Cecil the Lion and the Relativism in Trauma Rhetorics

As the case of Cecil the Lion shows, there is a lot of “relativism” in the rhetorics of trauma.  People will criticize others for supporting the cause of “justice for Cecil” when there are so many other injustices occuring every day.

For myself, it gets a bit depressing looking at the social media and seeing all the terrible things that are happening all the time over which I have no control.  It becomes difficult, sometimes, to see my own work in writing and teaching as “meaningful” when there is so much to be fixed in the world.  And I’m a bit humbled by the realization that, if climate change continues as predicted, the world could become significantly worse in the times to come.  And not just the weather or food supplies – there is concern that societies will become far more violent in their desperation to hold on to natural resources that have been taken for granted for so long (see the Pentagon Report on Global Warming as reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post.)

And so there is a very real sense that social media is not only shifting how people interact, but in how they emotionally invest in issues.  For me, many issues that used to seem rather distant (such as police brutality) are far more in the public eye thanks to social media attention, and far more in my eye thanks to the shares by my friends.  (I’m particularly thinking of Trayvon Martin, though Sandra Bland is an example I’m better familiar with because I’ve been “tracking” her case from the beginning.)

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