High Life

Parties and Massacres

December 28, 2012

Multiple Pages
Parties and Massacres

The horror at Newtown, Connecticut put a damper on the unending end-of-year parties. That includes my own Christmas blast at the Boom Boom Room in honor of Lindsay Lohan and some of the Big Bagel’s prettiest girls. At times I think I missed my vocation: Protector-Confessor of fallen women or those about to take the plunge. My only salvation lies in good old Helvetia, where the mother of my children will whip me back into shape in no time. No booze, no sex, just salads and mineral water. Ugh! Mind you, I’m not so sure about my marriage to Miss Lohan. Too many cops around her, and they make me nervous. My party began at 9PM and after eight hours it was still going. My bill was bigger than the Greek debt, and then some.

Ironically I had driven by Newtown a day before the massacre of innocent children on my way to Newport, Rhode Island to inspect a sailing boat up for sale that my father once owned. (The brave and extremely fast Nefertiti, built for the America’s Cup in 1962 by Ted Hood, back when racing boats were elegant and beautiful. Daddy never lost a race with her.)

“Once upon a time movies played on our dreams and deepest longings. They transformed, enlightened, and delighted us. Now they subvert and imprison us in a lower, violent world.”

One person dies every twenty minutes in America from gun wounds, and children in America are five times more likely to be murdered than in any other country of the industrialized world. What was a mother and housewife doing with five guns, especially with a weirdo of a son who probably spent his days watching violent video games and listening to rap music by people whose lyrics glamorize violence and glorify murder?

Yes, I’ve read all the stuff about guns, but no one is going to take them off the street—certainly not Obama, a man whose only talent lies in fooling all the people all of the time. Uncle Sam is the world’s greatest arms dealer, and the gun lobby is nearly as powerful as AIPAC. So whom are we kidding? Imagine if one of the slain teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a gun on her and had killed the scumbag nerd; perhaps she might have even gotten away with it. But we tend to criminalize the good and absolve the guilty.

Many American professional football and basketball players, a majority of them African Americans, own guns and have permits to carry them. There have been murders and accidents galore where famous athletes have been involved, but less than a handful have gone to jail. These are supposedly role models, so no wonder black tots get caught regularly bringing guns to school. Two weeks before the Newtown massacre, a black Kansas City Chiefs football star murdered the mother of his three-month-old daughter, then drove to a practice facility next to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of his coaches. Yet people tell me that America is the greatest country on Earth.

Which brings me to the Shylocks whose subliminal messages through violent videos and films help anesthetize us toward violence. Just as there is no doubt in my mind that hard porn can lead to rape, I believe that watching violence in video games and films can make the viewer immune to the horror of shooting a fellow human in the face—like the Newtown nerd did his mother. I would love a rigidly enforced production code such as the one during the 1930s and 40s. Not so much about sex, but certainly about violence, which has become like fast food—totally normal in American and British films. The 1941 Best Actor award went to Gary Cooper for his morale-boosting performance as the deeply religious Tennessee mountain farmer and World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York in Howard Hawks’s patriotic film Sergeant York. Can you imagine anyone today (besides Mel Gibson) making a movie about a deeply religious backwoods farmer who wouldn’t fight on Sunday but captured hundreds of Germans after killing tens of them as they shot at him from their machine-gun nests?

The greedy types who produce video and film violence have utter disregard for our kids and communities. They pretend to see no connection between what they produce and the behavior it produces. Who could impose a new production code that would stop the gratuitous violence on screen? The only one I can think of is a half-African-American residing in the White House, but don’t hold your breath. Obama is a decent man who obviously wants the best for us but is smart enough not to go against the untalented Hollywood sharks who know that violence pays and extreme violence pays even better.

Once upon a time movies played on our dreams and deepest longings. They transformed, enlightened, and delighted us. Now they subvert and imprison us in a lower, violent world. It’s time we took violence off our screens. Even my fiancée Lindsay thinks so. Happy New Year!


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