Thursday, February 25, 2010

no thanks

I read "Mudbound" and it was good but I didn't like the violence.  There wasn't much but I got the feeling that it was to be an integral part of the work from the start. 

I was enjoying "Last Car to the Elysian Fields" until the white guards decided they were forced to cause extra pain and damage to a prisoner.

I have been enjoying episodes of "NCIS" and similar stories but their whole point is the danger of physical violence from killers and bad guys.

I know there can be good stories that do not depend on violence.  I realize that it is an integral part of all animal life, human and otherwise.  But in my own day-to-day life, I am not slicing throats, breaking arms or shooting bullets into bodies.  I know for certain that aging, disease, emotions from apathy to envy to sadness and ennui figure much more largely in my life and most lives than does violence.  I know that money and taxes and savings and deterioration of roofs matter more in my thinking and that of my family and friends than gunfire.  

I believe there are people in this country and others for whom violence and gunfire are personal or professional or both but I get tired of the heavy focus on that stuff in books, movies and tv.  

I have a friend who avoids fiction because the strong emotions it tends to raise feel like artificial manipulation of the reader's mind.  I don't mind some emotion but I am drawing the line more and more strongly at violence, especially torture or deliberate pain inflicted on others for the sake of the pain.  I don't think it is enriching or helpful.  Some Buddhists and others emphasize the importance of being as careful of where you put your attention and what you feed your senses and mind as you are to have good food and not poison.  I am feeling that way about carefully and realistically depicted violence in words or images.

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