Babes in Arms: The Film Blog-O-Sphere in the Wake of Tragedy
The Magic of the Movies
Do Movies Have an Effect on Psychology
Costumes Banned From Theaters (security reasons)
Metal detectors at the movies (security reasons again)
The Movie Theater as a Sacred Place, or Home
All these were topics covered today by most of the major film blogs. These are varied topics, not alike in theme or meaning but all worthwhile discussion points and relevant issues for the modern film fan (gun control is iffy depending on relevance to theme). If it were any other day, I would rejoice that the film blog-o-sphere has decided to grow up a little. Perhaps, for at least one day, they aren’t content with reporting news of sequels, prequels, and rebooted superhero origin stories. They want to talk about larger issues that relate to film culture and our culture as a whole. They want to talk about what we don’t talk about when we discuss movies. This is a good thing.
Of course this wasn’t a natural development, or an evolution of higher standards and maturity occurring in the minds of most film bloggers, but the result of a horrible occurrence of man’s inhumanity to man. The life and light of 12 human beings were lost forever to the cold hearted will and sub-human inclinations of a sole individual. The specifics of the incident are well known by now, relevant only to the community of the cinema literate due only to the proximity and nature of the event. Its seems that the world of “make believe” and the world of “real life” have collided with a sickening and heart-wrenching crash.
………how do we go on? Why did this happen? What were the motives. Where was God? What can we do to help?
None of these are questions being offered by your most popular film blogs, even as personal statements (aside from asking that thoughts be offered up…….but not prayers?). The sudden onslaught of mature and sincere film blogging was not the emergence of a new renaissance, but a scared, scatterbrained, and pitiful response representing in a unfortunate way the lack of maturity, compassion and bravery that these film bloggers posses. In the light of this tragedy they sought not to console but to push their own ill conceived and selfish agendas.
Katey Rich of cinemablend.com thought this would be a good time to stand up and defend artistic integrity and free speech: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Don-t-Let-Anyone-Blame-Dark-Knight-Rises-Colorado-Tragedy-32040.html
Roger Ebert thinks this tragedy is the perfect opportunity to discuss gun control. http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/07/the_body_count.html
Nordling of aintitcool.com thinks the slaughter of 12 and wounding of 50+ in a movie theater is the perfect opportunity to promote escapism by way of celluloid. Cause it’s magic……http://www.aintitcool.com/node/57163
Even the testimony of Christopher Nolan, the director of “The Dark Knight Rises”, is sanctimonious hogwash. He’s seems more sad about the “purity of the cinematic experience” being violated than the loss of life that occurred. Here is his statement (or veiled movie endorsement) courtesy of Entertainment Weekly: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/07/20/christopher-nolan-dark-knight-rises-shooting-statement/
All around the film blog-o-sphere you see fear. Not noble or sensible fear but cowardice. People are afraid to ask hard questions. They don’t want think about what really matters. All they want to do is forget and escape. They want to talk about the sanctity of the movie theater being violated, and how much of an inconvenience it will be going through metal detectors at the local AMC. They want to discuss not being able to wear costumes at the movies and how gun control is the real issue. They want to talk about everything but what really happened. They fool themselves by thinking there couldn’t possibly be a reason for such a thing to occur. As Katey Rich of cinemablend states:
“The thought process that goes behind an act like this is unknowable, and will probably remain so no matter how much we learn about the accused shooter James Holmes. But as the news cycle drones on and people want to know “why,” it’s irresistible to connect the gas-mask-wearing shooter with images from The Dark Knight Rises.But resist it. People have tried and failed for decades to claim that violence in the movies, or in video games, causes these kinds of senseless act, and it’s never stuck.”
Shouldn’t we ask why? Should we just be okay with senseless killing? Don’t we have a right, as free human beings, to question our culture and the content it produces? Should we be just be okay with a zero accountability policy in regards to art? Yes, we need to grieve, and console. However we must be allowed to search for answers to the evils of society. Everything is accountable, and that includes the art that a society produces. How can we say that a person can be persecuted but not the art that is the product of that person. We condemn the human but hold the human produced art in esteem as a morally ambiguous entity. How can we decry the power of the arts: of cinema, music, literature and painting, but deny its influence over mankind if only for reasons as ridiculous as political correctness. When we see the good of society, the good fruits of humanity we hold our art up as a centerpiece, but when the darkness of humanity rears its ugly head, we hide our art away and bury its so it cannot be blamed. We feign ignorance and say that the art we once called our defining centerpiece was all just harmless make believe and that the only wrong lies in the elusive unsearchable motives of the guilty individual. Maybe its time we started asking more of ourselves and what we allow ourselves to see. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing but why can’t you feel free to question what you do with that freedom. What have we been set free to?
Wake up people. Start asking the hard questions. We must be able to hold ourselves and everything about us (art included) accountable. Let us show compassion to the families of the lost. Let us grieve and pray and grieve and pray…..and then grieve and pray some more. Then as time passes let us not forget or seek to escape our problems, but challenge ourselves to look deeper into who we are, artistically, morally, politically and religiously for they are all related to our humanity. We should not do this selfishly with an agenda but humbly in a matter of fact nature, seeking to find out, through the investigation of our belief systems and cultural ideologies, what is both wrong and right with us.
God be with those who hurt…….