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Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Håkan Boström on the fascination of evil

Writing in the daily Dagens Nyheter Håkan Boström defends the press against criticism in connection with coverage of the incest trial against the Austrian Josef Fritzl: "Those who condemn the media are being too simplistic. Obviously for some reason murder, violence and horrendous attacks sell well. Is our reluctance to understand this 'evil' perhaps the result of our fascination with this evil? Could it be that we need it – just as we need heroes and princesses – in a world that would otherwise seem barren and meaningless? Are we perhaps witnessing the return of Romanticism or even the belated revenge of the Middle Ages on the Age of Enlightenment? This would indeed be a depressing thesis. But the wave of crime novels and films, the media's murder hysteria and not least the drama surrounding the 'trial of the century' and the evil in Josef Fritzl's cellar demonstrate that this conclusion is dangerously credible."

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