IN MY OPINION
Read in 2008
29 March 2008
My heart goes out to the parents of the two girls involved in a fatal auto accident a couple of years ago, where one died and one was in critical condition for weeks...and it was only after the funeral, after weeks of sitting by the bedside of the surviving girl, that it was discovered the identities had been mixed and the girl who was supposed to have been buried was actually in the hospital, while the girl they thought was in the hospital had actually died in the accident.
Whose heart wouldn't hurt for these parents, these families...especially someone who has lost a child in a terrible accident.
The families have now written a book, which is what has gotten them back in the spotlight, but my God, I swear NBC has all but given then their own show to discuss the tragedy.
How much wallowing do we really want to do in the pain of someone else's life?
The Today Show did a lengthy segment yesterday morning, which made me squirm. Those segments always make me squirm. I don't know when "can you tell me how you felt the minute you realized that your daughter was dead?" or "can you describe how you felt when you saw your child's battered body lying in the hospital bed?" or "what did you feel when you realized your beautiful child was disfigured beyond all hope of restoration?" questions came to be the norm, but I just want someone, sometime to say "How do youTHINK I felt, you idiot! My beautiful child had been crushed/killed and his/her life is never going to be the same again. I wasn't preparing to go get my hair done for the funeral or anything, you know."
But no, they smile bravely and their eyes tear and they give the interviewer what he/she wants, that moment of live grief, with the camera going in for a close up. You can just hear the director in the booth. "I think she's got a tear coming, Charlie. Do a close zoom. Now focus. Yes...yes! It's a real tear!" Extra points if the tear actually spills over and runs down the cheek. Now we're talking Emmy nomination, folks!
I generally have great respect for Matt Lauer and others on The Today Show staff. I feel Ann Curry is a genuinely compassionate, caring person, but if I have to watch her lean over, lower her voice to almost a whisper, touch the hand of an interviewee and ask how she felt when her life changed forever again I will scream.
It wasn't bad enough that we had to go through the whole saga of Whitney Cerak (who lived) and Laura Van Ryn (who didn't) in agonizing detail in the first segment of The Today Show yesterday, they did a recap of the entire interview in the third segment of The Today Show yesterday and just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television set again, they interviewed the families again in the first segment of the show this morning and once again in the third segment of the show today, this time including Whitney in the interview. ("How did it feel to realize that your friend had been killed when you lived?" --actually I don't know if they asked that question, since I turned the sound off, but it wouldn't surprise me)
At the end of the final segment, they did a recap, showing photos from the first four segments featuring the Cerak and Van Ryn families.
And then, as if FOUR segments and a recap on these two families wasn't enough, there was a promo for an hour long Dateline interview with them which is going to be on this evening.
I will not be watching.
The sad thing is that the viewing audience gets what it deserves and according to Lauer, this story on the MSNBC web site has received millions of hits and is one of the most popular segments they've had recently.
Look at the links down the left side of the photos. It's just too much...too much!
Gee...maybe all those hits are from people like me, searching desperately to find ANY sort of feedback link so they can express their utter disgust with wringing every ounce of emotion out of these people that it is humanly possibly to elicit.
But then, being fair to The Today Show folks, if the families wanted to go back to living their lives in peaceful quiet, I guess they wouldn't have written a book and started on the publicity circuit.
But I am not one who gets off on someone else's pain. There is enough in my own life, thank you, and I don't need to borrow someone else's tragedy to get my emotional fix.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE:10 miles
This is entry #2924