The Plank

Advertisements For Himself

By and

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Mike--and agree with Mickey--regarding NBC's decision to air the Cho video. Yes, the wall-to-wall media coverage has been excessive and even exploitative. But there is still a substantial difference between publishing third-party descriptions of Cho's horrific crime and publicizing his own, self-aggrandizing video. The former inevitably portray him as what he was, a depraved, unhappy young man. The latter at least attempts to portray him as something else: an icon of rebellion and example to be emulated.

Sane adults, of course, can see past Cho's posturing to the pitiful human being beneath. But we are neither his intended nor his most important audience. To other disturbed and alienated youths out there his message is simple: I used to be like you, but I achieved, even at the cost of my death, power and fame you can scarcely imagine. Little wonder that a parade of psychological experts and law enforcement officials have described NBC's decision as reprehensible.

--Christopher Orr

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