Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recanting

(photo from hngn.com)
In our house, we generally watch television shows that Dave has previously set the DVR box to record. Seldom do we watch much, including the news, live.

Last night we watched Monday’s premiere of a new show called Gotham commercial-free because we could zip past them. I engaged with one of my favorite friends via Facebook, discussing it as we watched. She’d already seen it.

Caught up in the creativity of the writers, and the planting of characters and future story lines that most superhero geeks would find intriguing, I was enamored with the idea of the show. As one blatantly violent scene after another was touted before my eyes, I cringed and gasped at the blood, but tried to “get past it” to see the rest of what promised to be a great show. The filming was dark, which neither Dave nor I are fans of, but, that’s Gotham, a dark place.

But, enough is enough. And it was too much. Upon reflection throughout my mostly sleepless night (not necessarily because of the show), and revisiting several brutal scenes, I’ve decided that though I’d love to watch the creation of this enterprise called Gotham, I can’t endure and deem the horrific violence to be acceptable. In at least two of those scenes, innocent people were graphically killed right in front of us, the first in front of their child in the opening of the show; the last was the closing scene.

Yes, it is part of the storyline that Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed this way, but do viewers need to see it? Not this viewer. And yes, to appreciate the heroism that will rise in Detective, one day to be, Commissioner Gordon, we need to know what he’s overcoming in the dying metropolis. But, I don’t need such an in-my-face, ruthless, violent, apathetic display of brutality.

There have been many television shows that Dave watched where I had to leave the room. Call me a baby, but I don’t need those images in my head. The more we view this and tell our brain that it’s acceptable because it’s part of something good, the more desensitized we become to violence in general.

I remember my brain trying to break through how surreal it felt to watch the second of the twin towers erupt into flames as the second plane hit its target in New York in the infamous acts of 9/11. This was live TV. This was history in the making, yet it felt like a movie. It felt unreal. It felt unacceptable. It felt outrageous. It somehow became personal – and crippling. We all connected with the victims on a personal level that shook our nation.

That’s one of the things that can draw us into the shows we enjoy, a personal connection. It’s what makes comedians funny to us; relating to their jokes.

I realize that evil is part of our world. Children in war-torn, third world countries grow up in a reality that few of us have ever known, nor can appreciate; thank God. I know hatred and killing and tormenting and viciousness are around me. But won’t seeing it with my own eyes plant fear in me? Won’t those images become scars in my brain? I’ve endured scenes in movies that will haunt me forever, just so I could see “the bad guy get it in the end.” How stupid was that?

I don’t want to be na├»ve, but I don’t plan on watching these atrocities when I don’t have to. If watching this stuff spurred us on to do something about it, then bravo. But, in general, it does not. More and more of us become part of the problems, shunning and dodging the responsibilities of being part of the solutions.

I get it; fiction and fantasy have their place. It’s not the first superhero show to take it to this extreme. But, I for one don’t find this display of violence acceptable or necessary. But, it’s realistic, Helen! Yes, a bit too realistic in many cases. Just because violence like this happens doesn’t mean I want to watch it from my bed or my living room. As much as I want to see this universe of the Batman dimension unfold, I can’t.

And let this serve as a warning to the parents who would let their children watch this show, simply because it’s a “Batman show” – watch it first and then decide.


(I hesitated to put a scripture verse on this blog post. I don’t want to come across as holier-than-thou; this blog post is merely my own personal conviction and viewpoint.)

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