I’m feeling slightly schizophrenic lately, you guys, and I feel like I need a little perspective on the situation (really, what I want is for you to tell me that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me, but I’ll take what I can get).
Those of you who know me know that I am a very gentle, kind, and compassionate person. I do not abuse my power to make people bend to my will. I don’t throw tantrums at store clerks (I don’t throw tantrums anywhere, really). I don’t yell at people (with the possible exception of my daughters, but only if they REALLY push me). I don’t throw things. I don’t hit, kick, pinch, bite, slap, or punch; ever. I’m trying to get along in this world gently, and I’m in it to make my environment, and the people in it, as settled and serene as possible.
Now, knowing that, can you explain why it is that my favorite forms of entertainment involve copious amounts of swearing, guns, and violence?
Seriously – I just started watching Sons of Anarchy, and I’m hooked after the first episode. Some of the characters are downright despicable; they are engaged in entirely illegal and violent endeavors, they run guns, they regularly lie, cheat, and intimidate (each other and their competition), they have no sense of familial kindness, and they use fists (or worse) to settle their differences (the main character, when he discovered who was selling junk to his pregnant ex-wife, beat the shit out of the guy in a pool hall and didn’t leave until he’d driven a pool cue through the guy’s testicles).
And me? I have no problem with any of it. In fact, I’m looking forward to the next episode.
I’m deeply conflicted about this. As a peace-loving, lefty humanist, should I not shun and vilify these types of t.v. shows and movies? Should I be shocked and disgusted by the gratuitous violence and glorification of anarchy (hell, it’s even in the title of the show in question)? Does my watching these types of shows (and movies) simply perpetuate their production (part of me is saying “I certainly hope so!”). Am I sending a message to the culture that I approve of these ways of living by supporting them with my entertainment time and dollars?
Here’s the thing – and O’Mama, I want you to clarify what you said this morning as we talked about this – I am an intelligent, thinking woman. I KNOW that what I’m seeing on my t.v. and movie screens is produced for entertainment. Are there people who really live like the characters on the show? Certainly; I’ve even known a few people in real life who would fit right in as a character on some of these programs. My point, though, is that this is NOT REAL. The guy with the pool cue through his nuts probably went home that night and made satisfying love to his wife. They guy who died an agonizingly slow death on the pavement, crawling for his gun, hopped up after the director yelled “cut” and probably had himself a donut. The junkie in the hospital bed kicked the covers off, wiped the fake bruises off of her face and untaped the tubes from her forearms before she went home to her family. Hell, even the guys in the boxing scene walked away from the day’s work unscathed (unless one of them missed his blocking assignment).
I am still trying to circle around what it is that makes me love car chases and tough guys and guns so much. Escapism, perhaps? Some repressed desire to be that powerful and confident and unencumbered by moral uncertainty? I don’t know. I do know, however, that my love of violent action-adventure tales often gives me pause, and I keep coming back to this self-investigation to make sure that I’ve not lost some necessary tether to my moral center.
So, what do you think? Am I really a closet tough-gal, or do I just have a very keen sense of imagination?