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As I read the Zelizer article about deadly images, I kept remembering a movie I saw a few years ago. Untraceable is about an FBI Agent that is trying to track a serial killer who posts online videos of his about-to-die victims. The more people who went online to watch the person die, the faster it died. As you may assume, after people were finding out about this situation, they were going online to see if this was true, causing a faster death to the victim.

Zelizer talks about how about-to-die images play more of an emotional role. These pictures aren’t necessarily attempting to be supporting photos as a documentation of reality. The want to create some sort of feeling in the viewer. About-to-die images capture a powerful moment, but not everyone wants to see what happens next.




If someone were to tell you in person “you’re invited to witness a murder’ we probably would be running so fast in the other direction! I believe that movies and television series have taken advantage of our curiosity to develop situations to view near death experiences at others people’s expense. Ivonna this is a great example of how the media uses deadly images to convey Zelizer’s point. We’ve become so desensitized to death that I believe the thought or witnessing a person ‘almost’ dying seems to evoke more of a shock. It’s as if people are enamored with the idea of how an individual is going to die rather than the death itself.


This was a really interesting article that brought up questions about ethics in reporting. There’s that old adage, “if it bleeds it leads.” This image you posted relates to this because people tend to have this awful curiosity for sensational news items, like near death images/videos. News agencies must struggle with the question about what people need vs. want to know, which then has to be balanced with the consequences – ie: shock. How far do you really take a story?


When I first saw that, I thought it was a little bit freaky but i agree with what you have mentioned. About to die images does play an emotional role; people tend to think outside of the box about what is going to happen next.


What’s interesting is that we do run in the other direction when we’re “invited to witness a murder,” but it wasn’t always this way. Think about the lynchings in the South. These were public events that people actually got pumped up about. Or think about executions hundreds of years ago. Once again, people turned up to watch them and actually seemed to enjoy it. Zelizer (2011) talks about how we’re squeamish about this things now. When did we become squeamish about death in this nation? It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago.

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