Bingo! Young Women, Crying!
In my immediate response to the latest local crime being puffed up into world news and earthshattering tragedy by America’s cheap-thrills-and-cheaper-politics “news media,” I noted the standard and ubiquitous imagery of “people suffering,” perfect optics for the sado-masochistic waning moments of a civilization. I also predicted that the initial photograph that was being displayed everywhere, featuring a middle-aged man with head bowed, would soon have to be replaced — because sex sells, of course — with the first available images of young women crying in close-up.
And so, as if we had seen all this before or something, here comes the inevitable new and improved imagery from Texas, via Microsoft News. No, I’m not posting a screenshot of the new photo, because the whole point of this article is to lament the shameless and titillating exploitation of the grief of strangers. Suffice it to say, the photo shows two nice-looking young ladies at a memorial service, in medium close-up, apparently leaning on one another for comfort, their crying faces on full display for us.
So there you have it, at last. Why did it take them a full twenty-four hours to come with the new imagery? Someone is slacking off in the newsrooms of America. At any rate, better late than never. And this new iconography offers the added bonus of encapsulating the whole progressive media agenda, from the fraudulent pity party to the politically correct talking points, in one swell foop. For the two young women appear to be of different races! How wonderful, since the fact they are of different races but together, in the minds of the Democratic media, clearly indicates that they are progressives. (But don’t feel too proudly above all this shamelessness, Republicans. The so-called conservative media is swept up in this mock pity fever too; peeping Tom-ism cloaked in self-righteousness is a bipartisan enthusiasm these days.)
And right across that image of mixed-race damsels in distress on my Microsoft News screen rests the perfect-pitch headline for the song of cynical self-loathing: “Will Texas shooting impact gun control debate?”
And why should it “impact” that “debate”? And why, for that matter, should there even be such a debate in a country with a clear and explicit constitutional restriction on any such debate occurring at the federal legislative level?
Why indeed? Why feel constrained by a mere national constitution, a lowly founding document? I mean, young women are crying! They are sad and hurting. Young women. Tears. Let’s go America! Isn’t it about time you put aside all that fussing about the rule of law, natural rights, a bulwark against tyranny, and the rest of the mumbo jumbo? I mean geez, young women are crying!
Is my tone heartless? Don’t I feel an ounce of sympathy for those young women in the photo, the middle-aged man who preceded them, and anyone else affected (I mean really, sincerely, non-performatively affected) by this or any other shooting? Of course I do. And I choose to show that sympathy by refusing to turn those poor people into fodder for my sick jollies and cynical self-congratulations. That’s just me. When I catch myself — we all do sometimes, I suppose — enjoying a stranger’s hardship as my entertainment, I assiduously, as a matter of principle, reject my ugly temptation to pretend my amusement is compassion.