By Sam Flynn
The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado is in our hearts and minds everywhere. The fact that somebody could poison such a pop culturally anticipated event as The Dark Knight Rises is cruel but the ultimate evil is the lives lost because some fucked-up psycho decided to grab his fifteen minutes.
This has been a heady topic. I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted by the amount of analysis. Hopefully some white male American asshole Congressmen can be caught blowing some prostitute and we can return to the “normal” inanity we call news. The truly frightening thing is the fear that spreads. What was different the day after this horrific event occurred? Nothing, other than the massive amount of fear and sadness that spread. It’s important to remember that evil is in the minority in this world. Truly evil people are hard to come by, thank god. We are warped by media to believe that evil lies around every corner and yes, there is always that potential every day. But there is a difference between accepting human evil and letting it control us. In the Information Age, every evil act is an act of terrorism.
The fact that people blame pop culture for “causing” or even the softer “inspiring” violence to me is silly. Any person who looks at film, like James Holmes supposedly did, or literature, as Mark David Chapman did, or TV is missing the point. They are using these expressions of art such as The Dark Knight and The Catcher in the Rye to justify their insane, evil actions. Anyone who commits violence in the “name” of insert-violent-game/music/film/book-here would have committed violence anyway. THEY were the ones to pull the trigger.
Now the counterargument to this is that the idea was seeded by the violence in pop culture. Ok, that makes a bit more sense than the argument above. However, if you think the amount of violence in our culture today is taboo, imagine how it must have been 100, 500, 1000 years ago? People have this complete fallacy that we live in the “worst times.” Are there things FUBAR in our world. Fuck yes, and that’s why I rant and rave on a weekly basis. But I would not rather live in any other time or in any other place in the world. For all the flaws and faults, do we really think we’ve gone backwards as a society since the Middle Ages? Do you really think we’re MORE violent than we ever have been? BULLSHIT.
You want to talk about violence being normal, just look at human history. Any person claiming our society is “depersonalized” or “desensitized” is out of their fucking mind. You think video games and metal music caused Columbine? Then I can only imagine what the Black Plague, Crusades, and feudal system to fuck with the minds of children back then. And yet, we were treated with peaceful philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and the development of Christian pacifism with the Protestant Reformation. The violence of the last 300 years since the Renaissance is the result of the next stage of human development and thinking. The American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, the feminist movement, the Civil Rights movement–all examples of progression to a more civil and equal playing field for all.
The most important takeaway for the future is that when death occurs in the world, it is our job as a people to breathe new life into the world. I take this very seriously as a writer and critic. To provide insight, to make others laugh, to entertain and make people feel good is the height of living for me. Who needs cocaine when there’s the high? There’s a lot left to work on in this world: the elimination of genderizing, the removal of racial stereotypes, the correction of “first versus right” news casting etc. That’s why we here at RASCAL and others try to fight the good fight.
One reader said he was promised more dick jokes in these columns. And I wholeheartedly agree. It’s time to put back the love and empathy that James Holmes tried to destroy. This is a cathartic moment. We all needed to take a minute to process the senseless violence. Why would anyone do this? But ultimately, it does not matter. As the brilliant philosopher Hannah Arendt posited, evil is banal. It’s the power of choice. My choice? Fuck this psycho. I’m not going to let this one shrimp-dick fuckup asshole control how I live. Ah, I feel better already.