Fondazione Zoé

Every programme which tells of a heinous crime guarantees the interest of a vast public.

In a recent television programme, a presenter got together other presenters and reporters who are passionate masters of the macabre. One of the images shown shocked me, I’m not sure if it was shown in commiseration or pride, but it showed that Italian, compared to other Europeans, are the most avid and consistent followers of disgusting programmes, as is the way with this kind of show, in which they cover particularly brutal and heinous murders with all the most intimate details in order to horrify.

Channels compete nobly to show the alleged crimescenes, mangled corpses and bloodstained knives, flashing on screen the more despicable actions and the most infamous and vulgar suspects, with no respect for the victims or their relatives and instead taking the place of those who should be doing this sad task (the police, judges and lawyers).
Every programme which tells of a heinous crime guarantees the interest of a vast public, above all if it is a case of extreme violence which has not other apparent motive, like rape and paedophilia. The peak in the audience rating comes when they try to work out if the rape happened before or after death.

How can we cure this illness? According to Aristotele viewing tragic events in the theatre, in which terrible atrocities are enacted, allows spectators to identify with and purify themselves from the bad (catharsis = purification).
The philosopher Umberto Galimberti also claimed that these programmes are not watched by those think the acts are right or would do such a thing, but by those who want to expel, through theatrical re-enacting, repressed desires rather than enacting them in real life. If you have similar terrible tendencies, you would not remain glued to the screen. If this is the cure, here is my proposal: before some programmes a text often appears “due to scenes in this programme, it is recommended for adults only”. In the same way, I would like to see before every programme with violence and atrocities the blurb: “recommended viewing for all potential murderers, rapists, attackers, paedophiles and necrophiliacs so that through this cathartic mechanism, they can reach purification which allows them not to repeat the acts shown here”.

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