Sunday, March 29, 2009

The web--like so many things--is liminal

One drawback of the information age is the potential for endless post-mortem. Picking up on Laura’s post about the Virginia Tech tragedy, I noticed that Cho Seung-Hui's plays have found their way onto the internet.

I find the fact that the plays have been posted depressing and more than a little creepy, and while I understand why they would be published given the situation, I’m always a little sad when the quasi-confessional veil of the creative writing classroom is torn.

At some point, the data just needs to stop. Mental illness is not a rosetta stone where everything will eventually revealed, and anyone who viewed his flat-affect videos should know that coherence and intelligibility (let alone relevance) are not going to leap off the screen or the page. One can be shocked by the facts, but to return to them obsessively (especially--as is often the case with local and network newscasts--when it’s just raw information and is not shaped or contextualized in any meaningful fashion) begins to say more about the viewer than the subject.

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