Monday, May 13, 2013

Collective psychosis in action......

It's been four days now. I guess I thought if I waited long enough, the words would magically disappear from the news article, or I would wake up from the bizarre dream that I was caught up in. 

Didn't happen, though. 

I even went and dug the newspaper out of the recycling bin so I could show someone else. Was it just me that was so startled by what happened in Arizona the day the Arias verdict was read? I hope not....that would make it even worse, I think.

The AP ( article that appeared in my local newspaper, the Florida Times-Union ( on May 9th, reported the scene from the courthouse steps as the verdict in this lurid murder trial was announced last week. 

Before we go there, though, a reminder: in order to protect my sanity, a few years ago I gave up watching the news in any form: local, national, world, it didn't matter, I decided they could carry on the craziness without me from that point on. And I must say that I've been happier because of that decision.

But I do read the newspaper every day. There is something about the process of holding newsprint in my hands and scanning the world view presented there that I can't seem to forgo. My dad instilled that habit in me. Maybe it's because my eyes can be averted quickly when I start to read something offensive or scary, whereas the news on TV is so overwhelming, so intrusive, that I can't avoid it as easily or quickly enough. Plus, so much of it is just plain ratings-grabbing, with no real connection to fulfilling an informational agenda at all ("A new strain of virus is attacking the city! Find out how to protect yourself before it's too late! Story at 11." If it's that deadly shouldn't we be talking about it right now?? Either it's important or it's just about ratings, right?)

My reflexes failed me on this occasion, though. I read the darn article. If anyone out there can explain this to me, please message me. If I had to go through it, so do you.

Here goes: "Outside, a huge crowd that had gathered on the courthouse steps screamed, whistled and cheered the news in a case that has attracted fans from across the country who traveled to Phoenix to be close to the proceedings. Some chanted, 'USA, USA, USA!'"

Fans?? Traveled to Phoenix to be close.....? And the most disturbing of all, chanted "USA, USA, USA!"?? 

I know nothing about this case; remember I don't watch the news. I have no idea, nor do I care, whether this young woman was guilty or not. Either way, this is a tragedy: for everyone involved, including (of course) the man who was killed, the woman found guilty, and their families. But to travel across the country to "be close" to all this misery, and then to chant USA! is beyond comprehension.  Such chanting speaks to nation pride, doesn't it? 

I'm speechless. Even after four days, carrying the article around with me, talking to others about it....I still have no grasp of this at all. I can't reconcile pride in one's country with this situation no matter how long I think about it. Believe me, I've tried.

I'll throw the article away now. It  has sullied my briefcase long enough. 

But I just had to share. It's what I do.

Insanity in individuals is something rare--but in groups, parties,
nations and epochs, it is the rule.
Frederick Nietzsche

No comments:

Post a Comment