Saturday, July 9, 2011

Another Moment that Flashes into Nowhere

I've had a pretty busy week at work down in the blue smoke and mirrors factory. Not too busy to have missed the "news" on the conclusion of the trial of Casey Anthony or the churn in the waters of public opinion and conventional wisdom in the aftermath of the verdict.

I've worked hard not so much to NOT have an opinion but rather not to voice it. I can recall what I think is a Saul Steinberg (here's his most famous cartoon) one-box cartoon from another lifetime with a man, beaten and bloody in a ditch at the side of a road, clutching a sign that reads 'Let he without sin cast the first stone' and all around him are piles of rocks. I never forget the last time we had a perfect person walk the earth we nailed Him to a tree, so as far as I'm concerned everyday is Arbor Day.

My brother, Adam (technically, Adam is also the brother of Evan, Kelly, Kara and Jill as well but they can go get their own blogs and call him anything they want) offered a marvelous perspective on the televised tumult yesterday. I'll wait right here while you read it again. When he's right, he's right.

At the risk of piling-on (may be as close to pro football as some of us get; at least until the NCAA season starts), I'll add a note I offered the other day to Bobby del Ray, a Villanova alum (and friend of SF Sorrow), with whom I almost did a radio program on cars (you had to there; and I wasn't).

There's a challenge we face as a nation of laws every time, for whatever reasons, in a highly publicized trial, there is an unpopular verdict: By the standards in the forum to which we have all agreed, the accused was found NOT guilty by a jury of her peers.

We can feel very strongly otherwise but must always (strive to) respect and uphold the judgment of the men and women who sat on the jury and reached the decision they did because of the process they employed in so doing. That doesn't mean we applaud or agree with the result, or need to.

I'm concerned that we're missing the bigger flick as we allow (and even at times accelerate) the continued coarsening of our civil discourse with one another. I would not want to guess how many children across our country die through neglect or abuse at the hands of their parents and family on an annual basis. One is too many and the number is, sadly, far in excess of one, I'm sure (Here's a story that offers an insight into the scale and scope of the plague; it is grim reading).

The Casey Anthony case was caught in the full glare of the white hot media spotlight (and look at the scale and scope of the platforms we have now to disseminate (mis and dis) information). With a verdict now reached, attention has already shifted as the celebrity and notoriety jackal patrol searches for its next diversion.

Caylee Anthony, the victim, even as we argue about the identity of the villain, had her life end before it ever truly began and, somehow lost in all of this, is that this life is over forever. Even as we strike the set and wait for the portable lights to cool down enough so that we can pack them away for the next time, for too many, the attraction and distraction of the trial only whets our appetite for the next installment of Bread and Circuses.

So bankrupt (emotionally and morally) have we become that if we were to put the date of Casey Anthony's acquittal on our July 6, 2012 calendar as 'CA Anniversary' (with NO other notes or explanation) how few of us would remember what that was supposed to mean when we got there?

Don't be crestfallen when, you, too, can't do it, because the next televised/socialized sensation will be here in a moment (besides, no one's paying attention anymore, anyway). There's always a next big thing when you have a 24/7 news cycle. Someone has to feed the beast...and it always turns out to be us.

"I’m cold blooded and completely relaxed. I’m breaking legs and avoiding the facts. On the up escalator going down all the cracks. So get them, get him, but don’t get me. I can’t hear your cries; so don’t get me to fill up your empty lives."
-bill kenny

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