Don’t Need to See

I love radio.

I’ve always loved radio.

Right now, I love radio more than usual.

Just because you can do something, like take photos of dead refugee children, or take live footage of people being shot in the street, doesn’t mean you should use that footage. The best news reporters don’t need to shock their audience. The best news feeds don’t need to make an over-the-top play for your attention. The best news doesn’t need to do that because it reports what’s important: the facts.

The facts are horrific, sometimes. The facts are terrible, and full of all the bad things we can imagine and many of the bad things we don’t want to imagine. Our minds are assholes and they can form the pictures all on their own.

This isn’t about trigger warnings (which I don’t think much of, sorry to say). It isn’t about being ‘overly sensitive’ (which is just code for “your discomfort at this thing I’ve just done makes me feel bad, and I don’t like feeling bad”). It’s about one simple thing:

I don’t want to see photographs of dead children, video of murders on live television, images of bodies stacked in mass graves. I don’t want to see that in my social media feed. I saw enough of that when I was at a concentration camp museum when I was a kid, or when I was at the National War Museum. I don’t need to see it again.

So I’m turning off a lot of feeds today. If you feel the need to publish images of dead and dying people, I just won’t be consuming your news. If you feel the need to share those images on social media, I’ll come back in a few weeks.

Those images do absolutely nothing to add to the importance of your story, the gravity of your story, or the facts of the story. You’re not Time Magazine, and I’m not some sheltered 1950s housewife who doesn’t know what’s really going on in the world.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

6 Comments

  1. I agree. I unfollowed a few people on Facebook and Twitter who thought it was fine to put those images front and centre yesterday rather than give me a link so I could choose my visual horrors for the day and not have all my feeds be potential trigger factories.

    An image like that causes one reaction first: the viewer has a negative reaction to the person who posted it. It often places a barrier of refusal between individuals before it creates compassion about the situation it is intended to highlight. That kind of doesn’t get the job done.

    1. I haven’t unfollowed anyone (yet), but I have clicked the “I don’t want to see this” button a whole bunch of times.

      Maybe people don’t know they can post a link on Effbook and then choose to remove the image that comes with that link. Whatever the reason, it’s awful. I have unfollowed and blocked most pet rescue sites and people who are super enthusiastic about animal care, because these folks tend to post photos of abused and dead animals, and I don’t need to see that either.

      For some reason, photos from hunters don’t bother me.

  2. I feel the same way; hearing about it is bad enough and makes enough of an impact. Seeing it; no thank you.
    Like you, I’ll be avoiding the images.
    Sometimes even radio is too much. Like all this football business; oh if only there was a magical filter so I wouldn’t have to hear one more word about it!

  3. Pablo Neruda wrote “The blood of the children flowed in the street like…the blood of the children!” The fact itself was horrible enough, it didn’t need, didn’t allow for some stand-in metaphor.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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