Obsession with Tragedy

I’m lying here scrolling through Facebook per my usual morning routine. That really should not be the first thing I do when I wake up. That’s another post for a different day, though.

During my leisurely scroll, I kept running into articles and videos from Hurricane Irma. This is the most recent news story as Hurricane Harvey dominated most of my newsfeed last week. I stopped for a brief second to read the comments, and see the destruction Irma left in her wake. This is a category 5 hurricane. You know items were tossed around like leaves in the wind. I saw houses destroyed. A yard full of trailers that were previously stacked are now scattered on the ground. A camera man almost got swept up by waves. Videos of storm winds whipping to and fro. Shaking light poles. Bending trees. I’m looking at all of this, and the thought occurred to me. 

Americans are obsessed with tragedy.

We are so fixated with disaster to the point where it’s entertaining to us. Don’t believe me? Ok. Answer this. What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite TV show? Whatever it is, I guarantee the crux of the show deals with the main character’s personal tribulations. If it doesn’t, then their backstory is traumatic (unless it’s HGTV). Translate this to real life. 

Raise your hand if you binged on The People vs OJ Simpson. *Raises both hands* What’s that about? It’s the recounting of how a black guy got away with murdering two white people. That’s a low-level basis anyways. That case is famous for many reasons, and that series drew big ratings. In our eagerness to veg in front of the TV, we forget that this was real life.  People are actually dead. Children lost a parent. Parents lost a child. From the Kardashians to the Simpsons to the Browns, everyone went through an emotional whirlwind. And we pop down on the couch like “Yeah. I’m bout to binge this today!”

This is why we are desensitized to other’s struggles.

With the flip of a button – the flick of a finger – we can turn off tragedy and act as if it doesn’t exist once we’ve been entertained by it. News Stations will find the next catastrophe, report on it relentlessly, and leave once the drama down. Meanwhile, people are left to pick up the pieces. Sombre might not know how to move forward.

Why are we so infatuated with others pain? I don’t know. I do know that we need to have a clear understanding. There’s a lot going on in the world right now. We need to be there for one another. 

This is real life. 

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