Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking soundbites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, ‘that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about ‘The Basketball Diaries’?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machinegun?”
The obscure 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.
The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. “Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. Kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”
In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, “The NBC Nightly News” and other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them.
The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
— Roger Ebert (via albinwonderland)
Dakarai Molokomme, a 15-year-old starving child from a small village in Zimbabwe, has just told Madonna, one of the most famous pop stars in the world, to go and f*** herself, the local media are reporting exclusively.
“Yes, it’s true, I told Madonna to go f*** herself. Do you want to know why?” Dakarai asked. “It’s the same thing every time with these snobby rich Americans. Every once in a while they come to show us their support for the so-called eradication of poverty by adopting a child from a starving family, but they actually do more harm than good. Transracial international adoptions are part of the white savior industrial complex,” Dakarai explained.
In further discussions with journalists from the media, the kid stated that “none of the children here actually want to be taken away from their family and friends so they can be displayed as some kind of trophy in the homes of self-righteous singers or actors who want to score some points with the media and Oprah.”
“If they really want to help us, they should get Big Pharma to ship us some anti-retroviral drugs for the AIDS epidemic, or build schools and hospitals. If they don’t want to do that, then they can all go f** themselves!” the child told reporters.
The 15-year-old also stated that he would say the same thing to any one of those American or European “faux humanitarian posers”, except for Bono, whom he said he would also kick in the groin.
“Bono’s efforts to save the African savage from itself prove that the colonial imperative is alive and well,” Dakarai said as he walked with other village children collecting sticks to build a tree fort.
My new hero.