So, Mark asked for a new post and I think I’d have to agree that it’s been too long. Most of the time I don’t put posts here because I’m too busy, especially because I have other outlets as well. But sometimes it’s because I either haven’t seen anything worth commenting or I’ve seen something that would take too long to comment. Well, like Goldilocks, I’ve found something perfect on which to comment, which means you get a post.
I found this over at Dancing on Collette’s Grave. I’m sure she’s going to be kind of pissed that I didn’t comment on it there, but I thought it would make for good conversation here. So, please go read this before reviewing my comments on it below.
To me, there are two very important factors about this blog post. 1) The personalization of the main character and 2) the incident that the writer considers the most scary thing he/she has ever seen. Right now you’re thinking, “I read the fucking post, are you going to regurgitate it back to me?” No, I’m not. Here are my opinions about both factors. And, remember, I didn’t see the film.
I think the personalization was a brilliant move in the rewrite of the film. I think that in many ways, the average American blindly watches horror films thinking that it’s no big deal and that it doesn’t affect them on an emotional level, when most likely it does to some extent. When you make a character a person, the viewer has to check in with themselves and figure out their judgment of that person. Then, the actions of that character are based on that judgment. This is actually why in hostage situations they try to give as much personal information about the victim as possible so that the captor has to view them differently and internalize their own judgments and actions. This is the reverse of that, to some extent. Theoretically, if many viewers thought about the movie the way the author of the post did, I would consider it a moral success. I realize that sounds odd, but I believe that Americans are hideously desensitized to real threats. Therefore, a heightened awareness is NOT a bad thing. However, I am talking about Americans, and as such, I believe most saw this film similarly as they’ve seen all of them…without a care about the violence or its underlying affects on their minds and bodies.
I’ve talked about sex on this blog many times and particularly sex education. I believe that we have taken the emotions out of sex education. Sex education, as it is taught now, is about physiology & biology, which is great…that’s a big component. But why we have sex in the first place is our emotions. If you want to get picky, it’s about hormones more than anything, which is biology. But everyone is crazy to believe that sex doesn’t affect us emotionally more than anything else. I know this sounds like a digression, but it’s not. I feel the same about violence. Violence should evoke some pretty heavy emotions in all of us. For instance…did anyone watch the Paul Johnson beheading? Did you think you were going to be able to watch it and couldn’t? Did you start watching it and had to stop? Did you make it through the video thinking you never should have watched it? Those are all healthy experiences because it evoked an emotional response that was appropriate for the act. Sure, we all know that that movies are fiction. But does that mean they shouldn’t evoke emotional responses? No. Absolutely not. Most people should be appalled by at least parts of horror movies because they exemplify something in life that is unacceptable. But, as long as we don’t see it for real, it’s all just so Hollywood. I hate to tell you all, but this happens every day in our culture many times over. These fucked up people roam the earth more now than ever. But go ahead, pretend…DESENSITIZATION.
Okay, so that leads me into the really scary aspect…the kids in the movie theater. What in the hell were those parents thinking? Listen, I know what it’s like not to have a babysitter available at all times. I get it. We all need personal time. But, just because our minds are desensitized to the horror on screen, doesn’t mean your offspring is. Furthermore, children learn by watching and mimicking. Do we really want our kids behaving like those on screen? I would hope that the answer for every parent is a resounding, “NO!” So, yes, I think it is really scary as well that children were allowed to view any part of that film. It’s not for little eyes. It’s not for little sponges that are constantly learning. The film does not portray behavior that is acceptable in society so it should not be something that children are taken to and led to believe that it’s just make believe. Art imitates life and this is one part that kids don’t need to know about until their emotions are mature enough. If you don’t trust me on this, bring your kids to all of the scary movies out there and lets see what they end up like 10 years down the line. Of course, I can’t set that up as an experiment because it’s unethical (and that alone should tell you something), but you can unofficially do it as their parents. I’ll save the padded room for them.