In class we watched a TED talk by Alain de Bolton about measuring success. This TED talk talked a lot about how we don't strive for true success, we strive for what other people will perceive as success. Our views of success are skewed by society. de Bolton talks about how, in our modern, individualistic society, we are told that we can all succeed, and when we don't we feel bad about ourselves. The main point of the TED talk is that we should start measuring success in different, nicer ways and stop being so harsh and caught up in what other people think.
So, you may be asking yourself: what the heck does this have to do with tragedy? Don't worry, I asked myself that, too. In all honestly, I didn't really think this TED talk connected that well with this unit.
There was a section of the talk where de Bolton discussed how how our current society treats people who have screwed up or just had misfortunes is the opposite of tragedy. He said, basically, that there are two ways to look at or discuss bad things that happen: tabloid journalism or tragedy. Our current media points out bad things that have happened, and that's pretty much all. Often, they find someone to blame or call someone out as being bad or whatever. All this does is draw attention to the bad thing that happened. On the other hand, tragedy looks at bad stuff that happens and shows it a very different light. Tragedies evoke sympathy and do not point fingers at anyone for causing a bad thing to happen. Tragedies allow us to connect with the unfortunate and see them as human like us. This difference in portrayal is very important.
I suppose that specific part of this TED talk was helpful and did connect well with our unit. I had never thought about anything close to this idea. I would never have thought that tragedy and the popular media just had two very different ways of portraying the same events. I wouldn't have even thought about the fact that there are different ways to display tragic events.
Maybe if we stop pointing fingers at flaws and issues and started writing about bad things as just that again, we could change the way our society thinks and functions. Tragedy, it turns out, is not really a bad thing at all.