Howard and I took on media coverage of David Carradine’s death in this week’s Perpetual Post.  Read his side of the story here.

News media, I’ve gotta say.  The way you’ve been handling this David Carradine thing is freaking me out a little.  The ghoulish and unnecessary details continue to leap unexpectedly out of the headlines of even the blandest websites.  WordPress.com, why are you telling me where I can find pictures of Carradine’s naked corpse?  CNN news, why are you barraging me with tawdry details while I’m on the treadmill at the gym?  CNN!  Talk to me about tax hikes and the swine flu!  Don’t discuss the history of erotic asphyxiation!  Even you, MSN.com.  I visit you in search of Bundt cake recipes, and I come away with a recipe for a scrotal square knot.

Granted, the whole situation is freaky, and it strikes me as the kind of tragedy that would really hit a family hard.  However, having never met the deceased, I would prefer to be left unscathed.  This is where 24 hour news coverage becomes a serious drag, as does the public’s apparent unblinking fascination with the sordid and intimate details of public figures.  Not to be a sentimental fool, but whatever happened to not speaking ill of the dead?  Apparently it’s more important to have salacious headlines and increased web traffic.  The unceasing attention to and strange disapproval of the situation surrounding Carradine’s death could lead an outsider to believe that he was some sort of evil, hated public figure.  His movies were good!  He died in a mysterious, disturbing manner, but most importantly, he’s dead now, and that’s sad!  Can we move on?

I think we may need to give the news media a bit of a breather.  It appears to be on overload; popular broadcast channels have too many hours to fill with breaking stories and urgent information.  A few concessions from the American public might be in order—perhaps a general agreement permitting live networks to take a few minutes to air some utterly useless footage once in awhile.  Really, would it hurt anything if news anchors spent twenty minutes thumb wrestling or discussing their cats every once in awhile?  Perhaps the cameraman could go outside to capture a cloud shaped like a duck that one of the interns spotted during her lunch break.  If there are no looming cold fronts or impending hurricanes, the weatherman might indulge viewers with a brief tap routine.  At this point, I’d rather watch Wolf Blitzer tie and untie his shoes Mr. Rogers style for fifteen minutes than hear anymore horrible details about the unfortunate death of David Carradine.

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