Warning: Rambling to follow. Insane amounts of rambling.
Part One: VT
You guys may have heard that there was a school shooting at Virgina Tech. It was in all the papers. In fact, there were a few intelligently written articles on this very site about the event and the subsequent bullshit in regards to media influence and how something like Oldboy could inspire someone to hold a hammer near their head in a photograph and crazy stuff like that. You know, because the kid had shown NO signs of being fucked in the head leading up to his massacre.
Oh, and quick note to all of CHUD.com's many college readers: FIGHT BACK PLEASE. Just assume that someone in your hallways killing people isn't going to find God in the middle of it. Charge that fucker. Throw anything and everything at them. Lower the innocent's body count. Kill that fucker.
Anyhow... yeah Oldboy is really dangerous.
Yet no one discusses what kind of effect Delta Farce has on the public conscience. What carries more long term potential to damage the country, one guy who loses it or thousands of newly minted redneck comedy fans? Hearing the radio spots for that film I'm reminded of the guys in my circa 1988 rural high school and the guys who literally killed animals for fun and called black students "nigger" to their faces without fear of repercussion. I have no doubts they went and pre-ordered their Delta Farce tickets this week, eschewing Spider-Man 3 because no one in their right mind would willingly go black, especially an American hero.
Can I say something ignorant? I have to admit that it was good to see a face that wasn't brown and turban clad as Public Enemy #1 if but for a moment. I wish he hadn't killed himself, but rather been treated to daily beatings and reminders of the damage he did but this thing does more than give people an excuse to hold a vigil. A reminder. Maybe allowing Mexicans over the border isn't the worst thing in the world. Maybe shooting at ghosts on a desert across the globe isn't the most important thing in the world. Seems we got our share of problems to address here. No way that little fucker should have been able to get as far as he did. Enough ignorance for now. This isn't about all that. It's just setting the scene.
Part Two: Wake Up Call/Watery Grave
I recently had the great privilege of seeing the behind-the-scenes operations of the Georgia Aquarium, touring the many places that the general public doesn't get to see, amazing places all. There are places right out of Goldfinger down there, long corridors of giant containers of ozone and bubbly shit, and I was really surprised that the villainous spy from the Red October didn't pop out from behind a cylinder with a ruger. One of the things we discussed was post-Katrina precautions to prevent another animal holocaust like the one that happened in the New Orleans aquarium. I was astounded about how little I knew about that situation, one where ultimately a lack of fuel led to thousands upon thousands of animal residents of the aquarium being handed their own demise.
This is not about the Katrina losses of human life. It's a no-brainer how fucked that situation was and how poorly our government handled it. If only the Cajuns made oil as well as gumbo...
The loss of animal life was colossal after the hurricane, and I think there's a certain responsibility we as humans take on when owning animals or creating habitats/zoos/aquariums for them. They're not to be treated lightly and from what I understand there were some heroic members of the New Orleans facility that stayed well after everyone else in an effort to save the animals. They did all they could just as I hope the folks in South Georgia are right now in the madness of this wildfire. So much damage, and I cannot imagine how much the ecosystem is going to hampered by it.
Part Three: Onscreen Animalities
So we see all this effort by parent groups and religious groups in order to stymie the onscreen violence, or at least censor it but aside from the people who want animals treated fairly are there any organizations out there to keep films from portraying violence unto animals as possibly damaging to the psyche? I'm not asking for such a firm to be created. Most watchdog organizations are at best assholes and at worst a sad mixture of Orwellian oppressor and Jehovah's Witness. It's recorded fact that animal cruelty is a step many serial killers take on their way to hunting humans, yet it seems like animals are often used as a quick source of visual humor from the Three Kings exploding cows to a horrendous Major League Baseball commercial where a man slams dead fish to smithereens while imagining he's playing ball.
It's a real fine line between being funny and being reckless and after watching The Hitcher (2007) yesterday I was more than a little pissed to have the first scene in the film be of a jackrabbit hopping politely onto the street only to get smashed to pieces for a cheap jump scare. While I certainly don't like all-out efforts to NOT injure a furry friend like Independence Day's horrendous explosion dodging dog, it seems hypocritical to raise a stink about films where human life is treated with disregard and not hold our voiceless overrun animal friends to a similar standard.
I mean, The Ring is made a better film because of the incredible horse damage inflicted but no one really is going to get their wires crossed about that. We just don't run into situations where waterlogged goth chicks cause horseicide. Nor do enraged student vivisect a beats of burden as if Tarsem himself were nipping at his heels. One of the things so great about Showtime's brilliant Dexter is how it dances on both sides of the sick world of murder, telling us what makes a person do those things but also have the common decency to use ample amounts of humor in a way that doesn't cheapen the proceedings.
Exploding dog in The Thing. Aces. Exploding rabbit in The Hitcher. Bad form.
Sure I'm a sap. I don't kill ants, let alone squirrels or people. I'm the asshole who drove a Brown Recluse Spider to the woods and freed it rather than sending it to Shiva. I just think we've got enough double standards going, might be nice to spread the goodwill and efforts to make the world a better place, unwelcome as it is.
Thanks for letting me ramble.
Discussion thread for The Steady Leak.