Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Violence and Tragedy with a Different View

Because of the real-life devastation that tornados caused in Oklahoma yesterday, CBS decided to postpone the finale of the sitcom “Mike & Molly,” which dealt with a tornado hitting Chicago.

Following the mass shootings in a premiere showing in Aurora, Warner Bros., the distributor of the violent movie “The Dark Knight Rises," canceled gala premieres in Paris, Mexico and Japan, and some television advertisements. The company instructed cinemas to stop showing a trailer for a film “Gangster Squad” which preceded “The Dark Knight Rises” screenings in some cities because it contained a scene involving the main characters shooting at a movie theater audience with machine guns.

Why are disastrous and violent events entertaining to so much of the American public, when if they happen in real life, we think of them as tragic? Have we separated ourselves into different groups on hierarchies to such an extent that as long as tragedy and violence is happening to someone else, we don’t feel their pain, and enjoy watching them suffer and/or die?

What if we, for a week, imagined that every violent and unkind act we see on TV or in the movies were happening to us or to our sister, brother, mother, father, son, daughter, partner, friend. Would we find it entertaining to watch such pain and suffering by ourselves or someone we love? Would that exercise help us to overcome the divides that hierarchies have caused, and instead, build the community that our country craves?