Beating

After seeing this image on Burn, I quickly contacted Michael Francis McElroy to ask permission for a screen grab (no easy task - his new phone was playing up...).

      

On first glance I thought this image was a posed, formulaic take on religious iconography and felt that it was, perhaps, a little tactless. Then I began to read the caption...

It seems that the man was attacked and beaten by 2 youths in broad daylight. According to Burn:

".... several possible contributing factors lead young people to violent behaviour...  One problem facing children growing up in America is today’s media bombardment. Children growing up in today’s media are learning all the wrong things at all the wrong times."

I can't disagree with that but there is much more to the problem. Blaming the media is an easy escape. I am a father and wonder if, despite my best efforts, my son will ever end up like the man in this image or, perhaps even worse, take the role of perpetrator?

Thinking dialogically, how are we connected here? How have you and I contributed to this system of violence? What do we do about it?

I'm not sure... but rather than pushing the problem aside or blaming an abstract 'media' (in which we are now all participants) we need to realise that this is not a problem that is only out there. It is also in each of us. That's the difficult, complex problem that Michael's image offers.

Steve MarshallComment