I'm going home to read JTHM again.
Posted at 20 Apr 2007 06:01:24 PM
(Disclaimer: Ok, this is the one entry in which I will mention the Virginia Tech shooting. This is stemming from a comment I was going to make to a recent metaquotes post
, but it got a bit long for a comment and I decided this was better posted in my own journal rather than making several thousand people suffer through it.)
"...the same argument was made over comic books causing violent behavior."
Of course, because something always causes
violent behavior. Nobody's ever fucked up all on their own - oh no. That would be too simple, and then we wouldn't have anything to blame!
I honestly believe that part of our [society's] need to blame something - anything - stems from our desire to make the whole thing a bit more remote. If we can pin down what "causes" it, then we can delude ourselves into feeling safe around the people that we know for whom that particular cause isn't an issue. It's not always blaming something external because we dislike that external thing; it's because if once we admit that violence of this magnitude can be to all intents and purposes random, we can't really ever feel "safe" again.
I'm reminded suddenly of the scene in 8MM (excellently made, HIGHLY recommended but very
dark Nic Cage movie from a few years back, which I am spoiling liek woah in the next paragraph) where Cage's character tracks down the final guy from the film - big guy, one-word name, always lurking in the background, upside-down pentagram tatoo, always in black leather, sleeveless vest, half-zipped gimp mask, absolutely silent at all times. The epitome of fucking creepy. And before he dies, the guy finally takes off his mask, and looks exactly like someone you'd see in an office - like George from Seinfeld - glasses, kinda paunchy, totally normal.
He looks up at Cage's character and says "I wasn't beaten, I wasn't abused. Daddy didn't rape me. There's no mystery. The things I do, I do because I like them, because I want to."
So yeah in a way, I can understand the need of society at large to point fingers all over the place; we're not equipped to handle random, we want obvious triggers and warning signs and people on whom we can take out our anger. I think we do it wrong, I think we do it far too much, and I definitely think that we teach kids the wrong lessons about all of this ("No, Virginia, playing too much GTA will not *make* you kill people. However, if you feel sad or upset about anything, come talk to me, ok? I promise just to listen and not judge or tell you what to do." And then do it.
Listen and do not judge.
I know that it's hard to do honestly, but when's the last time you were perfect?) But at least I can understand the desire.
(Don't even get me started on Jack Thompson.)