Free Speech

Back in our hot cocoon in Leon, jodido, watching 'cronica' news on channel 8, I realized I'd returned to the other world, the other culture of a different time-zone. A woman in the hills of Matagalpa departamento had filed a complaint with the police. Her neighbor had gotten 'intimate' with her sow. It wasn't just her claim. The old man of 70, also interviewed on TV, didn't deny having sex with her pig. The problem was that the pregnant sow miscarried afterward. She claimed the old man owed her 3,500 cordovas, or 500 per piglet still-born. The old man said he'd buy the pig for that matter, but he hadn't the money. That bit was on yesterday morning's 'news'.

This morning the same news program showed a 6-year-old boy who'd been run over by a truck. His head was under the rear double-tire wheel, but most of his little body was uncrushed, as I could see. The TV actually zoomed in on a crescent piece of skull & brain matter beside the tires. People here are somewhat accustomed to watching such sights on local TV. Not me. The interview with the mother was similarly otherworldly. She was aggravated, but not sad, as I saw her. She had kept the kid chained-up and complained about his getting away.

I recall the first time I saw a dead man on Nica TV. Lying in a pool of his blood he'd been knifed several times in the abdomen. Seemingly to prove that was the case, someone turned him by his shoulder for the TV. His guts spilled out.

It's my up-bringing - in a puritanical world where death is sanitized, discussed in the abstract, but never shown - that makes me unprepared for life/death in such rawness. OK, it shocks me, but because it's real I welcome this chance of knowing it. Only in small visual-bites, please.

(P.S. Phony mega-death is common in Hollywood movies, especially war flics with superheroes. These psychologically prepare young soldiers-to-be to enlist to serve the greatest war machine the world has ever known. Real death & killing, however, is starkly ugly. Thus too many return from the front(s) traumatized.)

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Human Morbosity

La noticia roja, literally the red news. Not wanting to sound or appear as an elitist, far from it, but our masses are like a swarm of flies attracted to the rotting carcass by the side of the road. Channels 10 and 8 and "newspapers" as Hoy happily cater to them, yes I said them. Most people enjoy gossip and this newscasts and dailies is basically what they present. High ratings and circulation more profits for them. Reality shows at its purest and cheapest. When I left there were only 3 tv channels and 3 serious papers and no rags. The news on tv were not as they are now by a long shot. I saw on the Prensa the foto of Pedro J Chamorro' s body riddled with holes from the shotgun blast that killed him. Before that I don't recall seing that kind of photos, but I could be wrong. Even so now it is pretty disgusting. One of my aunts loves to see channel 10 news and I asked her why they like it so much and why the tv station news has got to be so graphic? Her answer: We like to watch it because maybe they talk about someone we know and if they don't show us the graphics we may not believe them. About the novelas appeal and grip on lots of people, again people like to have something to talk or gossip about, and better yet if you won't get in trouble. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people talking about what's going on on the freaking novelas as if it was real. Lots of people like to live vicariously even if it is for an hour or so. I must say that is pretty much the same in the USA. Whenever there is an accident lots of people slows down to a crawl hoping to catch a glimpse, and all the twittering about shows and celebrities' doings, worse yet about their own doings. Oh my God I've become one of them. How pathetic.

Reality

When I first moved to Costa Rica I was amazed at how much of the TV news coverage was about car accidents. Generally more tasteful than what you described -- typically you would see a bloody sheet with a body under it -- but this was the norm for news.

Eventually I realized that in a country with no military fighting in foreign wars, no huge corporations announcing something amazing and such, traffic accidents really were one of the more exciting happenings. By exciting I mean that which will get people to watch the news.

The one thing I don't understand is why there are so many people in Nicaragua addicted to soap operas. It would seem that the news plus watching/talking to your neighbors would fill that need.

Now, the only problem I have here is that if the sow was underage, it would seem this should not have been made public. :-)

soap operas..

when u live in a corigated shack..it takes u out of the real world..and puts u in those nice houses

Novelas

Yes, one wonders: what's with the addiction to soaps? Romance - vicarious affairs of the heart. My guess is that it's a hormonal juice-kick to the limbic system that produces that overall glow addicts crave. It's clear the hormones/brain must needs be gamed: a playboy villain elicits the be-on-your-guard hormones which leave a euphoria vaccuum. Eventually sexy, true Mr.(Ms.) Right comes along to trip the joy juice into a double high. Mental role-playing, identifying with the protagonist, is key. True soap addicts KNOW they are much more beautiful & sexy than they appear physically, superficially, if only their secret selves could be seen, as shown on TV. But only he with the key to her heart can enter that labyrinth of the soul.

Western civilization is said to have passed thru an Age of Romance. I consider Cervantes' Don Quixote, Roland's endless Romance of the Rose and Shakespeare's love sonnets & plays its zenith. Surely every civilization has had such an era. Or is it, more than a phase, a continual social need, a human need? Before the Bible, the Sumerian's tale of Gilgamesh, Inkydoo & the superwhore was certainly a romantic myth, something of a soap opera. One can imagine the tales told around the cave fire after the mammoth hunters stopped bragging.

It may simply be that the fairer sex, those of us who can physically continue humanity, actually need to keep those hormonal systems in tune to do the complete job. The womb-men are a majority of soaps' audience.