‘Too soon’ is too much

The “too soon” phenomenon is a poor reaction to controversial topics.

Eric Best

As soon as any tragedy or media uproar is referenced in the media, the natural reaction has come to be “too soon.”

The trope is new, with online dictionaries and websites like Urban Dictionary creating their first “too soon” entries in 2006. “Too soon” is even a popular theme for parties now. Perhaps the phrase has been made famous because we’re getting our news faster, and national dialogue happens at the blink of an eye — regardless, “too soon” is a problem for communicators.

The phenomenon is decidedly anti-post-modern, in which the media is discouraged from referencing topics or events that most, if not all, consumers are able to relate or refer to in real life. One only needs to look at Fox Network shows like “Family Guy” or “Glee” to see that referring to modern events, like shootings or controversial topics, such as abortion or sexual assault, now warrant this call from the public.

But why shouldn’t producers and writers reference this national culture? Interacting with these events or topics invites a crucial dialogue and uses information on common topics that all consumers can understand. Rather than having media consumers “turn off” from reality, we should be inviting the entertainment industry to spur critical thinking on these subjects. Yes, the juxtaposition of information may be uncomfortable for some viewers, but the “need” of talking about controversy outweighs the “want” of some consumers to forget about, turn away from or abstain from uncomfortable realities.

The “too soon” idea also alludes to the concept of adhering to a waiting period of talking about a tragic  event. Is the media supposed to guess when it is morally or ethically correct to report on or refer to something? The ability to decide on a proper waiting period asks a lot of a time-oriented, information-gathering industry. The expectation to wait days, weeks or months to talk about or even reference a subject is ridiculous, and this disgraces both the duty of communicators and the lives of those affected by controversy.

The ability for TV or any other media to interact with reality should be supported rather than censored. The “too soon” phenomenon is backward in a post-modern world.