Stranger than fiction

2011-01-25 08:30
Two stun grenades explode with a bang, and somewhere in the house a woman screams something incomprehensible before shots ring out in the Roggeveld Mountains. A police force of 85 officials, a helicopter and a plane have been hot on the couple’s heels for days…

This is not the opening scene for the latest blockbuster film but a true-life drama that played out in Sutherland. In Bonnie-and-Clyde fashion, a French couple was hunted down by police. The story about Philippe Menière and Agnes Jardel is still unfolding as we speak. And a lot of unanswered questions remain. Why did they have all those guns, what were they planning to do with them and why did they shoot an innocent cop? What were they feeling so guilty about?

Is it just me or are movies becoming reality? Every day we hear of shootouts at schools, family murders, gangsterism and drug wars. Is this the news or a summary of the movie plotlines showing at your local cinema?

Can movies really be blamed for the increase in violent crimes?  I have two theories. One, it could be that psychologists have a point and on-screen violence has desensitised us to the point where the runaway killer couple's story amuses us more than it shocks us.

And, two, I believe the media have taken to over-dramatising news events so often that it feels like we are living in a movie; we no longer seem able to distinguish between what’s real and shocking and what’s entertainment. Shocking events and violence have become our entertainment.

Working in the media myself, I know there is a lot to be gained by glamorising news events. How else do you get people to read your stories?  In the news world you compete with real entertainment and if your story isn’t just as exciting, you lose your audience.

But maybe it’s not the evil media that are to blame or violent films but our hunger to be entertained. We’re bored and we want to laugh, we want to be surprised and if we don’t get our daily fill through entertainment we might turn to news to get it and if we’re still not satisfied we might turn to real life and start looking for escapism in all the wrong places.

This week we celebrate real entertainment, may it never leave us wanting.

We want to laugh and be surprised and if we don’t get that through entertainment we will look for escapism in all the wrong places.
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Local is very lekker!

2014-01-31 11:38
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