On porn

Various other people have written about the stupidity of CNN continuing to broadcast urgent breaking news coverage of the London bombings long after anything new had stopped happening and long after all the British media (you know, the people who are actually from the affected country) had gone on with their lives. That ground has been well-covered by others. I have a related observation, though.

Those of you who kept watching CNN beyond the point required to actually inform yourself about events in the world weren't watching news. You were watching terrorism porn.

Now, don't get me wrong. There isn't anything wrong with that. I often enjoy porn. Personally, I go for natural disaster porn and spent a fair chunk of Sunday watching hurricane porn. The dialog is as bad as sex porn, and really the outcome is about as predictable, but somehow it's strangely fascinating. I usually do this thing where I root against the people and for the hurricane. I mean, it's a lot more interesting when the hurricane is winning. It's like rooting for whoever is currently behind in a sports game. You're actually rooting for a good show.

Cold-hearted? Well, I don't claim a strong affinity with the rest of the human race, but more to the point, I'm aware that the thoughts that go on inside my head while I'm watching a television program about a hurricane on the other side of the continent do not actually affect the real world. So, see, why make myself depressed over people I've never heard of who are going to have the same things happen to them no matter what I think? And, more to the point, I understand that what I'm watching is porn.

There's a real hurricane that's hurting real people, and if I knew any of them, I'd be anxious to hear how they are and would help them if I could. But that's not what the TV program is actually about. That's just what it's supposed to be about, just like what sex porn is supposed to be about is the idea that you, sitting on your couch, could actually be having sex with those people. It is, ahem, "the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction." You know, porn. It is quite possible to enjoy porn about some event while still not being happy about the event. Either that, or anyone who watches the History Channel ("all Nazis, all the time!") is a sick, sick puppy.

Just for the record, I also don't pray for people in disasters. If God can't figure out for himself what to do in a natural disaster, we are so much more screwed than I could possibly do anything about with a little divine pleading.

Do, by all means, watch your news porn, your terrorism porn, your disaster porn, your missing person porn (a huge hit in the US, particularly with white, blonde subjects), your political commentator porn (not my kink, but hey, it takes all kinds), and particularly your election porn. That's what television is there for, after all. To entertain. It's just worth remembering, from time to time, that you are watching porn, and not that other strange beast called "news." One doesn't get to see much "news" these days in the US except in bizarre, little-regarded corners of the television dial like PBS, but you'll recognize it. It's those weird TV programs full of these strangely thought-provoking objects called "facts" and interviews that involve oddly-phrased "intelligent questions." You'll recognize "news" when it presents you information and then stops, when you don't have to pick IQ points off the floor when you're done, and when you realize that they've told you what they know and there's no reason to keep watching.

It's weird. It's nice for a break, but porn is much more engrossing. Next week, the British Open! Golf porn!

(Thanks to Pat Cadigan's Synners for the idea.)

Posted: 2005-07-12 20:15 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04