Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Call for Sanity, Please!

Quotidian Grace links to this story that dropped my stomach into a free fall. A young woman in Sugar Land, TX was shot in the head by two young men who simply had a "morbid curiosity" about what it would be like to shoot someone in the head. Teens killing teens not out of wrath or anger, but out of curiosity. My heart aches for this girl's family and friends -- and honestly, as a father of two daughters, I tremble.

How have we gotten here? Most of us have had those urges that we dare not tell others about -- the urge to slap a stranger, the urge to stand in the middle of a church service and shout profanity. It is usually a tickle at the back of the head "what would it be like if..." Most of us also have sense enough to immediately quash the urge -- a developed moral sense, an understanding of consequences, a realization that this is a temptation from a tempter. We call it a conscience -- that inner Momma holding the roller pin in her hand.

Somehow, for these two young men, these barriers didn't exist -- somehow, when Satan came with his little mind virus, these boys defenses were so nonexistent that they gave in to morbid curiosity.

Perhaps we will cluck our tongues and say it is a shame -- perhaps we self-righteously say "where were the parents".

We should ask "where have we failed" -- we've become a culture that celebrates nihilism and death -- look at the slew of torture and kill flicks that have come out in the past few years: Saw I and II, Hostel, Wolf Creek, The Hills Have Eyes, Devils Rejects (just to name the ones that I'm aware of) -- they've all been huge hits -- and they graphically depict inhuman acts of torture -- in Hostel, it is torture that is being done out of "morbid curiosity". (and for the wise guy that asks "did you see the movie?" -- i read extensive reviews on -- these things aren't high art here -- they're splatter flicks)

Look at the graphics and lyrics of hardcore acts such as Slipknot, Korn and Rob Zombie. Look at the trend of exploiting the pain of others for profit that is the hallmark of Howard Stern, Jerry Springer, and copious radio shock jocks. Can we open our eyes and see the mess that we've allowed to happen. And if anyone dares raise their voice, they're dismissed as a censor and a threat to first ammendment rights.

The problem with such things is that by having such violence and exploitation readily available, we normalize it. We allow the world to be filled with images and stories that make it seem perfectly OK to abuse another person for our own "morbid curiosity" -- and then we act aghast when someone acts out on what has been normalized by the culture.

I suggest we need to de-normalize exploitation.

It needs to become socially unacceptable to be a purveyor of such sleaze. What would it be like if we told movie theater owners that as long as they showed films like Saw, we would not bring our children to their establishment to see films like Cars. If enough people said it, there would be a few safe havens. Perhaps even some theatres would start advertising that they are clean.

What would it be like if we told local advertisers that we would not support them if they advertise on "shock" stations -- if enough people did so, it would make a dent. These exploitation mavens are dollar driven, and we need to make it financially hurt when they so hurt our culture by normalizing filth.

What would it look like if we walked into Barnes and Noble and told them that as long as they had a huge section of Erotica sitting right next to the collection of books on children and parenting, we would no longer patronize their establishment? Has anyone thought about this -- must we continue to let what is normal be established by the major media corporations and large conglomerates. There is plenty we can do to send a message back -- and to say that it is no longer OK to tempt our children with "morbid curiosity" about killing, exploitation, and destruction.

Please, readers, tell me what do you think we can do together?

Soli Deo Gloria

Posts with similar themes:
Book review of Farenheit 451
Builders and Destroyers
The Aristocrats -- does anybody with sanity really care
A Casino for Broadway Commons: Bad Idea