Joy (cithra) wrote,

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drinking from the firehose

Neil Gaiman links to an interesting article by Sue Arnold in his blog that touches on thoughts I've been having regarding the 'embedded' reporting of the current conflict.

The all-coverage, all-the-time approach certainly produces a lot of sound and fury, and I have to wonder if that isn't in some sense the point. Along the lines of 'if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull' and the proven circumstance that sometimes too much information is not enough (ala the FBI missing hints about 9/11), the scenario that occurs to me involves Them [insert a more or less sinister identity here, depending on your level of paranoia] providing 24/7 access to front-line reporting in hopes that the majority of data consumers won't then be able to see the forest for the trees. An added bonus (stirring in hints of the Purloined Letter) being that the flood of coverage will probably also rapidly sate the 'average viewer' after a week or three, at which point their attention will turn back to American Idol or the latest version of Who Wants to Embarrass Themselves on National TV, leaving those in charge to conduct themselves in the Middle East as they will.

Troop morale issues aside, the closer the war becomes to being presented as entertainment - one more slot of "reality programming" - the less truly real it comes to seem, and the easier it is to simply put the whole situation aside, mentally speaking. Historically, it is not unusual for death to be offered as something to watch for amusement; nevertheless, Gaiman and Arnold seem to find the idea disturbing and unworthy of emulation, as do I.

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