[No photos or videos of yesterday's bridge disaster will be included in today's post]
According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, the word "pornography" has several definitions. One of the less-often referred to ones:
"the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction"Around 6 p.m., local time, yesterday, the highway bridge that ran over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed. Nobody could have predicted this, but what was far more predictable was the media feeding frenzy that this event has spawned:
The human psyche is excited by these images of destruction. We saw this when the television shows repeatedly played footage of the two towers collapsing on September 11th. Again and again, they showed that footage and we looked on, as we would towards brutal train wreck or car accident. Did we realize we were watching people die? Did we even think about it? (The film "Why We Fight" has one father's heart-breaking testimony of how he insisted they stop showing footage of those towers collapsing - his son died in one of them).
The heartrate quickens, the eye twitches, and the arms get goosebumps. Millions are made at the box office every week by films that promise to vicariously give us the thrill of death, of destruction, of insane action. But I would argue, today, that for real life we should try and have a little respect.
People died horrible deaths yesterday. They were, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters. They didn't know they would die. The bridge collapse was swift and brutal. They had dreams, they had hopes, they had careers. They were just trying to get home during rush hour traffic when their lives were torn from them brutally. They were, in short, just like you and me.
So today, I guess what I'd ask my readers is: try not to look at the images. Look away. Sate your morbid curiosity and get your thrills from something other than the death of others. I'm not saying it's easy for me...as a photographer, I'm fascinated by such images of destruction and a part of me almost wishes that I was there to visually document the event. There is something enthralling about such a massive architectural undertaking failing so spectacularly, so suddenly, and with such disastrous results.
But just for today, I'm going to try not to look.