‘Human interest,’ I suppose.

by waxbanks

A quick response, i.e., I haven’t thought too hard about what I’m about to say:

The Tsarnaev brother who isn’t dead is on trial for the marathon bombing. Since the defense team readily admits his guilt, the point of the trial from their perspective is to avoid the death penalty. Doubtless this will be good for their business — ‘successfully defended the teenager who terrorized a city’ isn’t a stigma in their line of work. But I can’t imagine what Tsarnaev is living for, at this point.

Nor do I understand the appeal of stuff like this, from @hilsarg:

Jessica Kensky: “I didn’t know how many people were hurt, but I knew my husband was critically wounded.” #Tsarnaev

Sargent, a Glob reporter, is ‘livetweeting’ a victim’s testimony (I assume she’s in the courtroom). For once I’m not objecting to the medium. I just don’t understand the mindset of a reader hungry for this kind of coverage. Are there people in this city (my son’s city) who need 140-character snippets of remembered horror — or remembered confusion, or annoyance — to, as they say, ‘put it behind them’ two years later? Is that the point anyway? Would it help to see a charcoal sketch of Tsarnaev himself, or hear a bit of low-fidelity courtroom audio? Would dramatic background music help?

Come to think of it, does anyone want to jump in as cofounder of my context-aware tweet-background-music startup? Equity stake, salary, generous benefits.

As with the OJ (‘Orenthal James,’ as I recall, and what a marvelous 19th-century name it is!) Simpson trial, I find the idea of random Bostonians following the hashtag-Tsarnaev trial everyday…ghoulish. Also boring. Tsarnaev has had enough of our time and attention, and please don’t pretend to be surprised by, or to care about, the Brave Victims who Overcome Adversity to Inspire Us. It’s unconvincing and you’ve seen this show before. Here’s a better idea: go out for a jog today and meet a stranger’s eye without flinching and maybe wave or say Hi. And another: write your mom a letter. She’ll probably die before you. Let’s hope for her sake that she does; she deserves that.

Plenty of people in this city live with the horror of the marathon bombing every day, and they should get what they need — we could help give it to them if we cared to figure out how — but no amount of pseudoconcern about ‘real life’ justifies our voyeurism. The state knows what he did, they know why, they know how. We know these things, or would if we wanted. Put him on the back page of the paper where he belongs; there are other, scarier things for us to pretend to be concerned about.