Monday, June 8, 2009

Imprisonment and the Death Paparazzi

Okay, so current events post...nothing deep, just things that struck me as "That sucks!" and "That's just not right!"

That sucks:
The two U.S. reporters who were tried in North Korea were sentenced to 12 years each in labor camps. Not to get into politics or maniacal "leaders", but these two pawns got screwed. It'll be interesting to see what happens next, how long until these girls are back home.

That's just not right:
I've been here for over two years now, and I get a daily eyeful of dead bodies on the covers of every major newspaper in the country. Usually, if there is no blood, the pictures show the face and the position of the deceased on the ground, in a car slumped over the steering wheel, or feet and body sticking out of a shallow grave.

If there is blood, gaping wounds or innards hanging out (which are more sensational therefore gold for the papers here), they are pixeled over so it is slightly unrecognizable. Blood on the sidewalk, bed or car is usually pixeled over, but you can still tell it's blood. The faces of bloated bodies are pixeled over as well. Yesterday at the news stand, I caught a glimpse of David Carradine's mugshot from "Kung Fu". I picked up the paper and in an inset photo, probably 3x4 inches, there was a body hanging in a wardrobe, pixeled over, hanging by a cord from his neck and hands...genitals were turned away from the camera so the rope that was tied to there was not visible.

Usually I feel like "That's not right" and a little grossed out by the blatant "in-your-face" reporting of death here. Usually I have no connection to the deceased. Not like I have any real connection with David Carradine, but I watched him on Kung Fu as a kid and more recently on Kill Bill...and it just seemed ten times more "wrong" to be looking at his naked, dead body on the cover of the paper.

Totally opposite from the bodies of the passengers of the ill-fated Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic last week. As they are recovering bodies there, they are not releasing any photos much less descriptions of the condition of the deceased bodies, out of respect for the feelings of the families and friends of the victims.

That's just the way it is here though. Perhaps it has something to do with religion. The medical examiners and the police who find the bodies frequently pose with the corpses. The pictures are always in the news. This would get someone fired in the States, but here in S.E. Asia it is business as usual and apparently expected. (This is unless I just have been sheltered my whole life or have a selective memory, but I don't think I ever saw a corpse on the news back home). Suicide shooters and jumpers are always an editor's favorite. Jilted lovers and gang beatings and shootings a close second. Traffic deaths and random bodies found around and about are popular too. In the States people sit around listening to their police scanner, ambulance chasers really...I can imaging news crews and freelance photogs here listening to their scanners...I call them the death paparazzi.

I think I have to chalk this one up as "delayed culture shock".

On a happier note, Pae insured that I had a great birthday weekend! Thank you again Puppy Girl and Thanks to everybody back home for your birthday wishes! Even though you were basically reminding me that I'm OLD, it's nice to hear from you all! Aloha!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...