Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We Must Let This Hurt

Is it just me, or was anyone else unsettled by the TV news coverage of the tragedy at Virgina Tech? I mean, here I am listening to young people who've just had their lives shattered, who've lost their bearings in the world, who have become, in many senses, walking wounded. Then I see still photographs of single students sitting alone on the ground as if they'd been dropped there from a great height, I see groups of students clutching together looking lost, frightened and worst of all looking as if their young spirits had been ripped from them. Which of course they have. Then the screen goes black.

And just when the barbarity those students lived through begins to clutch at me, just when the icy realization blows through me of the lightless depths of pain and sorrow they have been flung into by the chaos of the last few hours, and the enormous, courageous effort they will have to make to climb back from those depths, just when I think I can touch the slightest aspect of what they are enduring, and thus reach out over the distance to petition this community of mourners with my meager offering, just when it almost seems I can hear their spirits crying out...there's Sally Fields telling me how happy she is to have discovered Boniva.

This, then, is the world we leave to our children. One where horror is commodified, set to music and narrated by blow dried mannequins who have mastered the sad face, the slow, muted cadence of whispering through a funeral, and who will all get back into their airplanes tomorrow and be off to the next tragedy like so many barking dogs chasing the grim reaper.

Nothing is real anymore. Not even reality.

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