Also, all this week, new voices in the press: In this morning’s New York Times, Kramer and Higgins present a portrait of ourselves at a slightly different time, in a slightly different culture.
Their profile comes from Russkie-loving eastern Ukraine. Yesterday, locals staged a little parade with captured Ukrainian scum.
In eastern Ukraine, it's just like cable. An attractive blonde woman shall lead them!
KRAMER AND HIGGINS (8/25/14): Leading the procession was an attractive young blond woman carrying an assault rifle, followed by several dozen captured Ukrainian soldiers, filthy, bruised and unkempt, their heads shaved, wearing fetid camouflage uniforms and looking down at their feet.How wonderful that they met their deaths! And of course, you always want to scrub the streets after the scum have passed!
Onlookers shouted that the men should be shot, and pelted the prisoners with empty beer bottles, eggs and tomatoes as they stumbled down Artyomovsk Street, Donetsk’s main thoroughfare. A loudspeaker played Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March,” a familiar Russian patriotic piece. Behind the prisoners were two tanker trucks spraying soapy water, demonstratively cleaning the pavement where the Ukrainian soldiers had passed.
People in the crowd shouted “fascists!” and “perverts!” and separatist fighters held back a man who tried to punch a prisoner.
The Geneva Conventions’ rules for treating prisoners of war prohibit parading them in public, but the treatment of the wounded, disheveled prisoners seemed to offend few of those watching, who in any case had turned out for the promise of seeing a ghoulish spectacle. “Shoot them!” one woman yelled.
“They are attacking our city,” said Tonya Koralova, 46, a nurse who watched the men pass. “They are fascists. I am in favor of this parade.”
In Donetsk, the Independence Day parade became a macabre antithesis of a celebration of martial glory, as onlookers peered into the demolished, incinerated hulks of defeated Ukrainian tanks that the separatists had hauled onto Lenin Square, curious about their charred interiors where Ukrainian Army crews had met their deaths.
It can be lovely in Donetsk at this time of year. Not that far away, of course, another group from an earlier century has been posing with severed heads, before the severed heads get hoisted up on those antique stakes.
According to Kramer and Higgins, the macabre parade in Donetsk only attracted several hundred onlookers; that was the profile’s good news. Still, it serves as a reminder of where we humans come from—from the land where We have a very hard time seeing the merit in Them.
We humans aren’t built to see the merit, or the humanity, in The Others. Looking around our emerging news orgs, we think we see some people who are struggling with this age-old challenge. Even over here!
We’re living in a time of tribal polarization right here in this country. We aren’t parading folk through the streets, and we aren’t yet putting heads on stakes. Nor are we often displaying the values which made Mandela and Dr. King celebrated world figures, the moral giants of the modern age, the ones who will be remembered.
In part, we’re living in a time of polarization because various corporate groups are finding their profits there. For our money, Rush and Fox News went there first. In recent years, certain corporate pseudo-progressive orgs have been rushing to make their own money by teaching Us the rubes how we can better loathe Them.
As this process unfolds, some new groups are being welcomed into the media mix. In some cases, this is plainly a good idea. Which doesn’t mean that the new practitioners will always do good work.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll start with the young. It might seem like a good idea to let the young be heard.
Is it true? Should youth be served? Tomorrow, we’ll look at their work. For today, that piece in the Times is ringing a whole lot of bells.
Tomorrow: Who said it? “Never trust anyone under thirty.”