"...死亡好像很近，又好像很遠。我們做新聞的，每天從世界各地，用衛星接收一次又一次的災難片段，不用氣力，不用成本，扭開電視就可以「旁觀他人的痛苦」，是麻木了，沒有感覺了，那些一式一樣的稿，不用到新聞報導完再會，就會忘得一乾二淨，沒有人會關心，沒有人會傷心，沒有人會痛心，晚上我們繼續看連續劇來麻醉自己。" The above is taken from a news reporter's self-reflection after the Sichuan quake.
I find this book awesome. It is not just a general critique on the subject of how we regard the pain of others. Sontag makes me think and re-examine the the use of photography and the cultural bias from a moral standpoint, suggesting how the media has shaped our judgmental mind and understanding of warfare and atrocity.
Here in Hong Kong, even without reading newspaper, we are involuntarily exposed to update of Sichuan disaster or other infotainment - sometimes the visual images - either in the form of TV on KCR train compartments or YahooNews slideshows which are associated with brutal civilian attacks and genocide in the war-ridden Iraq, West Bank, Rwanda or Sudan. By degree, the media and photography has shaped our judgmental understanding of human atrocity.
So, with such repeated exposure to violent or grief-stricken images, would they inspire dissent, foster indifference or violence and instil apathy in us, as a batch of ordinary, passive viewers?
Sontag very much impresses me with her well-thought-out warning that we have been part of an irreversible trend, in which we are like a spectator starting to experience war, human fallacies or disasters vicariously as entertainment or information in the distance and perceive the world primarily through the narrow or even biased perspectives of reporters....Continua