On Monday, a bunch of us in Renaissance Lit took a trip to a prison to see the Shakespeare Behind Bars guys from this documentary rehearse, and talked to them afterwards. I didn’t find out about the shootings in Virginia until we got back at about 11:00 at night. I’m kind of assimilating the whole visit and probably won’t post about it more than this.
Apparently, though, I do feel comfortable talking about shitty news coverage of the shootings.
Professor Portentous let us get slightly off-topic in Confucian Classics today (yesterday), presumably because, you know, we’re mostly East Asian Studies majors in there, and we’d darn well better have an opinion. Inse said he turned Fox on to see just how horrible their coverage was, and apparently O’Reilly said something along the lines of, “Exactly how did a South Korean get hold of two guns?” O’Reilly is big on the gun control. He feels it is an important issue worthy of serious thought. He also knows the difference between South and North Korea, and the state of the US’s diplomatic relations thereto.
Prof. Portentous then got us back onto the subject of, you know, the Confucian Classics, and asked whether we could connect The Guy’s behavior to any specific failure to follow Confucian guidelines. Silence. I say, “No.” “No?” “No. We can’t know that. I mean, we don’t need to know that.”
I’d looked at some of the links posted on BoingBoing and suchlike, but – this is why I need to stop reading BoingBoing. It fetishizes tragedy the same way the mainstream media does – why did I say mainstream. This is BoingBoing. It is mainstream. There are always a few good links in there when they’re covering a developing story, but they’re mixed in with a lot of shit, some of it insanely journalistically irresponsible.
For instance, they linked to some poor guy with a slightly similar name’s Flickr page, and several students’ accounts of what had happened on their personal sites – and some of these kids were clearly pretty rattled and only really posting to let off stress and tell their friends they were okay. They don’t need this kind of exposure right now. And I like how, in the midst of her own reveling in tragedy, Jardin sanctimoniously links to this guy‘s discussion of the harmfulness of obsessive television coverage of school shootings. Nary a synapse fires in her head.
Okay. Anyway, I’d looked at some of the stuff posted on BoingBoing, but only some, and wasn’t totally sure what the guy’s nationality was. I did look at some of his creative writing. It looked like something the Something Awful guys would write.
In an attempt to change the subject (because I did not want to sit there listening to people vaguely talking about mass murder in terms of “ritual propriety”) I brought this up in class. I said that whatever his ethnic background, his writing style indicated that he was “pretty assimilated into American culture,” and that therefore the journalists who felt it necessary to constantly refer to him as “the South Korean shooter” were engaging in “rash speech” and “careless thought,” and thus were failing to uphold their responsibility to society.
It’s weird using Confucian vocabulary to say stuff, you sound very glib. (Unless you’re Professor Portentous, of course.)
Aside from asking me to explain Something Awful, and asking for the URL on learning that it “satirized American culture,” he then let me off the hook for a while, and other people cheerfully expressed their own dubiousness of Bill O’Reilly’s chances of achieving authoritative conduct at this late point in his life (see Analects 9.22), and the sadly low likelihood of Fox president Rupert Murdoch’s being recognized by all men as a sage king, and being followed as water follows the slant of the earth.
But I was serious.
(On the subject, I’m glad -ing Imus got fired. Mom, tell Dad I’m glad -ing Imus got fired. Dad did stop listening to him, like, a couple years ago, right? Tell him I have expectations of his taste.)