Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gomeshi-gate will be gone next week...and why that is dangerous

I woke up this morning and rolled my eyes at yet another 8000 Facebook feeds about Jian Gomeshi.  I mean, go away already, will ya?

And then I realized how terrible a thing that was.

It got me thinking about the power of mass/social media, and how despite the enormous good it can and does often do in terms, it also has a corollary effect that may actually be dangerous.

It turns news into pop music.

We are all aware of the phenomenon: a song comes out, we hear it on the radio, in the shopping center, in the elevator, and although we might find it kind of catchy at first, within a few days, we become so saturated by it that we would rather gouge our ears than hear it again and we curse the day that "artist" was ever born.

Except when considered as a larger cultural phenomenon, pop music is by definition disposable and inconsequential.  Some news pieces fall into the same category.  We live in an age where any moron can have a YouTube channel, pen op-ed pieces or author a blog (case in point).

The vast majority of these pieces of news/information/opinion are not worth absorbing or dwelling upon.  But some are.

Several weeks ago, Jennifer Lawrence's privacy was violated as someone hacked her computer and stole intimate photos of her.  What followed was a week or so of coverage, and then we grew tired of it.  No one mentions that injustice any more.  Or at least if they are, no one seems to be listening.

Now it's Jian Gomeshi.  I am already sick of it, and I note on Facebook that many people are feeling the same way.  The sad fact is that it will all be gone next week, and his name and the names of his victims will not be mentioned again until whatever court cases come out of it take place.

We must not let that happen.

Thanks to the speed and force of information to which we are all subjected, the injustices that are done in the world fade that much quicker into the background, because compared to our ancestors, we have so much more background to filter through.  We absorb more information over breakfast than our grandparents did in a week.

Jian Gomeshi himself can go away, but the issues this situation brings up cannot.  Issues of equality, issues of sexual consent, issues of male and celebrity abuse of power, issues of respect, issues of violation, boundaries, safety.

We can't let this conversation go away.  It is too important.  The fact that this still needs to be a conversation in this day and age is already an affront to our dignity as a race.  But it is obviously a conversation which still needs to be had.

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