(UPDATE: After Creative Loafing went to press, video surfaced that appears to show George Zimmerman immediately following the Trayvon Martin shooting. And people are already seeing more than it shows.)
Back in the very early ’90s, I caught a documentary on cable about America’s then-nascent culture of candid video. (Don’t hold me to it, but I believe it was an episode of HBO’s America Undercover series titled “Surveillance: No Place to Hide.”) It was full of manipulative, button-pushy emotional swings typical of programs made by folks who don’t want to come right out and tell you that THE WORLD IS GOING TO SHIT, PEOPLE — in the interest of journalistic integrity, they balance the doomsaying with a few beneficial elements, and let the music and the tone do the talking.
So you got, like, 45 amusing seconds of a naked guy caught locking himself out of his apartment by the building’s security camera, and 45 harrowing minutes of hockey-dad fights and gay-bashing and dash-cam footage of state troopers getting shot and stuffed into the trunks of the stolen sedans they pulled over for burned-out blinker bulbs. I vividly remember a segment in which a group of troglodytic kids steal a tourist’s camcorder and tape themselves gleefully beating said tourist unconscious. It might’ve been the first time in history a video made by criminals of their own crimes was used as evidence in their prosecution.
Sure, I could spend the next 20 minutes on YouTube viewing all manner of carnage, mayhem and pranks that end with surgical staples, and I wouldn’t be bothered in the same way. I’d probably be bothered in that vague my-soul-needs-a-shower sort of way. But come on; destructive young morons are hoisted by their own cinema-verite petards about once a week on average, and real-life death is just another prime-time entertainment option.