No, you don’t need those shock videos

The Stammering Dunce
5 min readOct 31, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

I am certain some of you are familiar with the concept of lost media, in which works and records have no existing copies. They may be lost because of deliberate destruction of every known existing copy or through pure negligence.

There are lost media which may not be technically lost, but more accurately hidden; they record the audio and/or visuals of actual violent deaths, some of which were unusually brutal murders. They may be kept as evidences by the authorities 0r they may get banned from being uploaded to websites.

And I am one of the people who are glad such media is “lost”. Yes, “one of the people”. That means there are people who are sad about it.

They believe watching such content grounds us in reality. And I can bullshit on that.

No, you love watching those videos because they entertain you. Not even the most violent films can satisfy you. You can only be entertained by actual gore. Don’t act like gore is what reality all about.

You claim those videos do not shock you. Okay, so what? If gore doesn’t shock you, it doesn’t mean you are mentally stronger than everyone else, it means you are an edgelord who is more mentally fucked than everyone else.

But, what if those videos do make you snap out of your lala land? Well, it is not a testament of the benefits of such content, it is a testament of how sheltered your upbringing was, so sheltered you need gore for your awakening.

Now, I am going talk a bit about “LOL Superman” as a specific example.

In case you didn’t know, it is the title of an alleged online video of 9/11 “jumpers”; it is infamous because not only it shows them falling/jumping to their deaths, it also shows their bodies impacting the solid grounds, turning into unrecognisable mess of flesh and blood. As you expect, if that video did exist and was not just a false collective memory, I certainly would not mourn its lost status.

Unsurprisingly, you gore lovers have made those aforementioned arguments regarding this video. But, you also accuse people like me of wanting to erase history. Of course, it is just virtue signaling on your part.

If we truly want to erase history, we would have targeted every single documentation of 9/11, including every news reel, amateur footage and even memorial. But nope, we only target videos like that one..

And how can you erase 9/11, anyway?

It happened twenty-two years ago, it is still relatively recent. Some people directly affected by the attacks are still alive today; the survivors, those who lost loved ones, the American and American allies’ soldiers who got severely injured and the innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians whose unstable homelands became even more unstable, in the name of avenging the death of innocent Americans.

Even if they are not directly affected, many people also grew up hearing about the 9/11 and the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Many around the world — including myself — watched the second plane crash on live TV broadcast (I watched it on Indonesia’a Metro TV, relaying the CNN broadcast).

There are also countless footage of the attacks available online; someone even made a ten-hour compilation on Youtube. You can also easily find non-gory footage and photos of the “jumpers”… which include The Falling Man, arguably one of the most memorably haunting photos of the decade.

With the abundance of living memories, photos and other videos, why the hell do you need “LOL Superman” to preserve this specific history? You know, other than to justify your sick entertainment preferences.

That video is also disrespectful. Not only it has a mocking title*, it is also insulting to the victims’ families. Do you seriously believe they are okay with the possible gory footage of their loved ones’ deaths becoming a source of morbid amusement of the masses?

If you truly care about the truth, you would be mindful of the prevailing pain.

Let me tell you four anecdotes.

I am from Indonesia. The late 90’s is a dark period of this country’s history, with May 98 as darkest month. Economic crisis, political discontent and bigotry accumulated into days of nationwide riots; ethnic Chinese-Indonesians — the country’s most visible ethnic and racial minority and often mistakenly perceived as 100% affluent — were targeted by rioters.

Many of the women were victims of sexual violence; that meant nothing to my young self because I didn’t know what rape was. But, hearing about the violence and my country’s seeming descend into lawlessness was already horrifying enough.

When I was eight or nine, there was gas station where my mom regularly bought fuel from. Typical of her, she loved striking conversations with anyone and she ended being friendly with the staff.

One day, the staff revealed a horrifying news: an employee died in a tragic traffic accident…… his head was squashed by a tire. While I already knew traffic accidents exist, this one felt close to home.

And, of course, 9/11**. It happened a month after my ninth birthday.

I mentioned about how I watched the second plane on live broadcast. Weeks or months later, I watched a documentary about the attacks and, for the first time, I learned about the “jumpers”. Two footages sticked with me the most.

One showed a “jumper” moments before they hit the ground; while I didn’t see the impact (I think firetrucks blocked the view), I could hear the sound. Another footage showed a person holding onto some kind of cloth, probably wanting to move to a lower floor; unfortunately, their hands slipped.

Those events (is it an appropriate word?) taught me that life isn’t always pretty. Enjoyment of the sunshine and rainbows does not mean I should ignore the existence of its darker side. They are teachable moments because I am compelled to offset my positivity with healthy dose of negativity. I don’t end up suffering from forced positivity.

And I certainly didn’t need gory imagery.

Meanwhile, my fourth anecdote is far from a teachable moment. It was the 2004 earthquake and tsunami.

For some time, Indonesian TV and newspapers kept plastering the media landscape with images of rotting corpses, strewn all over the hit areas. Yes, they were uncensored.

The tragedy should had taught me about the unpredictability of nature and how lack of preparedness could lead to suffering for many human lives. But, I didn’t learn any of those.

While I didn’t suffer from nightmares, I certainly couldn’t get the gruesome imagery out of my head for a long time. Thanks to the media, I associated the tragedy with rotting corpses… and nothing else.

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*The title is supposedly based on the words uttered by the cameraman. I understand people can react inappropriately when witnessing something horrible. But, sooner or later, you have to take heed of the inappropriateness of your reactions…. and broadcasting them to everyone adds another level of your inappropriateness.

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**Even though I am a Muslim myself, 9/11 didn’t affect my religious identity. I am from the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country; I am not a religious minority in my own homeland and I didn’t have to grow up experiencing anti-Muslim sentiment. My spiritual crises also occurred in small bouts throughout many years, none of which was triggered by 9/11.

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