Friday, November 22, 2013

Media Overkill

Have you heard?

It’s been 50 years since Kennedy’s assassination. JFK.

Sorry I’m not trying to be sarcastic, and I think I touched upon this during the anniversary of King’s speech and the march on Washington. There is just so much media saturation of these commemorative moments that it suddenly turns into something else.

Probably how Lincoln’s birthday has degenerated into a time to sell cars or mattresses or bedroom furniture.

No one remembers what Thanksgiving is about, because it’s been transformed into the day before Black Friday—and today I read that even Black Friday is getting a make-over because now retailers want to promote the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving as the big retail day.


So back to the grassy knoll and media overkill. I tuned into PBS last week for a Frontline special on Oswald and the assassination. I really respect public television and Frontline documentaries—but was there overkill? Yeah. I probably saw in 50 minutes Kennedy’s head explode eleven times. Each time I flinched and put my hand up.

It reminded me of the frequency of TV rolling the images of the Boston Marathon bombing. Is it ingrained in your imagination now also? So that if even verbally prompted by the words Boston Marathon bombing our brains roll the footage—that one guy falling to the ground as a result of the contusive blast and the look on his face.

I believe that media overkill actually robs this time of remembering of its impact. Right now I bet you anything some twenty-something is thinking—Geez hurry up and get over it ’cause I got another show to watch.

Who knows? But I suspect the momentousness of what happened that day is surely lost on them—reduced to the same level as a mattress blow-out sale.

Maybe like how I felt that days so long ago—shocked that my morning of regular programming has been interrupted by footage of a black hearse and a very sad woman with a veil over her face with two young children. I remember most the two kids, wondering, as any child close to their age might, what was happening?

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