Travis Laurence Naught looks at violence in our country; how it starts at a young age and permeates every aspect of our culture.
My 19-month-old nephew is loose on the playground for less than forty seconds before sauntering over to a little girl standing by the crawl tunnel and shoving her to the ground with both hands. It’s not nice. His 24-months-older big sister outweighs him by nearly twenty pounds and she is brought to tears multiple times per week after he physically extracts whatever she is holding and takes it for himself. It’s just not nice. And what exactly should be done about it? Whack him? Sit him in a timeout? Make him apologize and explain to him, “That’s a no-no,” in as stern a voice as possible? Really, it’s a pretty mundane punishment.
I just told a spider it was going to die. Brown, skinny, on the wall in front of my computer. Mom was outside with the kids. She is my muscle in many scenarios, especially surrounding completion of threats against bugs. Skype gladly helped me complete the call and less than two minutes after judging the arachnid as guilty, I am unapologetically gloating about watching its sentence carried out in front of me. Who knew that a Kleenex could be used for trans-species murder? Lots of people know that, of course.
During televised sports, where individuals frequently throw, collide, punch, and dislodge each other while exacting the highest levels of skill on whatever playing surface happens to be in question, there are commercials for even more heinous person-on-person “entertainment.” Superheroes may be charismatic characters who parade around for the betterment of humankind, but those parades show all of the little kids lining up to watch them that the spoils go to the ones most adept at asserting their wills over the “bad guys.” “Bad” because they are the losers, surely.
And then there are the movies that don’t even try to build a moral code into their makeup. Straight from the point of view of a person with two fists, an arsenal made for an army at their disposal, and a plethora of nameless foes to dispatch that just keep fucking coming, Hardcore Henry reminded me of Doom while watching the previews. I’d tell you how the whole thing made me feel, but I’m not quite sadistic enough to pay $12 to see that one on the big screen. Maybe if I thought there was a good chance some sex would have gotten thrown in for good measure?
Speaking of Doom, how about all those video games from our youth? That is sort of a tongue-in-cheek joke, because I can barely come up with the names of ten people over the age of 50 who don’t play video games of some sort today. Grandpa was showing me his flight simulator a couple of months ago. So realistic when whatever RC model he chose to practice with would crash and shatter all over the false runway he selected to take off from. There were wheels and rubber bands and antennas tumbling all over the computer screen. Oh, the humanity!
I can just imagine a joke made by one of the old guys he would be playing with his actual RC planes with at the local airstrip. “Been flying long?” That would lead to some huffed up assertion that, “At least I’m still able to get my wheels off the ground,” before the two talkers ended up toe-to-toe. Friends have been caressing each other’s cheeks with their knuckles throughout history. Why should a couple of guys on a beautiful day in the country be any different than the rest of them?