Those who argue that the media desensitize us underestimate the human spirit. We care as much as we ever have about our fellow people, but time- and space-constrained media do not give us people to care about. They castrate each story’s humanity to make room for more, and in the end they leave us with caricatures. If the UCLA Tasering weren’t on video, you would have read this on page 3 of your newspaper. Would it have made the same impact? Would anyone still be talking about Michael Richards if his outburst weren’t on tape?
We are no longer sheltered by constraints that squeezed human lives into printed paragraphs and television spots, and now they are unraveling mercilessly before us. The Web brings us closer to the ones we love, but it can also make us love the ones it brings us closer to.