Martha Thomases: The Smartest Catharsis
I don’t know about you guys, but catharsis is kind of my jam. I seek out entertainment that expresses my dark and violent emotions so that I won’t act on them in dark and violent ways.
And these past few weeks have been rough. The terrorism in Paris, the terrorism in Colorado, the police terrorism in Chicago, all arouse in me a feeling of despair and helplessness.
I need violent media.
Not more violence, just choreographed fights, fake blood, and the massive destruction of props. I like to watch stuff get blowed up real good. Imagining the destruction of my enemies, or even just the assholes who wear backpacks in crowded subways, makes me feel better.
All without hurting anyone.
In decades past, there were arguments that excessive exposure to violent media dulled the audience, making them indifferent to the pain caused by real-life violence. It’s entirely likely that those who are mentally ill would have such an unhealthy reaction. I mean, mentally ill people can have unhealthy reactions to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Adults, however, who are not mentally ill can use entertainment to engage their emotions in imaginary battles to the death against those who must upset us. Even the Bible will work, especially if you enjoy a deity who drowns everybody (including animals) for no good reason.
I think we should find a way for more people to enjoy imaginary violence, instead of the real thing. There is far too much of that in present-day America. If I might quote: “More than once a day on average this year, mass shootings have destroyed lives and families. President Obama on Saturday said this endless ritual of murder is “not normal,” but that is precisely the problem: In America, it has become all too normal.”
Wouldn’t it be great if the new normal was to simply go to the mall and see a movie? Isn’t that better than all of us getting a gun?
(Or at least, some of us.)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, reading quotes from the GOP presidential candidates defending the Colorado terrorist is making me need to read Bitch Planet.