Sunday, April 8, 2007

Turn Off Your Cameras, Please

I hesitate to post this clip, because I feel like I might be contributing to the very issue I'm against, but here it is. I ran across this story- it's been posted to a lot of blogs as an example of, I don't know, an emotional homecoming story? Instead, it makes me angry. There is a time to celebrate publicly, and there is time to be private. I'll comment after you watch the clip, but really- people- turn off your cameras please and let this moment happen in private, where it belongs.

Why was this reunion televised? (We all know the answer, can you count how many American flag images appeared in the clip?), but can you imagine being that little boy, having your father suddenly walk into the room after being separated for seven months- and not being able to cry in your dad's arms safe at home, away from your school classmates, much less the television crew and millions of TV viewers? Where is the space for reunion in this? Is it when the dad is holding his weeping son while giving commentary to the camera? Is it when the mom is falling apart in tears, making sure she mentions how proud she is of her husband? Is it when the boy runs, weeping to have his father hold him?

Turn off your cameras, please. Something Holy is trying to happen here, and your boom mic is in the way.


Keepitmoving said...

Can we talk about how the newswoman makes it 12 times worse when she says "makeup!" as if to remind us all we should be crying instead of feeling totally weirded out. I saw this on the news and felt like I had totally violated the poor boy... I hadn't actively taken part in anything, I just left my tv on a little too long.
Extreme Home Makeover by Proxy...

Cabe said...

A beautifully touching and moving reunion story that should not have been exploited for the sake of stupid ratings.

Anonymous said...

I saw this clip on the Today Show along with an interview of the family. The dad wanted to surprise his son. The media was tipped off. I don't believe the family had a hidden agenda; all they wanted to do was see each other once again. That boy is going to remember that moment for the rest of his life and the fact that it is captured on camera doesn't take anything away from the joy he felt.

Perhaps as a Christian you should stop being less judgmental and more accepting. Or hey, maybe you could even post something about Jesus' resurrection, after all Sunday was Easter.

Just a thought!

Garth said...

In response to the anonymous poster:

Not being a Christian, I can't really argue about whether a Christian is allowed to speak out against practices she finds distasteful, or even to talk about anything at all other than the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Leaving those points aside, anonymous' over-simplified explanation of the events surrounding this piece misses the point. Maybe the media were innocently "tipped off" by a family member or friend, or maybe they put the family up to this Jerry Springer-worthy display. It doesn't matter whether or not the family had a "hidden agenda" because the media involved had a very clear, not-so-hidden agenda, which was, as Cabe put it: "stupid ratings". The family have doubtless had their own ideas of a genuine emotional moment sadly distorted by constantly witnessing this kind of Schmaltzkrieg Journalism. They may not even have recognized that they were allowing themselves to be exploited.

As incidental evidence of the pathological media-saturation of our culture, see the crowd of non-journalists visible in the shot, snapping close-up flash photos of the father-and-son reunion.

I don't think any of us are judging this family as much as we pity them, that that their precious, sacred moment has been appropriated by the Today Show and others. It's a steep price to pay for 15 minutes of fame.

Anonymous said...

fair enough.

Kj said...

your "fair enough" makes me lean more towards the "yes' part of my question as to whether or not the comment was a joke, but whether or not it is, I'll stick with my posted reply of this morning, because somewhere, someone feels exactly the opinions you expressed, and I feel its important to see how we all respond. I love the words on this page, and hearing how we all want to fight for authenticity when it is trampled for exploitative purposes.Thank you guys for your responses.

So, anonymous, real or not, thanks for starting an important debate that has helped me hear more from from the hearts of the people whose voices I value so deeply. And that includes you.

Kelli said...

I am glad that this post has opened up such passionate conversation. However, while I see your point as valid and those that MHGS drives into its students, my opinions tend to lean more towards those of Anonymous about the video (not the second part of the comment, but your post did have a touch of judgement on the part of your critique of the american flags) I too watched this reunion on TV and was deeply moved by it and appreciated that they chose to share it with the public. It gives a glimpse into the military life and how much is sacraficed for our country by these brave soliders. We should be praising him for his service while we live such sheltered lives here in the U.S.

Amy said...

Right on Kelli and anonymous....Give it a break...Everything in today's world has an agenda behind it...get over it...Life is too important to be nag nag nag...all the time

Kj said...

Kelli: why the word "drives" about viewpoints you feel Mars Hill addresses to students- and what ideas are you referring to in regards to my post?
I'm curious to know what you feel "is driven" into us, since the force of that word conveys you might feel something is being stressed in an inauthentic or dogmatic way. What have you experienced of Mars Hill or Mars Hill students, that feels like ideas being driven into someone? Sounds like there's been some clashes for you, and I'm interested what that might be.

Amy: Yeah, I agree. It's agendas ago-go everywhere we look. That sucks. And it is reality. But is it really nagging to hope for something better, especially when "Life is too important"? What do you really mean by saying "Give it a break"? Some of the points Kelli and Anonymous made seem to say look at what's beyond the possible "agenda"- or that the media coverage doesn't have to be seen as exploitation. Is this what you mean by giving it a break? Stop debating about who meant what, and just watch the story? Your comment just seems kind of contradictory, so I want to hear you right.