The question posed by Twitter’s announcement is not whether you think it’s a good idea for people to see the Foley video. Instead, the relevant question is whether you want Twitter, Facebook and Google executives exercising vast power over what can be seen and read.
Don’t show the killer’s face, or incessantly repeat his name. Don’t repeat any of his manifestos or grievances. (They’re always tedious drivel anyway.) Don’t glamorise him. Don’t offer up a 24/7 drumbeat of excitement. Report the facts soberly, and, where there must be coverage, lead with the victims. Make them human.
The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along.
"The things that end up on your vision board that aren’t in hers are the things that she has to accept," 50 Cent says. "And the things that she has that you don’t are the things that you have to make a compromise with." In a healthy relationship, he explains, your differences are really what need talking about. This is how you go about making that conversation happen."
We (male) nerds grow up force-fed this script. Lusting after women “out of our league” was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn’t understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we “earned” a chance with these women by “being there” for them until they saw the error of their ways. (The thought of just looking for women who shared our interests was a foreign one, since it took a while for the media to decide female geeks existed. The Big Bang Theory didn’t add Amy and Bernadette to its main cast until Season 4, in 2010.)
Instead of watching “Mad Men” or the Super Bowl or the Oscars or a presidential debate, you can simply scroll through someone else’s live-tweeting of it, or read the recaps the next day.
There are so many things that I “know about” without ever actually having seen/watched/listened to/read.
I can go to any IKEA in the US any given weekend and find it so choked with people that it takes three hours to weave through the whole store, but I can’t give away a hollowed out vintage radio cabinet with inlaid wood, sturdy doors, and solid shelves. The market for a skinny $129 fiberboard shelf that will rock precariously while bearing any weight at all from the day it’s assembled and crack if it tips over is flourishing and the market for something heavy and thoughtfully made that’s survived a century does not exist.
If you were once young, nerdy and male, it is not unlikely that your future sense of self-worth was funded with a non-consensual IOU from the world’s women.
Do you believe that a person’s spirit “lives on” after he dies, enabling him to observe and even care about what happens in the physical world? Or do you believe that people simply cease to exist after death, enabling those of us who are still alive to utilize the dead as an abstraction in any way we see fit?
"I’m sorry, is that too heavy for a light Internet read? Let’s ask these questions in a different way: Did it bother you to see 2Pac turned into a hologram? Do you think it’s inappropriate for the Fast/Furious series to continue on without Paul Walker? Do you believe Kurt Cobain’s privacy was violated when the contents of his wallet were shared with the world on the 20th anniversary of his death last month?
"In the case of Michael Jackson and Xscape, would it have been better to let these songs sit in a vault so as not to appear disrespectful of a deceased genius who has essentially been disenfranchised from piloting his own art? Or is continuing to put Michael Jackson forward as a pop star the best tribute that can be paid to one of modern music’s most ruthlessly competitive artists? Or are both of these questions irrelevant, because Michael Jackson is no longer a flesh-and-blood human being and therefore is incapable of being disrespected, disenfranchised, or saluted?
"Is the living reanimating the dead for entertainment purposes gross, noble, or merely a personal prerogative with no moral dimension?
It’s nearly impossible to keep smarm values at bay, though. Even well-meaning people fall into them. Publish a long, serious article and wait for the discomfiting benedictions to roll in from Longform and Longreads: Here is a piece of writing that has attained a certain length—a form that you can read, secure in the knowledge that someone did a lot of typing, and that you are doing a lot of reading. Everyone recognizes that there is virtue, or an approximation of virtue, in doing a lot of reading. Share it, this quantity of reading.