There is a Growing Sickness on the Web

I’m always at a party somewhere
and it’s killing me
but the alcohol eases the pain
of being around other people
like my friend
who shoves his phone in my face
and says, “Hey Man, you GOTTA see THIS!”
as he starts a video
and although I probably didn’t want to see
whatever he had to show me
it was too late
because now I was watching it already
I was locked in
and what I was soon looking at
was some guy
having a really bad day.

It was a sunny afternoon.
It was a bad dive off a dock
and his face connected
with a concrete ledge
twenty feet down.

I am sure that he didn’t mean for it
to turn out like that.

You could hear the dull whack of
flesh on cement
and groans from those spectating.

Everyone there knew that it was bad
but they didn’t really know how bad
until the man surfaced
and floated face-down
in a growing pool of blood
as people around him
shouted in confusion.

A woman cried, “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
She started sobbing.

Things have such an eerie quality
to it when they’re real
even on a small screen.

The video cut to that man lying unconscious
on a hospital bed
with a large tube feeding him air.
The doctor holding his face together
pressing in with his hands
suddenly let go
and the entire thing split open
so that you could see all the way
to the back of his head
where his teeth now were.

His skull was halved like an apple
but somehow he was still alive
though you knew that he would
never be the same again
if he even survived the operation.

Now, I’m no expert
but I’m pretty sure that if you get certain things
shoved in your face all of the time that
you will eventually become numb to it
so this had got me thinking about how desensitized
we must be to find entertainment
in somebody’s life getting destroyed,
somebody with a family
with sisters and brothers
wives and children
and I could not help but think
that this was just a little
cold and sadistic
because it horrified me
to consider all of the pain
that man must now endure
as they attempted to reconstruct his face
and all of the surgeries that would follow,
the extensive hours in the hospital,
the bills and
what it was going to be like when he
looked in the mirror next or
every time for the rest of his life
if he wasn’t dead or a vegetable.

And now here we all are
with our faces still intact
cackling like demented hounds
watching it
again and again
passing the phone around the room:
“Hey! Come check THIS out!”
“Oh Dude, I gotta see THAT again!”

“Bahahaha…Fucker got it good!”

There is a growing sickness on the web
and in ourselves and
maybe it’s always been
a part of us
this interest to see others suffer
to watch them become humiliated
while seriously injuring themselves or others.

This is what happens when people
lose respect for human life
but just because they have
and just because it’s out there
(one mouse-click away)
doesn’t mean that I have to subscribe to it.

So the next time somebody
shoves a smartphone in my face
and shouts, “Hey Man, you GOTTA see this!”
I’m going to do the smart thing
and look away
because there are brutal things that
happen out there
and these things have a tendency to remain
with me once seen.

But it’s always good for a laugh, right?
As long as it doesn’t
happen to you
or anyone that you care about…



10 thoughts on “There is a Growing Sickness on the Web

  1. S.

    I am pretty sure this is not growing, I think it’s always been there… I am ready to bet the ancient Romans were doing the same, dragging each other by the elbow to the Colosseum saying “Hey, Lapidus, you GOTTA see THIS!!!” while some poor bastard would be shred to pieces by beasts… I think it’s human nature to be drawn to graphic shit like this… it’s just more and more public these days, more accessible, so naturally, we see a lot more and also get a lot more desensitized. But I still refuse people who try to shove things like this under my nose, since someone (who is not my friend anymore) showed me without any warning of some sort, a 7 year old beheaded by some extremist group in some obscure extremist country, forgetting that I am a parent myself… (even if I wasn’t a parent, that is not something I care to even think about for the rest of my days…). On days like this, I hate people.


    1. HJM Post author

      You’re right and I was actually thinking of the roman times and the barbaric dark ages where this kind of thing was public entertainment. We are much more civilized in this day and age. But with humanity being the way it is the violent clips on the net are only outdone by the amount of porn available. I just thought that ‘growing’ would be more dramatic.


    2. HJM Post author

      yes. More open. There is no more slavery. No more public hangings or kangaroo courts. People are more open to race and culture. Health is now a major issue. People take better care of each other. There is still and will always be others who love to hurt more than heal, that said.


  2. evanescentIncrements

    I disagree with S. on grounds of frame of reference. Considering the Romans, Nazis, etc.– perhaps. Consider the generation your parents grew up in. Or grandparents. Or great grandparents (if they weren’t Nazis or Facist Dictators.) Our exposure has increased dramatically, which proportionately increases our desensitization. Such is the case in movies as well– I was shielded from certain types so long that when I first saw “the Cell” many moons ago it changed the color of my soul forever.


    1. S.

      I actually have to agree with you here 🙂 frame of reference makes a huge difference. However, I grew up in a time and place with little to no shielding from anything, a time and place with less than average humanity. Seeing goodness and beauty was rare and a lot more appreciated. Maybe that is why I am so cynical when it comes to human nature… I’ve seen too much.


    2. HJM Post author

      With the amount displayed on television, games, etc. and with the ability to record and replay anything at leisure and post it on the net it becomes easy to become accustomed to viewing violence as a means of entertainment rather than something to be sympathetic towards. Violence sells but at what cost in the end? At what point do we lose our sense of compassion towards what others fall victim to? If we lose that than what is left?


      1. evanescentIncrements

        While I have nothing left of intelligence to add, I’d like to say, best comment string I’ve been a part of in a while. Also, as I come from the land of blogger and haven’t quite the hang of WordPress yet– do you have a blog, S.? I can’t tell from the gravatar page.


  3. S.

    Totally. It made me very excited to be part of this discussion 🙂 And while I do have a blog, it’s not too literary (translate loosely as my “anger management/journal for friends I left overseas”) and it’s written in my mother tongue, so not too helpful, sorry.( I hope you don’t mind I’ll peek at your blog though 🙂



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