on media, technology & digital culture
After an accident, people usually gather around the scene and just stare at whats going on, whisper among themselves, ask questions, stand on their toes in order to catch a glimpse of the injured parties or, hopefully, an artery spraying blood all over the place. The gorier, the better. Shock, awe and death are simply – sensational. After all, the Crime Pages of your daily newspapers are the most read section of that publication.
People are obssesed with death. How can they not be when its one of those eternal questions nobody can really answer. Religion tries to soothe the mental pain of this inevitability but it seems that has a contradictory effect as we are witnessing the rise of the atheist, and the downfall of religiosity. As more and more people start to look for answers where none can be found, the media is promoting death like its the next Hollywood blockbuster. In that sense, the Hunger Games dont seem like a dystopian event anymore. Death is entertaining and so is the voyage towards it.
Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly popular to virtually kill a celebrity by posting an „accident report“ online. Hugh Heffner died of a heart attack in 2011, Russel Crowe fell of a mountain in Austria, etc. Like these celebrities, death has become sensational but why do we care when a celebrity dies? Well, according to David Berkowitz, its because of michaelclarkeduncanization of the media. I completely agree with the fact that social media thrives on death but the moral of this story is the fact that people are using death as a tool to show how cool and trendy they really are. Even with death, media treats it a popularity contest. Personally, when somebody dies, I would rather be reminded of their contribution to this world than have RIP trending on Twitter.
„My father died today“, said the facebook status of my former classmate. Why is it necessary to publish that on Facebook? Is it a mourning invitation? Should we all bask in the death of his father? Should we LIKE his status? Isnt this one of those private matters that should be kept among close friends and family? I understand that at a time like that, everyone deals with death in their own way,people cant really think straight and in their sorrow they tend to say things that have no actual meaning but, come on – Facebook?!
As you probably heard, Philip Seymour Hoffman died recently. Philip’s partner was Mimi O’Donell and she obviously had to go through the painful experience of organizing a funeral for her loved one. I wouldnt be writing about this if some nutjob hadnt actually stalked her and recorded her on video as she was running up & down Manhattan, trying to organize the funeral. Whats next? Are funerals the next Oscars? Will somebody dare to roll out the red carpet first and then comment on what everybody is wearing? No worries, Huffington Post & Page Six report that Valentino is way ahead of us all.
We all know Schumacher is in an induced coma at the moment this article is being written and that his condition is so closely watched by the media its actually a mistery why somebody hasnt sneaked in his room and put together a live stream. Or at the very least, hadnt connected his life support machines with Twitter so it could give out medical reports every hour or so, depending on the audience’s demands. What once seemed like a very dark future predicted in various sci-fi movies is now becoming a reality.
On the other hand, its easy to see that people who spend their days glued to hospital beds and tweet about their illness are somehow relieved that they have somebody to talk to. In that sense, yes, death is no longer a taboo but its questionable whether the mob is out there to help or to simply enjoy the fact that death is happening to someone else and they can experience a part of it without actually sharing the consequences.
In yet another example that combines stupidity, mental issues and the absolute downfall of the human race, a 4chan user decided to down some pills with vodka and set his dorm room on fire while streaming all of it on 4chan. The comment section perfectly describes how demented and obssesed people have become with death and how they respond to it. Death may no longer be a taboo, but we’re not closer to understanding it either. All we have learned so far is to laugh at its face.
So, what does death bring to the table? How does it influence our lives and inhabits our culture through media such as film, video games, journalism, etc.? If you had to live forever, would you do it as a:
c) Artificial Intelligence