macabre. They’re just down right deplorable and to call them disrespectful to his memory not to mention his family would be the biggest understatement of the year. I refuse to even discuss further than this, them let alone show an image, because I feel the mere fact that I’m mentioning them will already draw too much attention as it is.
So I say again….with our “reality” TV shows, E Hollywood True Stories, tabloids mags and paparazzi on every corner, lurking for that coveted hundred thousand dollar shot of some celebutant’s panty-less vagina in an effort to sell more mag so a public that needs to scratch it’s “thank GOD someone else’s life/kids/job/private parts are worse than mine” itch…I ask you: When did the lines between what’s socially acceptable to view and what is just blatant exploitation of a person’s life, begin to blur beyond any true definition?
Maybe the answer is that there has always been more of a ‘bleed’ between the two as there never really was a set line to begin with.
* perfizample *