I have been on strike against my radio alarm for some time, due to its Astounding habit of starting my day with news of someone very far away committing atrocities and inhumane acts that I both am uninvolved with and can't do anything about.
Well, yesterday of course, the year proper started, and I had things that needed doing.
My radio was going for under thirty seconds and I heard the words crime, torture, and the name of some country in the Middle East. I turned it off.
Still feeling rattled ('coz that's just the way I am) I went to lunch and decided that Savage Love would be safely light reading, only to read about a woman who was raped by her boyfriend, and was writing in to see if she should forgive him, 'coz he was hospitalized with suicidal tendencies over the guilt of it all.
I was walking back to work when a friend of mine phoned me to apologize about getting a cheque to me a bit late; her brother had been shot and his friend killed in a drunken fight over the holidays, about four blocks away from where I live.
And then later, (this heard on another radio, where, I can't remember) was news of some woman posting videos of Saddam Hussein's execution for the general public to ogle on YouTube.
Somewhere, the poet Albert Goldbarth (alas, the only reference I found when googling it was my own allusion to this in my 2005 blog!) said that Eadweard Muybridge invented pornography. He was referring to Muybridge's clinical way of photographing the human form in all its revolutions; recording aspects of people that they are unable to see from all angles whilst actually engaged in said action. And all of this for other people to examine at their leisure, through the safety of distance.
Nowadays I wonder if he invented the news as well. People playing voyeur to extremes in which they will never be involved, but can watch or hear from the safety of their homes.
I doubt seriously that this passive engagement comes without consequence.