Why So Sensitive?

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Aside from the obvious; namely that in the wake of such tragedies, the last people likely to be watching TV or going to the movies are the people involved; one imagines they’ve got more pressing concerns and that throwaway entertainment is the last thing on their minds; these knee jerk responses demonstrate a noxious combination of offensive stupidity and extraordinary arrogance on the behalf of those that force them through. Does Warner Bros. honestly believe that Aurora makes that Gangster Squad scene any more problematic than it would have been otherwise? Before Aurora, the scene existed in the context of a nation where thousands of people each year are murdered in gun violence, on account of the US’s institutionally enshrined attachment to lethal weapons. People are killed, raped, kidnapped and brutalised every day, yet a single death, quite rightly, doesn’t result in a media blackout.

Based on the half-baked logic that’s led to Gangster Squad being vandalised, perhaps a blackout is a morally defensible solution. We musn’t take the chance that the heartbroken relatives of victims may stumble across a depiction of a crime, similar to that which claimed their loved one, on TV, on film or in novel form. Yet in the real world of course, no such blackout occurs. It’s only when one death becomes several that it’s deemed to be important; that the permeable membrane that surrounds an audience, providing the illusion of security, is thought to have been compromised.

Of course the truth is that for most people, such tragedies are, and shall ever remain, in the abstract, and thank God, else no bastard would ever leave their home. To alter a single frame of a movie (won’t the final act of Inglourious Basterds have to be excised in its entirety now?) for the benefit of these people, is patently absurd. Yet we do so. Presumably, this is because the myth makers fear righteous anger; that temporary spasm of fear that accompanies each incident. Though it makes every complainant a hypocrite of the worst kind, no man wants their dark and violent fantasies reflected back to them when real life comes knocking. Such people should think harder about their tastes, and themselves, not the gatekeepers of their entertainment. Moreover, they should never be humoured in these moments of insecurity. To do so gives James Holmes and another anomic deadheads final cut on our movies and TV shows. What could be a greater insult to those that died than that?

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One Response

  1. Jones says:

    Well said. Isn’t it odd how the initial move is to censor anything that reminds us of the tragedy, but in a year or so you can guarantee there will be docu-dramas created for TV that will re-enact the entire event as accurately, and from as many angles, as possible. Sensitivity is a powerful, yet fickle thing.