Distance and Sontag

In her book “Regarding the Pain of Others” Susan Sontag relates a story of a Serbian woman who, when the south of country was invaded and she saw it on the news, treated it very distantly and changed the channel.

In fact, although the conflict would find its way to her door soon enough, her only real warning was the television’s warm glow.

I would like to cite this instance as a means by which war can become a center for apathy over empathy. The very distance that media creates to violent acts disseminates the visual aspect of the acts from their consequences in any real, or immediate way. However, as Sontag points out, if we didn’t have media about war, we wouldn’t know about in the first place. So we are we are out to the awful detail of ignoring media or not fully grasping that which it signifies.

These thoughts stem from a piece read in the New York Times this week called “The Critical Gaze”.


~ by 1womanarmy on March 15, 2008.

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