When Death Isn’t News Anymore
We accept a shocking amount of deaths from driving, but pay attention to a single death when it’s self-driving. We accept an obscene amount of hatred from regular media, but worry when it’s social media.
What is acceptable is just the level of carnage we’ve become used to. And we can get used to a lot. So it is with COVID-19.
In May 2020 the New York Times called 100,000 deaths ‘incalculable’. By February 2022 they calculated the numbers and just didn’t give a fuck. They said, “900,000 Dead, but Many Americans Move On.”
The journalistic equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Two years ago, they devoted the entire front page to list the names of the dead. Now that it would take up ad space, they just buried 800,000 bodies below the fold. The lead story is a ‘buoyant economy.’ All the dead, all the disabled, all the families, they can fuck off and die.
The previously incalculable has become boring math. The unacceptable has become ordinary. But it’s not like children and families suddenly stop grieving at some statistical level. Those people still suffer and grieve, people are still choking to death and dying alone. It’s just that other people have stopped caring, especially the gatekeepers in the media.
Society is used to a certain amount of carnage and while new carnage is bad, old carnage is just society.