This is not good news

Heath Ledger’s death has been officially confirmed as an accidental overdose resulting from the abuse of prescription drugs. The morning newsreaders are now describing Ledger’s demise as a ‘tragic accident’.

Last week’s revelations of Ledger’s attendance at a ‘drug party’ incited one newsreader to use the phrase ‘damning video’? Was Ledger damned for being in the presence of cocaine users or for failing to live up to our fantasies of superstar excess? Had Ledger suicided or taken illegal drugs, would his death have been less tragic? Has tv news been over-run by necromancers intent on inspecting the entrails of every ratings-worthy corpse? Am I glad I’m not famous?

When did newsreaders become so free with the adjectives? And yet not without discrimination. ‘Notorious party pest’ Corey Worthington was not being harassed by ‘infamous gunslingers’, the Victorian police. ‘Disgraced footballer’ Ben Cousins didn’t harm the reputation of ‘brutal and ruthlessly commercial’ sport Aussie Rules.

There’s a form of puritanism unfolding here, a linguistic inquisition in which our modern-day sinners are denunciated by a media lynching party whose public pronouncements of moral probity are unlikely to match their own private behaviour. What sort of role models are they, when they show complete disregard for the standards of their profession?

Comments are closed.