Tuesday, March 06, 2007

suicides, the media and the bridge

this post is corollary / supplementary to the previous one about the effects of the media on (especially violent) behavior:

reha muhtar, once the chief editor of show tv, is one of the two(*) pillars of populism who contributed extensively to establishing hebetude and banality as national intellectual virtues and institutionalizing ignorance as a mass occupation by dethroning whatever there was of information in order to institute infotainment as the primary resource of cognitive apathy.

the muhtar style of televized news and funmongering was once harshly criticized by the intelligentzia among many other reasons also for promoting suicide attempts because, cameras would flock to the bridges spanning the bosforus whenever some nincompoop threatened to jump unless his beloved were to come and declare her undying affection to him or another hanging down the balustrades (gunwales?) would blackmail his father to buy him a new car. once or twice, some unfortunate blighter - as the brits would say - did slip his hold or actually took the death plunge. however, most of the times, it was a parade and a charade as well as vicarious relief from bogus excited tension for millions of viewers.

when criticism reached political levels, - i believe it was rtük the censorship board again - the authorities intervened and jump-from-the-bridge-suicide-infotainment dispatches virtually disappeared.

pheeewwww... suicides thus abated as people were not incited to take their own lives by the "visual stimuli" not supplied by the now-censored-tv-stations ... thanks... who?

to the media of course, oh dear reader, whose colossal lack of a sense of follow-up, the catechism of journalism, did not urge them to even check the stats... i recently found out due to a very sad and misfortunate incident, that a minimum of two and maximum of 10 persons per week continue to throw themselves off the bosphorus bridge according to the police.

only, we do not know that and what is not known cannot hurt the great public conscience.

do i hear someone say "the effect of the media"?
(*) the second institutionalizer is the late actor kemal sunal, whose characters always came up on top through some kind of peasantly cunning in his immensely popular movies despite their epic stupidity.

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