Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Forgotten Offensiveness

You know what increasingly angers me? People who post disturbing images on social media. I find it funny that we're so worried about “offending” people with our opinions, but that we have no concern whatever about offending their sensibilities.

I just saw a picture (calling for the old like=prayer thing) of a small, naked child lying in its own blood as a result of some problem he or she has – it looked like a hideous skin condition, his skin thick and red as a hard candy.  It actually made me a little nauseous, just at a glance, and I had to scroll away from it.

At other times, people have posted articles about medical marvels and issues, accompanied by pictures of innards and organs laid bare in a stainless steel tray.

What’s the problem? Does no one get disgusted by graphic gore anymore? Or is it that people need to be shocked in order to care? Maybe it is a combination of both, but whatever it is, it seems to me to amount to a decline in the ascent of man to a higher form. We should be able to care about the stench of human suffering without having to have our noses shoved in it. We should be interested in the wonders of modern science, conceptually, without having to be elbow deep in dissection gore. (Thank goodness some people are able to be elbow-deep in dissection gore, or we would have no advances – but that is not the average person.)

Every night, I offer a prayer for the suffering, especially children. Seeing a scene of the graphic suffering of a child is not going to change me, except to disturb me. It might motivate me to weep, but nothing changes: I still care about children and I still want to help, whether with prayer or charity.
You know what? It is okay for us to avoid discomfort in the face of suffering, so long as we are doing the right things to alleviate that suffering. I don’t need someone, either purposefully or in total disregard for my sensibilities, to determine what I should be tricked into seeing. 

And, so, the waters of the social media age flood in, through the cracks in the fortress of privacy.


  1. I don't think it is a matter of avoiding discomfort - I think publishing images of people in dreadful situations is often an invasion of privacy & also it blunts our instincts if we are constantly exposed to images about which we can do nothing. If we were there we would try to help; with images we become an audience. It is close to voyeurism

    1. It really is. It is another manifestation of "rubbernecking" -- that traffic-slowing urge to look over at an accident on the road while driving. Whatever it is, it says bad things about us humans.