We are a culture defined by violence. Violence is the new black. Everybody is drinking the kool-aid. Pop culture is a big contributor to keeping violence fresh on our minds. We are an uber-competitive bunch with an Atlas Shrugged mentality. We need to get ahead no matter what the cost. We are a people who have become so desensitized to violence, that we consume it willingly, and are in fact satiated by it.
We play ultra-realistic video games depicting murder, rape, armed robbery, car-jackings, and senseless random acts of violence. You can mow down a crowded sidewalk packed with civilians, get out of your car, shoot any thing that moves, and watch the blood spill out of their still warm bodies onto the virtual asphalt. These are the games we play to blow off steam. That’s what alarms me. The attention to detail, all the way down to the way the blood pours out of a victim’s body. That is seriously disturbing, no matter how you look at it.
Video games aren’t the only culprit. Have you seen The Walking Dead or The Following? Both of those shows take it to a sick and twisted level. Americans obsess over their sports as well. The players keep getting bigger, the hits keep getting harder, the concussions are more frequent. We react with anger when “our” team loses. Men and women scream at the top of their lungs as if they were on the field themselves and the players could hear them. The level of passion displayed for the local sports franchise is borderline psychotic at times.
The thing is, this culture, it is what it is because we made it that way, and it stays that way because that is how we choose to keep it. It isn’t going anywhere. I think that most of us realize this and we just subconciously choose to follow the herd and go with the flow. Life is too short to waste time trying to fix the violence in the world perpetrated upon us by the powers that be right?I’m not perfect here. I watch all those shows, I root for my local sports teams and I don’t turn my head when a good boxing match or violent movie happens to be on a screen in front of me.
I just fear that we are getting progressively worse and that eventually it is all going to blow up in our face. It seems as if that is what is happening in our world right now. Mass killings are prominent in the news. Crazy stories about the people who basically lost their minds and took it out on an unsuspecting public seem to be a trend, the news media updates the body count on Twitter.So I look at this picture, and it incites me to write how I feel about America’s violent culture.
As I write this, the droning sound of a mechanical fan or something similar to that is coming through the wall of the apartment adjacent to me. Beneath the overpowering drone, I can discern the sounds of an unknown number of other noises that are not related to nature in any way. The coal is burning, and I am using it to type these words into this computer, to chill my refreshing beverage, and to turn on my electric box to get my fix of violence and misery for the evening. So not only am I damaging my psyche by subjecting it to constant moving images of violence, death, and destruction; I am also contributing my fair share of posion into the atmosphere.
So these children in this image, I don’t know anything about them. It’s just something about that girl in the stroller. That look she has, like her brain is a sponge and she is soaking it all in. I think of myself at that age, and the images of violence that I was subjected to as a child. I look at her and I realize that this is a problem that is so deeply rooted within our society that we just might be beyond the point of no return.
I feel guilty inside because I KNOW that I am a part of the problem. I’m not supposed to notice that though, that isn’t what THEY want. They want me to forget about it and just consume. They beat my conscience out of me by providing a non stop flow of sounds and images for me to contemplate. I guess I am a slow learner, it took me until I was almost 40 years old to realize that I was wasting a lot of time and energy on things like watching football and reality shows.
I’m truly disgusted with myself and completely frustrated at the thought of what it will take to change the world. We can only hope to spread good, and hope that it catches on like a zombie virus. Why can’t the world be infected with love and affection instead of rage? Why do we focus so much on the negative, violent aspects of our human nature? Why do we find it all so entertaining? Is there really any hope for us? If I can’t answer these questions for myself, how am I supposed to explain it to my kid?