July 21, 1999

RIP John-John

Well I don't see any way around it.. I can't NOT mention the events of the past weekend, the latest Kennedy tragedy.

First of all, re the media overkill: I know it's done because of demand for information, people expect instant gratification, they need to have all the questions answered NOW. It's amazing, though, how CNN (I'm singling them out because they're the only American news network that we have on our cable system) can talk endlessly, rehashing the information they have, when new information is painfully slow in arriving. Is there NO other news happpening in the world? MUST Larry King discuss this for the entire hour, day after day, are we not ever to have a break? The network hangs on to a news story like a pit bull hangs on to his dinner.

(Digression: I objected less to the extensive coverage of the Littleton shootings. In that case, there were lessons to be learned and a moral to the story. I thought perhaps the messages about guns, and about the effects of parental neglect, might start to sink in to the general public after 100,000 retellings of the events. Optimistic? probably. But there is nothing to be done about preventing other tragedies like this one, nothing that the ordinary citizen can do, at least until they finish analyzing the wreckage. Unless anyone close to me is planning to fly a similar plane, the story has nothing to do with my daily life. I cannot do anything to help the bereaved families, so I'd appreciate being able to turn on the news without being continually bombarded with the intimate details of the crash. Enough already!)

Despite the tone of that little rant, I'm saddened by this. It's a terrible waste of three bright young lives. But even more, it's the symbolism of John Kennedy's little son, John-John, being gone. Being Canadian doesn't lessen the impact.. our news services have followed this almost as obnoxiously as CNN.. as Canadians don't consider boundaries when it comes to celebrities, especially those with as heavy a mythology as John Kennedy Jr. I suppose it can be compared to the world's reaction to the death of Princess Diana.

And oh yes, Dodi Fayed died too, as did the Bessette sisters. Had they not died in the company of world famous celebrities, though, the coverage wouldn't be a fraction of what it is. I guess we can file that in the very big category of "What's Wrong With the World".

This will probably be another snapshot moment, when everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. For President Kennedy's assassination I was in class, grade 7. For Bobby Kennedy's, I was in bed at night and heard about it on the radio. For John Lennon's, it was the first thing I heard when the clock radio woke me in the morning. These days, however, everything happens while I'm on the computer.. one generic snapshot of where I am, for all events. Maybe the world would be a safer place if I weren't online??

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