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“Do we really need to see up-close photos of car crashes? I'm on about the Cross A38 story. Why is the media obsessed with graphic shock images? We don't need to see a devastating car wreckage, thank you very much”
Posted: February 16, 2012
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Just for reference, the article I was referring to is this one...
Barabara Castle, as Transport Minister once suggested placing wrecked cars near dangerous stretches of road as graphic reminders of our vulnerability to accidents, in fact, I seem to remember some of these wrecks appearing in the South East. Mind you, 'Babs' was also the originator of the idea that police officers at the scene of an accident should have flashing blue lights incorporated into their helmets. She was, however, the Transport Minister who introduced the breathalyser; some good emerged from her in***bency.
As a society we are becoming inured to the effects of such representations and newspapers include them to sell papers, not to pander to the philanthropy of a caring journalist concerned with making our roads safer.
In fact, you can switch on You Tube and watch rally cars bouncing and cartwheeling across the monitor screen, spreading mayhem in equal proportions to drivers and spectators;often to the accompaniment of some boom-boom moron music an idiot has thought appropriate to dub onto the video for the occasion.
There was a time when the apprentice from the stereo room would present himself before the chief sub who would give him the legends for the newsagents' placards. "M6 horror crash -pictures" "Accused in murder case in court - pictures" in preference to "Flower show results -pictures"; the apprentice would write with a piece of cloth or leather dipped in printers' ink - no magic markers in those days. Horror and sensation have sold papers from the days before W T Stead to tomorrow's red-top. The greater the horror the more copies sold, never mind man bites dog.
It is not only the subject of man's mobile inhumanity to man that feeds this phenomenon, Ford's revenge still rages in the war theatres of this world and tsunamis still happen. Correspondents are ever eager to furnish their public with the latest near to unsanitised illustrations of death and destruction.
We are a rubber-neck species and the contra directional accidents on motorways attest to this quirk in our collective nature, as drivers crane to see the death and the dents, grateful for the fact that "it" has happened to someone else. Notice the flurry of "a picture from a reader" - type inclusions in the following day's press. We all recognise the hunger for gore and sensation and increasing numbers are aware of the modern newspaper owners' desire to pay good money for examples of this; so that those who were not there can have a vicarious share in the moment, fulfilling an almost universal psychological need.
Why so graphic? you may ask. The answer to this lies in our ability to assimilate sensation and become bored with it. Compare the 4-o'clock World of Sport wrestling that dominated television every Saturday throughout the sixties and into the seventies with the outrageous synthetic violence of American wrestling today with its barbed wire clubs and metal chair weapons. Compare also the discreet fade out during the 'boy meets girl' films of the same era with the almost soft porn depictions we witness today and then ask, is it surprising that pictures of real injury and devastation have to meet a much more avaricious-for-sensation-seen-it-all-before audience? Sadly the situation comes alongside a much less conscience driven society where another person's suffering is no longer protected by privacy, it is public property.
I am afraid that the answer to the question "Do we need to see close up photo's of car crashes?"
The answer is dependent upon our definition of the word 'need', and is "Yes, very sadly, we do."
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