Tag Archives: culture

Violence (draft)

3 Mar

Violent fantasies for me, including but not limited to those entertained through film and video games and fiction in general, are a very self-consciously morbid thing. I want to feel bad for watching or engaging in violence on the screen; I want it to make me feel uncomfortable, and I want to have nightmares about it. To witness or experience true violence against myself or those close to me is one of my absolute worst fears in real life; and yet I believe that violence is also an unavoidable force of nature, and therefore as intrinsic to human existence and history as any other behavior we’ve inherited from the natural world; and I realize that I have the capacity in me to enact and to lust for violence, as a human being and as a man, and that’s in a way as frightening as the thought of having violence enacted upon me.

So for all of these reasons and all of these intense and conflicting ideas and emotions I have surrounding the topic, violence is a subject of deep fascination to me, both the way in which it occurs in reality and the way in which we relate to it through art and media. The artistic portrayals of violence in media that enthrall me the most are those in which I find a sort of purging effect; by passing myself, via projection, through the cleansing fire of intensity associated with the violent interaction of two bodies, the willful infliction of pain or mutilation or the ending of the life of one human being by another in the pursuit of desire or rational self-interest… through this experience, I feel burned and cleansed, and my perspective of the world surrounding me is sobered.

I make my uneasy peace with the savagery of natural order in a violent universe through the ritual of fantasy.

Americans

22 Aug

You know, the more I consider it the more I think that the great and terrible thing about the American cultural ethos is the way in which its subjects are constantly enflamed with the desire for “more”. On the one hand, more power, more wealth, more pleasure; on the other, more freedom, more opportunity, more equality. Both sides of the coin engender a warlike mindset, a life of constant striving doomed never to live up to an imagined ideal; yet both produce world-changing developments. Americans never doubt for a second that simply by being alive, simply by being human, they are entitled to the best the world has to offer. It’s what makes them lead lives of perpetual alienation, anxiety and rage, yet at the same time what imbues them with the iron will to realize ambitions. Would that the ambitious capitalists and snarling social critics might realize they are fruit of the same spiritual tree; and that both in tandem make America the greatest – not the most good, perhaps, but the greatest – nation on Earth.