I wrote an earlier blog about the Iraq prison hullabaloo. And another recent blog about how people are eternally and unquantifiably valuable. This column ties together both those ideas in a way I hadn't considered before. It point out our outrage and disgusted-ness over the Iraq photos because of the way they demean and ridicule valuable humans, but then, in the next breath, praise of the media that spouts off dehumanizing, objectifying words. What a stark contrast. Why is it, I wonder, that devaluing one person is a crime but another is entertainment? I would argue that we are right to be appalled at the prison pictures- they are truly horrible and cruel. But what of the lyrics to popular songs or themes in popular TV series that do the same thing- objectify women and children and, in the process, take away some of their human-ness? Is it the same? Should we be as appalled? Is it ok to advocate dehumanizing themes if they aren't specifically applied to a person in 'real life'?
The media frustrates me. I should just leave it at that. Oftentimes, it takes things that are of great significance and value- religion, relationships, family life, intrinsic human value, to name a few- and steal their value by cheapening them to the level of dirty jokes and caricatured stereotypes. In the end, the eternal value of the gift can't be seen, only the cheap cover the media has painted over it and marred it with.
From the article:
When one person dehumanizes another person against his or her will in Iraq, we call it horrifying. When one person dehumanizes another person with his or her consent and cooperation before a camera from a cable network or a film production company, we call it entertainment.
Are you entertained?