The Desensitization of America

All at once America collectively has to learn Internet etiquette.  Countless studies and articles have revolved around teenagers and this new technology, because we are generally the more susceptible group.  Where, throughout history, there has always been something thrown at adolescents that we needed to learn how to adjust to, now, with the rapid birth of all this new technology, the entire society is struggling to learn how to properly interact.  I am no longer able to count the number of times I have been told to watch what I am putting up on the internet, but many, especially older generations, have not received that same education.

The acts that took place at Abu Ghraib are undeniably horrible; they not only showcase basic human psychology but how American media has largely desensitized the public to acts of sex and violence.  In addition to this, media has become the main way to show off.  Combining these two aspects is dangerous, and helps explain the actions of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib.  The pictures taken of the torture was not reacted to in the way it would have been in the past because of the desensitization that is going on, and from their, releasing the pictures to others would naturally seem to be the next step.  To show off the power they had over those people.

I was horrified by Rush Limbaugh’s quote regarding the torture that took place at Abu Ghraib, “Exactly my point. This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it, and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time.”  America has reached a point where it is completely desensitized to acts of violence and sex in the media, argues Susan Sontag in her piece in The New York Times.  This desensitization has affected every age, race, and gender in this country.  Being able to compare torture to collegiate hazing reflects poorly on America’s sense of humor, and how we are willing to treat our friends.  If we are able to make this comparison so easily, what took place at Abu Ghraib could never be considered surprising.

These two aspects are inextricably interconnected.  The violent media is desensitizing the people, and therefore, because of our complete disregard for privacy, we will post our own violent pictures – which then provides more desensitization for the public.  In order to stop this vicious cycle, the American public has to be collectively educated, not only out teenagers.

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