We humans love a good real life tragedy.
Some of the more macabre among us flock to the big top secretly wishing to witness a spectacular death. Perhaps it’s the trapeze artist plummeting a hundred feet, waving frantically, feeling for non-existent ropes and screaming pitifully as he/she crumples head first into the circus floor. Or the privilege of being there to see first hand the lion tamer lose control and get mauled by his taunted beasts. With any luck they might be rewarded with a thrilling bonus such as the satisfied beasts dragging body parts in all directions.
People in droves gleefully mill around a car crash scene, jealously guarding their front row spot so not to miss the final gasps of a soon to be expired victim.
Yes, we love a good tragedy. Sometimes they give us a laugh; especially the jokes we make of them. You might know some, such as the last space shuttle explosion. Horrible at the time but by the next day our email inbox was flooded with space shuttle jokes.
How many times have you watched the film of the 9/11 attacks? How many times could you still watch it?
Yes, we all love a good tragedy.
That’s why the media serves them up in spades. They know what we want and they continue to feed our morbid appetite. Each day there is something delicious for us to bite into.
Head to news.com for example and, excluding the celebrity gossip – of which there is a feast – sprinkled throughout the front page will be stories such as Gunman kills two in Wyoming or Chinese man decapitates neighbour’s wife. You won’t see a feel good story like Young stroke victim marries childhood sweetheart or . . . Trapeze artist falls 100 feet, lands on head, survives.
We don’t want good news. We demand bad news! Give us a tragedy.
Some bloggers aren’t that much different to the mainstream media as they have fallen into the comfortable habit of giving the readers something they want to hear, rather than being a fresh voice of reason with something important to say. I’m guilty of that. Metaphorically, I delight in taking away the lion tamer’s stool and whip and serving up a subsequent post about the feeding habits of mistreated jungle cats.
The singular big difference between the media and the blogs is the choice of the hapless lion tamer. The media is generally unanimous in their choice of Julia Gillard. We bloggers more often than not choose Tony Abbott. The claws are out for these two.
Then last week I put away the whip and wrote Not your average Aussie. It was not a blog about throwing someone to the lions or about an impending wreck. Rather the contrary, it was a feel good article about Julia Gillard.
To say the least, it went viral, with over 600 Facebook ‘shares’ and thousands of views here. Never, in the two years of Café Whispers has a post had such reach. Hundreds of other posts have attracted more (passionate, at times) comments but I doubt as many different commenters, or especially new commenters to the blogosphere (to go with the hundreds of comments across the social media spectrum). It showed me that there are people out there in readership land who are starved of good news stories and upon finding one . . . they spread the word. Let me say, as a blogger, it was a learning experience.
Could I write a post about Tony Abbott being mauled by lions and expect the same appeal (as appealing as it sounds)?
With all the bad news and real life tragedies fed to us on a daily basis we’ve quickly forgotten human civility.
There will always be a tragedy to report on and human civility will give way to human instincts. But for those of us who wish to focus on the good news; I have some for you . . . the lady in the picture below is still better than the average Aussie.