The Aurora Tragedy: Have We Found Every Way to Exploit It?
All of America is still reeling from the shocking murders committed at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater on July 20, and we here at the Entertainment Media are no exception. The tragedy raises many difficult questions, some of which may never be answered. But the one we wrestle with the most is this: Are we doing everything we can to use this awful incident as a means of drawing attention to ourselves?
Are we wringing our hands enough? Are we making sufficient use of such words as "horrific," "massacre," and "rampage"? Are we adequately conveying to our readers the false notion that we have anything useful to say about it?
In short, are we marshaling all of our resources to ensure that this malicious act of evil becomes a lightning rod for debate, division, and page views?
For the most part, we can stand proudly behind our coverage thus far. We believe that our round-the-clock efforts to spout inane theories, substance-free analysis, and tenuous connections have borne fruit.
We've asked whether violent entertainment led to a crazy person opening fire at an entertainment venue, the same way we would wonder if a massacre at a supermarket was caused by violent groceries.
We've asked if the shooter was inspired by the violence in The Dark Knight Rises itself, a movie the shooter had not seen.
We've noted how sad it is that The Dark Knight Rises will forever be associated with this tragedy, while ensuring it will be by persistently calling it "The Dark Knight Rises shooting."
We've questioned whether the tragedy would have an impact on the Oscar chances of The Dark Knight Rises -- a film that previously had not been seriously mentioned in Oscar conversations anyway -- while simultaneously lamenting the necessity of even discussing such distasteful subjects.
We've suggested that what happened at a screening of this Batman movie might affect the next Superman movie.
We seriously suggested that! With a straight face!
We hired a guy to draw Batman crying tears of blood, for @*@'s sake!
But still we lie awake nights asking ourselves: Have we done enough?
Could there be a connection between Heath Ledger's death and this sad event, some kind of "Batman curse"? No, there couldn't be, obviously -- but have we at least posed the question in an attention-grabbing headline? No. No, we have not. We have failed you there.
What of the potential that movie theaters will soon be heavily guarded fortresses with metal detectors and security screenings? No sane person believes that this will take place -- but have we outrageously insinuated that it might? Yes. Not enough, though. We could do better.
Why haven't we reached out to representatives of the hair-dye industry to see if they feel any remorse knowing that the killer had colored his hair red?
Why haven't we speculated on the possible connection between the murders and the high price of movie candy?
Why haven't we asked DC Comics whether they'll be incorporating these events into the Batman comic books, and then chided them for insensitivity regardless of which answer they gave?
Yes, there is still much work to be done as we hold this senseless tragedy upside-down and try to shake every last headline and page view from it. Those of us who are part of the Entertainment Media will not rest until we have done so. After all, if we won't put on somber, introspective faces and pretend to be dispassionate seekers of truth while saying the dumbest things imaginable, who will?
Eric D. Snider has been a movie critic since 1999 and has work featured at Film.com, Movies.com, and maintains his own website which features his famous Snide Remarks. With Jeff Bayer, he hosts the Movie BS Podcast.
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