How The Chaotic Reportage of Kenneka Jenkins Exposes a Society of Ills
The internet is a vault of the unimaginable — soaked with other pleasantries. I’m convinced that the cluttered landscape was meant to keep us giddily disorientated — as the feeds light up with updates and confirmations.
Each item that comes through the all-purpose machine — is outfitted for our busied attention. It can be the mashup of death scenes from countries that traditionally sport those headlines — swiftly followed by celebrity couples and the cuteness of raising funds for the needy.
I happened upon the reportage of Kenneka Jenkins and it wasn’t good.
A lovely Black girl with the cutest dimples and a smile wild enough to coax you into feeling like shit — as you read about her untimely passing — and emerge even more perplexed and helpless.
The details are murky and even muddy with layers of road blocks that never open up to reveal how a nineteen-year-old at a hotel party — ended up dead in a freezer.
The hashtag is initiated as video footage with dark spots and testimonies of distraught family members take centerstage. The incomprehensible fate of Kenneka Jenkins is now a mystery that garners page views for users — who are invested in a case with too many clues and no dots for connection.
Interest soars each time outlets reproduce another report on the dead Black girl with friends that make enemies seem like family. The details remain stale and incalculable — and this increases the need to hype on the latest sensation.
When a major news organization — actually admits that their sleuthing duties may be challenged by online amateurs with enough time to make this so — we have to wonder how The New York Times and others on that list — manage to retain any level of respectability:
“Now, a wide network of amateur online sleuths has taken up interest in the case. Videos from the party have been viewed millions of times on social media.”
The chaos that has ensued is reminiscent of a particularly graphic episode of Black Mirror — as online sleuths swipe through the slime to capture the catch of the day.
It’s all too real — until it’s not.
There was a time when tragedy was a hushed alarm of how bad things can happen with no warning. Now, it’s easy to internalize the unfathomable — and turn it into an online fiesta — as the spirit of the deceased is frozen in steady hashtags — and the swell of conspiracies that are aided with more tattered updates — from outlets that remain indistinguishable.
We’ve been chipped with the chip that makes a society ill beyond repair.
Do you really feel bad when you scroll past the numerous tragedies — lumped on top of other heds that detail how you can stream the Emmys while looking like a winner?
How do you sort out the valuables from the trash that’s decked out in earth-shattering retweets and the star of the day?
Kenneka Jenkins is still sort of dying through the purgatory of reports that only enhance the ghoulish quality of her demise — while also exposing the fucked up way we process information — that is now delivered for the purpose of creating static — as the details strip the victim of any ounce of dignity.
The case is just as mystifying as Jenkins’ — based on the mystical circumstances surrounding the death of both women.
So, basically, what unites both victims is the presentation of their fate. Wall, who was an accomplished journalist in her own right — was labeled as the “headless torso” by outlets that chose this initial method of introduction — because that’s the only way to get the clicks — clicked.
Perhaps if we had the days of old that only permitted the physical touch of a newspaper or magazine — we can accommodate the eye-popping headlines without the threat of normalization.
We are past that phase. We are now able to stomach the blood-splattering videos as we watch shirts soak in the wounds of Black pain. We don’t flinch when we gawk at the intact photo of the “headless woman” — whose floating body parts — pummel her to “a thing” that used to be “living thing.”
We bounce off the theories of users in a game of “whodunit” and shuffle through the patched resources assigned to a Black girl —who died.
She was killed so she could become another bizarrely packaged story — that ravenous junkies under the banner of journalism — can feed to the masses — so they can equate their own investigation — and keep the creepy games — activated.
The destruction of spirit can only be attained when we abstain from the nerves that try to stabilize humanity — and submit to the seduction of staying ill — as the virus of over-indulgence blinds our vision from the force of mental detachment.
When will the freak show end? We need a cure. Stat!