January 2010

Rage Against The Machine

I could serve up a cold dish on the details surrounding the Togo tragedy, but if you find yourself like me, you’re probably looking for more. Looking for answers as to why the mainstream media took so long to give this tragedy the star treatment. Or looking for reasons beyond money as to why efforts are being made to mute safety concerns surrounding the upcoming World Cup in South Africa.

Just because their lips say safety doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about dollar signs.

In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, major media outlets such as ESPN offered up news reports regarding the attack, but failed mightily in terms of how the coverage was presented to the reader. On ESPN.com, the story was relegated to the bottom headline on the list of 10 – which has been known to feature “headlines” ranging from betting tips to run-of-the-mill female tennis players getting injured. Sorry Pete Carroll, your new job is NOT more important than the loss of human life.

Sadly, this equivocates to nothing more than the innumerable black children that go missing each day who don’t even make it to the side of a milk carton, let alone every cable news channel ala insert-white-girl-here. The sickening truth? It’s “just” Africa is what they would never admit.

Have we not gotten past the point where we assign varying degrees of value to human lives? Did star Togo player Emmanuel Adebayor need to be shot for the tournament to be shut down or more coverage creep on the airwaves? Simply put, I’m utterly disgusted.

People died. That’s all you need to know.

Adhering to the status quo serves an antiquated ideology that has no place in 2010. To the media, I beseech you to make an about face on what you choose to show the masses and maybe you’ll shock the world. What happened in Africa was nothing short of devastating – should it matter the color of their skin or the name on their jerseys?

Now the attention turns to safety concerns regarding this summer in South Africa. Yes, safety as defined by ensuring that the millions of dollars in the form of ticket sales, hotel rooms and expensive dinners don’t suddenly dissipate overnight because of a “measly few bullets.” Have the spin doctors working behind the scenes suddenly colluded with the media to downplay this story solely to pacify the growing concerns of the educated consumer?

Dear God, there goes the neighborhood.

As of early afternoon on Saturday, Togo announced they will not be playing in the African Cup of Nations. Where’d ESPN slot the story? Good ol’ headline 10 out of 10.

What did you expect? Top billing? Center stage?

But perhaps it is just too easy for little old me to sit here in my mom’s basement (because that’s undoubtedly where I am, right?)and blog about ideals on my imaginary soap box. Hell, what do I have at stake? There’s no paycheck that I foresee to lose for having any semblance of feelings.

Fuck it, man. After 499 of them, I’m still at a loss for words.

Daniel Seco