Posts tagged death
“ But I guess where I was originally going is that nobody wants to write endings in television. They want to sustain the franchise. But if you don’t write an ending for a story, you know what you are? You’re a hack. You’re not a storyteller. It may not be that you have the skills of a hack. You might be a hell of a writer, but you’re taking a hack’s road. You’re on the road to hackdom and there’s no stopping you because stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.”
A few months back I was talking trends with a colleague and we started talking about death. The question we asked, and I’m not even sure it can be answered, is whether a society has ever been more detached from death and dying than contemporary America. Even are wars are mediated and detached, background noise for a slow news day. Celebrity deaths remain our one shared grief, and we both agreed that the fracturing of channels and the emergence of digital has created a world where more celebrities can exist at once so we can look forward to more Celebrity death summers in the coming years.
But Simon inadvertently raises an interesting point with the quote above: is our cultural distance from death the result of years of syndicated television programming? Characters don’t die because you need each episode to end exactly where it began, so it can start from ground zero next week. Perhaps the emergence of larger narratives in television (The Wire, The Sopranos, Lost, etc) combined with a steady diet or reality TV (where people die because they’re real) will start to shorten our cultural distance from death.