Sunday, July 22, 2012

a painful 3 billion $ answer, or: Utoya, Aurora, Batman

it's weird days. for the comic site i freelance for, i put a feature for the batman film together earlier this week, and we had also had a special giveaway upcoming in a sunday newspaper with priginal sketches of Catwoman and Batman. and it was just when i wanted to announce that again on friday that the horrible news of the Batman film amok run came through as breaking news. it shocked me, and made me think of how i went to see that superhero film in April, Avengers. to imagine to go to the cinema and then fiction turns reality. scary.

i just couldn’t post any comic promo twitter / facebook message then, it would have felt wrong. instead, i put up a note with a wish that Batman was real and would have been there to protect people. and all the others, too - there are hundreds and thousands people dying violently or in tragedies every day, and most of them just go unnoticed to the larger world. in the evening, it was the main news in all TV-stations and online news channels.

and yesterday, it went on, with more details: what the attacker said / wrote / had done, down to messages in the web. and it left me wondering if this isn't exatly what he wanted. that the world spins around him for days and weeks, that his life is in focus, all his sick actions and thoughts of sudden major importance. a celebrity of the dark kind, leaving everyone questioning his motives, and the media acting as it was a passive bystander, not a possible key to such dramas, for the uncomfortable truth is: tv stations and magazines and newspapers - despite all the worry and disgust they express - of course are profiting from dramas like this.

in a painful way, it's the logic of our modern times and the information system, that bad news are good news for news companies. and so even here in Germany, it was not only the main news, but the 24-hour breaking news, and in all online news sites and with ongoing tv coverage.

which is media overhype, when you think of the geographical distance, and think of all the other vast dramas happening. then, in today's Sunday newspaper, in an irony of time, there is a double page about the amok run in Utoya, Sweden from a year ago. again, with the image of the killer, who by now everyone knows by name, and whose pamphlet of a better world, just as his motives and actions and whole life has been discussed in thousands of articles, in a worldwide ongoing media coverage that always seems to focus more on the killer than on the victims, and that - if you tried for it in advertising or PR, would be worth billions and billions.

which probably is the answer to the question that is brought up from reporters from the moment the first breaking news spreads: "What's the motive?" - it's a sick chance to turn into a worldwide dark breaking news, and if you survive, you even get an additional stage in the jury and thousands of news articles, and can attach your name to a film, a place, an island, and be part of life of all the families who suffered there, and all the news articles about it, forevermore.

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