Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hey, how about those Chilean miners?

Yes, this is my Big Chance to show everyone how insensitive I really am.

According to various news reports, roughly one billion people are glued to their TV screens as I type this, all engrossed in the spectacle of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners. Every TV channel save the Cartoon Network is relaying the images and providing breathless coverage. Every psychologist who isn't allergic to television makeup, everyone who has ever been within five miles of a mine and everyone who has ever been in any kind of dangerous situation is analyzing the event.

The "analysis" is beyond ridiculous. News anchors who know nothing about what's going on (you might say that about 90% of the subjects they cover) are opining about mining, geology and psychology as if they actually know something. Various shrinks -- who should damn well know better -- are talking about the miners' "problems" as if they had personally treated them for years.

PARENTHETICAL I'M-NO-MONSTER NOTE: I'm really happy for the miners and their families. I can't begin to imagine what they've gone through, and don't want to try. This is the closest thing imaginable to an ideal end to the situation.

But I think turning disaster into something closely approximating a sporting event is disgusting.

ANNOUNCER: "We're waiting for Number 16 to come up now!"

ON-SCENE REPORTER: "Yes, Daniel Silva, age 27, is stepping out of the capsule now!" (sounds of applause, cheers in background)

Fortunately, the miners have apparently spoken to some kind of consultant who has advised them on what to say when the Worldwide Microphone is thrust into their collective faces. They may have landed a book deal, too.

Tragedy as a Made-For-TV Event.

Maybe I am an insensitive jerk. But apparently breathing a sigh of relief that 33 people were rescued from a tragedy isn't enough. No, you have to participate, have to watch the whole thing, talk about it* and treat the rescue as if it were an event of the magnitude of the first Moon landing (I didn't make that up; some TV nitwit said it), make 33 ordinary human beings, humans with strengths and weaknesses, into saints.

The best part of the whole thing? In a few hours, the rescue will be over, and 33 humans will be with their families and friends.

The worst part of the whole thing? In a few hours, the rescue will be over, and the media leeches will have to find yet another tragedy to feed from.

As my journalism prof used to say: "If it bleeds, it leads."

The Cartoon Network is looking better and better, Jim.

* I'm talking about it. Or at least writing about it. Guilty as charged.


deb said...

While I agree with you about the media vultures, at least the news is good news for a change.

I haven't intended to watch the coverage but saw #1 before falling asleep last night, #10 while waiting at the auto repair shop this morning, and #17 while eating lunch.

MrScribbler said...

No question that it's good news, Deb.

I guess what bugs me is the breathless "the worst could happen" speculation mixed with the kind of hype that turns news into some kind of "reality TV" circus.

If some enterprising network would just point a camera at the rescue and keep its "news" people silent, I'd watch that. Not constantly, though.

Dorrie said...

at least our TV stations are NOT reporting about it non-stop... only during the regularly scheduled news it's mentioned. I think it's great that they have managed to find a way to rescue the poor dudes, but there IS a bit too much hype. 'And they are getting cell phones from Microsoft, specially blessed rosaries from the Pope, plus a ton of back pay and benefits. They've got it made already!

But I also remember, while visiting Stateside, the non-stop reporting about Katrina as if there was no other news in the world! geeeez

P.S. I AM happy for them and their families. But I won't breath easy until the last is upstairs.....

Anonymous said...

Dare to be great, again!

deb said...

Y'know another thing that is now bugging me about the whole 'story'? The miners are being called heroes.

How did they get to be heroes? Surviving? Not being nasty or mean to each other for a long couple months? Remaining sane? Having the guts to go up the long shoot?

I say the guy who made the test run down that thing is more the hero in all this.

The term hero gets applied to everyone 'special' these days. Shouldn't.

MrScribbler said...

Yup, Deb, the people who got the miners out are heroes...I'll even call the President of Chile a sub-hero for being supportive and hanging around while the rescue was completed.

The miners get props for staying alive, but surviving is not exactly heroism.