Pre-canned Grief

It looks like the networks filmed their documentaries on McCain long before he died and we’re sitting on them, waiting for him to die. It feels kind of disgusting, so I can’t even watch them. He had terminal cancer, OK, but still it’s an icky thing to do.

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10 thoughts on “Pre-canned Grief”

  1. My understanding is that this is standard practice in news media. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have ready-made documentaries on other ageing leaders sitting on their shelves as well.

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  2. Yes; I remember a full-page obituary of Bertrand Russell in 1970 in the New York Times. The practice is to write obituaries for everyone (not just elderly people) who might expect an obituary, update it every six months or so, and do minimal editing when it is published at the person’s death.

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    1. People are a lot more cynical. There is no politician in Ukraine that anybody is so attached to emotionally that they’d want to watch hagiographic TV shows about him. If somebody tried it, people would ridicule it to death.

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      1. Also, I want to add that Ukrainians are capable of feeling enthusiastic about a specific politician for a maximum of 6 months. We are simply not a culture of venerating individual leaders. The Revolution of Dignity, for instance, had not a single leader. People just showed up and stood their ground together without being prompted or led by any single person. This is one of the great differences between Ukrainians and Russians who can’t do anything without a God-like leader they have to adore and detest simultaneously with an intensity that is, frankly, scary.

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  3. It’s long been a practice of responsible newspapers to prepare in-depth obituaries for as many well-known and prominent citizens in the community as possible. It’s the responsible way for a daily newspaper to operate. Whatever time of day a person may die, you have only a few hours before the deadline to get it into the afternoon paper or tomorrow morning‘s paper. You want to be as accurate and complete as possible, naturally. And newspapers have traditionally gone to great lengths to be careful to be respectful of the deceased. You don’t want to make an embarrassing blunder in an obituary. It’s like the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” Would you admire a college professor who showed up to give a lecture and was unprepared on his subject?

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  4. “It looks like the networks filmed their documentaries on McCain long before he died and we’re sitting on them, waiting for him to die… He had terminal cancer, OK, but still it’s an icky thing to do.”

    Well, you really can’t blame the media. McCain certainly played willingly into the cameras as the noble hero.

    “I’m dying fighting,” he said, and then saluted into the camera. Nonsense . What exactly was he fighting? Terminal cancer? Imminent death? Nobody “fights” those intangible and inevitable realities — you either accept them with a resigned, quiet dignity, or you don’t.

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  5. To be hones I thought that McCain had already died and I somehow missed it… (maybe when I was in Spain since Spanish media doesn’t pay much attention to the US) I’m wondering if there was a Gianni Schicchi scenario where they were keeping him alive because of something they needed and once they got it they pulled the plug…

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