the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

News Cycle

First, we were horrified at the Boston bombing.

Then, progressives hoped he was a white nut job so Fox news couldn’t blame it on Islam.  Then conservatives hoped he was Muslim, so liberals would accept the importance of the “war on terror.”

Then we became sentimental about running, marathons,  and the great city of Boston.  Then we debated whether we should even call them terrorists.

Then we all insisted that we hold judgement until the suspects were proven guilty.  Then we talked about them anyway.

Then we laughed at how stupid the media looked in handling the entire story.  Then the media laughed at the internet for fingering the wrong person.

Then we wondered whether this bombing proves a need for more gun control, since it is so easy to buy weapons, or less gun control, so we can protect ourselves.  Then we got caught up in the excitement of the chase and the shootouts.  Then we thanked the police.

Then we felt sympathetic to  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he was brainwashed by his brother.  Then we hated him again when we read his racist tweets.

Then we wondered if it was our own colonial policies that caused the radicalization of the world, and the West is to blame.  Then we decided that religion is actually good, but it is the people who distort it who are bad.  Then we wondered if maybe ALL religion is bad.

Then we blamed Russia for their policies in Chechnya.  Then we mocked ourselves for not knowing where Chechnya is on a map.

Then, Neil Diamond sang “Sweet Caroline” at a baseball game, and we decided that Boston has bounced back.

Then there was a thwarted plot in Canada, but since there was no bomb, we shrugged it off.   Then we moved on.

A week later, we hardly remember the victims’ names.


  1. Stephanie

    Such is life. But, for the record, I’m still a little horrified.

  2. Elizabeth Aquino

    I wrote something similar on my own blog this morning, but yours is vastly superior. And I admit to laughing out loud at your Neil Diamond line.

  3. Michele

    I think that accurately sums up the big overview of the week. Being in Boston it gives a little different perspective, much like being in NY or from NY at the time of 9/11 probably meant having a totally different take on the experience than any of us outside of that space could truly imagine. And I do remember the victims names. And I gave Canada props for thwarting the evil doers!

  4. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    You left out the explosion in Texas, which killed and injured more people and devastated a small town and the earthquakes in India and in China that no one talked about at all. Then there was the ricin attack on D.C….

    • sarah gilbert

      this keeps chilling me too. the explosion in Texas was a trainwreck, the sort of thing everyone could have seen coming and no one did anything to stop. we never even heard a single victim’s name (and I listen to a lot of NPR!). also there was a wedding bombed in Afghanistan the same day as Boston. 25 people died. the next day 50 people died in Iraq. there’s a lot of tragedy out there, and most of it isn’t about us, and I don’t know what to do.

  5. Schmutzie


  6. Alma

    In a nutshell, Neil.

  7. Sarah Piazza

    Ahh, the use of the ‘royal we’…

  8. sarah gilbert

    this reflected better than I could how bizarre we and our reaction to tragedy — and spectacle — are.

  9. Lisa

    Tragically accurate…

  10. margalit

    As a very long term Bostonian, I kind of take exception to your short shrift of what happened in my city. We haven’t forgotten at all. We’re still burying our dead. Yesterday it was Kristin Campbell, the waitress from Mrdford. We had a memorial service for Sean Collier, the MIT cop as well. Martin Richards has already been burried, and the Chinese girl, Ms Lu has been sent home to her family for butial. We haven’t forgotten. We all stood in silence on Monday at 2:50, the exact time of the bombing the week before. We’re handing on to every word coming out of Beth Israel from the brother that is still alive. This is going to take a long time to recover from. Just because it didn’t bother you does not mean you get to be a spokesperson for Bostonians.

    • Megan

      I don’t believe Neil was speaking for Bostonians, but for the rest of us who watched this drama unfold from afar. He was commenting on how short our attention spans (in a very general way) are these days, how everything comes at us so quickly that we hardly have time to process it before the next chapter begins.

  11. Megan

    Such is the way of the world. Life goes on, as it must. But I would submit that we are all a little different than we were at 2:49 on April 15.

  12. Marta

    While I don’t disagree I think it’s a very cynical outlook on what has transpired. I think it’s probably applicable to the masses outside of Boston and I think most people don’t know the victims names because the media doesn’t give them the same airtime as the suspects. And many people don’t really even follow what happen to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after he was captured. But not everyone. I’ve never been to Boston in my life, but I haven’t forgotten.

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