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Blacksburg: Seeing Is Believing
Protecting Our Sensibilities?

by Steve Finefrock - Hollywood Forum [scriptwriter] 4/23/07

FROM THE PHONE BOOTH: The Smallest Space in  Hollywood

"If you knew what I know” said the cop, to this collegian four decades ago, then I would supposedly believe as he did.  If only I’d seen the pictures, visited the crime scenes he’d seen, I’d be persuaded to his point of view.  I queried: Then, let me see the photos and we’ll find out if I’m thus convinced.
Nope, can’t do that, it would be unseemly.  Ordinary folks just can’t take the horrors which police visit every day.  The theme and argument and viewpoint is lost to my memory for that day’s discussion, but the principle of “protect the innocent” always lingered.  Protect li’l ole me?

And everyone else!  While arguing, But For My Insight you would be lost.


Founder of Hollywood Forum, a speaker-bureau and panel-discussion vehicle to "Bring the Potomac to the Palisades" on issues that overlap politics and culture with the Hollywood film-TV influence on such national concerns. His scripts have addressed politics [including a TV series pilot/bible package about state political combat, called "A State of the Union"], hazardous materials [from twelve years in emergency management, including six years managing FEMA's Superfund curriculum for hazmat], terrorism, equestrian reincarnation, serial murderer killing journalists in the nation's capitol, and fantasy about time-wasters. Finefrock is proprietor of PhoneBooth: The Smallest Space in  Hollywood... [go to Finefrock index]

 Thence come Cho’s chosen path, and some cable chatter reveals that police are prohibited from letting juries view color photos of a crime scene – too inflammatory and emotion-laden – so the deciders-in-chief at a criminal trial get to see black-&-white shots instead.  And most of the NBC [now stands for Network by Cho] package is embargoed from public view, as the network cops also protect us.
Are we all children?  Apparently so, as beheadings by Islamists are kept from the airwaves, though they can be hunted and found on the internet, like a scavenger hunt from days gone by [that’s how “My Man Godfrey” gets its plot started].  There is no better comparison of how our society is superior to “theirs” than the networks’ relentless repetitive, indeed promiscuous, airing of the “tortured” prisoner at Abu Graib standing with his arms outstretched.  And the beheadings not shown to compare the two societies.
That one “nasty” demonstration of national character flaw can be promiscuously broadcast and printed endlessly, and the other which is far worse is just too inflammatory proves the case nicely.  Yet, why can’t we judge for ourselves.
Why b/w photos for juries? If the cops “know” the truth, why not those who decide the fate of the accused?  Brutality by cops are made known to juries, but blood-splattered scenes now common on “CSU” and the rest are kept from the delicate eyes of the juries, and of the public. Truly infantilizing our citizenry.
One website with relatively modest “startling” photos of Islamic punishments was tagged with “seeing is believing” by the anti-jihadist warrior princess who sends so much good stuff on the web, to a mailing list as long as Google’s must be.  In actual fact, the phots were rather tame, but more than we ever see in the media.
We can take it, officers of the law and judges of the court – and judges of the media.  If the horrors are horrific, and you believe we’d believe what you believe “if you only saw what I see” then you must LET US SEE IT.
If it inflames passions, then let the passions rise.  In porno cases, the defense strategy is to show the jury the offending material as often as possible, so they are de-sensitized to its sensational and shocking nature, thus rendering a more dispassionate verdict, typically one of Not Guilty.  If the Cho material is so startling, and the crime scenes in those bloody classrooms so convincing to those who saw it, why not let us DECIDE FOR OURSELVES.
Not the pornographic, endless, promiscuous broadcast at the top, middle and bottom of every hour of perpetual cable-TV insurgency into our living rooms.  That would be obscene – but let us know, find it, peruse it ourselves, at our own good time?
Why not? Why NOT!!
If I choose to aver my eyes from a nasty roadside collision and proceed on my way, that’s my choice; but if I stop and ponder, that too is my decision.  Allowing for the privacy of a particular victim’s body and face is reasonable, but not viewing the scene by pictures published of the location after bodies have been removed is just more Nanny State mentality.
Let the pictures and video be shown, in all its glory and gory qualities.  We’ve all finally seen the famed, and once-embargoed, Zapruder Film.  We can step-frame thru JFK’s frontal lobe exploding, his limpened body flopping into Jackie’s lap.  No psychosis infected the national consciousness once that finally made its way into public perusal.
What kind of wmips did that cop think the public had become in the late 60s?  How much wimpier are we now, forty years later, as we are “protected” as jurors in a jury box with b/w photos instead of the color originals?  Or in the public-opinion jury box of national citizenry?
If we are to battle evil, and support our police and soldiers in their mission, we must understand their mission, their motives, their emotions in that battle.  We cannot accompany them in a “ride-along” at the battle fields, but after-action photos are a suitable second-best view of what Really Happened.  What is the Real Evil.  
As we show Abu Graib photos which are remindful of the final-phase of my college initiation as a Deke [the president’s frat, and his father’s, and Teddy Roosevelt, et al], then surely the Real Horrors need to be aired to the public.
But then, the in loco parentis mentality of the media would be compromised, and more importantly, the political center of gravity would shift rightward.  That is the real reason for these decisions, by the media at least.  We are children.  We are protected.
Don’t you feel so much better now that the media is in charge of what we “know” in this debate about Evil Among Us?

copyright 2007 Steve Finefrock





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