Monday, May 7, 2012

Hungry for Violence #2

A few years ago, David and I decided to watch some movie classics. We're not much for old movies, but we thought Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers would be a good place to start. We watched two before we ended that pursuit. Boring.

We've come a long way, haven't we? As our culture becomes more jaded, more easily bored, moviemakers have had to step up their game to keep pace. Implied violence has become just plain violence. Implied sex and nudity are no longer implied. The western culture has developed an appetite for blood and perversion. Why? I think it's because it makes them feel more alive, more real.

I've just finished reading Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games trilogy. I found it more violent than the first. Written images don't normally affect me, but I find myself still repulsed by a passage describing the taste of blood and sea water produced by the slit throat of one of Katniss's friends. And it makes me sad that this book series is targeted at middle and early high school children.

Although I will not forbid it, I will discourage my own 13-year-old son from reading the series. Many of his friends have already read it, though, and seem unaffected. Is that a good or a bad thing?

Well, Marcia, I don't know if it's good or bad. I think it is sad. The trend toward bloodlust is disturbing. It says all sorts of things about us. It also may be linked to what is going on in our hearts. I have a young friend who was feeling numbed by everything around her; she was afraid because she could not feel. So she began cutting herself when she heard that this helped you feel. I'm sad to say I had not even heard of this phenomenon before, and she shared the path she was trying to take back to "normal."

As humans we are intrigued by the painful destruction of our bodies. Why? And the more we observe it, the more jaded we become. Animals don't do this. They don't torture victims; they don't have a sadistic streak. Why do we? 

Personally, I think this perversion, as you termed it, is proof that we are not on an evolutionary scale. We are not merely superior animals. We are something different altogether. Something made in God's image. God has a fallen creature who has set himself up as God's enemy. One very effective way for this enemy to "get at" God is to undermine the divine in our make-up. If we become wrapped up in the violent mutilation of God's gift to us: our bodies in-breathed with His breath, we fail to see Him and our purpose.

I have bewailed the voyeuristic thrill-seekers who exploit this crookedness in us. We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight in a world which delights in bentness and hypes crookedness. Can we see a malevolent agenda here which we should be fighting? 

Marcia, am I over-spiritualizing?

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