Sunday, April 08, 2007

Who would Jesus Shoot?

I am moralizing today (sorry if you do not like that, but remember I have no job or pulpit presently from which to expound). So, you, dear readers, are subject to such whims of fancy from a particularly bothered DJ Word..

From Cynthia Tucker comes this wonderful quote on America's misguided love affair with firearms:
"This folly will continue, fueled by a perplexing cultural ethos that worships individual gun ownership. A century from now, anthropologists will look back and wonder what in the world this was all about. They'll sift through the ruins of the historical record, in much the same way anthropologists today puzzle over cannibalism and the sacrifice of virgins in long-dead civilizations. they'll wonder how a highly advanced and sophisticated culture allowed unchecked personal gun ownership, despite the carnage."
This article points out the increase in violent crime the past few years, especially gun related violence. The NRA has let us know that we would be foolish to think guns have anything to do with gun violence.

Of course, I am sure the increase since 2005 has nothing to do with daily images of Americans at war, dehumanization of our enemies, the approval of the destruction of those we disagree with and violent rhetoric from pundits and politicians (especially Cowboy Presidents)....

....coupled with entertainment bent on culturally conditioning us to accept any amount of blood and gore with no questions to our own sense of humanity loss. With television and film violence unparallelled in human history, whether it is the torture fantasies of 24 and The Sopranos or the gory spectacles of dismembered teenagers with large breasts and bulging biceps of sickening "entertainment" like Saw I, II and III and the films of talent waster supreme Quentin Tarantino or the bloody genius Mel Gibson, we are on the precipice inches from acceptance of snuff films and public death. Of course, I am sure first person shooter video games have had no affect upon millions of young adults and their love affair with violence.

Sure, I am sure I am just a prudish Nanny stater foolish enough to think these things are connected (well, besides the video games- I know the right wing hates those, as long as they are not War games or Left Behind killfests).

Sadly, just like divorce, dealing with poverty, plastic surgery and materialism Christian beliefs and behavior related to violence are no different from that of our non-Christian neighbors. How can we talk of a Prince of Peace when fighting for a Gun Culture, supporting the destruction of an entire race of people (Arabs) and justifying the embrace of extreme violence in entertainment because we are "'merican Christians?"

What will it take for Christians to embrace the teachings of Jesus and take our history seriously. Will it take violence against our own kind for us to see that violent culture is more damaging to a true "Culture of Life" -our Cowboy President's words- than those issues used by Dobson, The SBC and radio pundits to increase their coffers and attendance; knowing that speaking the truth on these issues would affect their bottom line and challenge their followers in a manner that would get less Amens and more people walking out because their toes are uncomfortable.

* I am sure many of us can try to justify the violence in anything we watch by stating something about the deeper meaning or that it really shows the impact of violence. While I believe this is true in many war films or westerns such as The Proposition and The Unforgiven, we cannot have it both ways with a shows like The Sopranos and 24 which no longer give viewers a lesson in morality concerning the consequences of the actions of the main characters, as they lose their humanity due to their actions (see Crimes and Misdemeanors or Matchpoint, both by Woody Allen, for such moral fables- or V for Vendetta, a violent film with a point).

When Jack Bauer kills innocent persons for the "greater good" he has lapsed into a new territory, like that of Tony Soprano when he strangles an enemy because of the opportunity in Season 1. At this point we can no longer say it is really about workplace politics. It is insulting to say such a thing.


BTW, I am not rooting for Tony Soprano to be murdered this year. I am hoping the creators have the guts to have him pay the consequences for his actions and rot in prison for the rest of his stinking life.

6 comments:

Pistol Pete said...

First, I appreciate the Wendell Berry reference in your header. This week I begin what I hope will be a weekly segment ("Wednesdays with Wendell" on my blog - "Necessary Therapy". As for who Jesus would shoot - Jesus wouldn't shoot to kill, but he might fire off a round above the heads of those of us who use the Church (a.k.a. "temple") to market ideology rather than call on the Lord in prayer.

james said...

Fantastic post man. Very well thought out, and has me thinking...a lot.

sushil yadav said...

Rick,

In response to your post on War, Violence, Consumerism, Television and Peace I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.


A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.


Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

FreeInfoSociety

ePhilosopher

sushil_yadav

Anonymous said...

Some really good thoughts, Rick. I haven't met or heard of Christians supporting the destruction of the entire Arab race? Am I missing something? (I'm saying this because I am somewhat skeptical of that statement) Michael of TN

Rick said...

Of course this is hyperbole, but Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have clearly stated that we should basically "kill em all in the name of god"

Ann Coulter said similar things.

I could be more specific and say Arab Muslims (or Muslims in general). I have heard some pretty heinous things regarding Muslims, Arabs and Iraqia from the mouths (and writing) of Christians.

I will look at the hyperbole and think about whether it is too strong.

thanks for still reading years later.

R

Anonymous said...

Just before I logged back on, I thought that perhaps I had read your post without my literary glasses on. I was right. Sorry for not using my brain properly.

Also, I've usually been pretty benign on the gun issue (haven't had a problem with gun ownership. I have never shot a gun, owned a gun or intend to do either). But lately, I'm starting to wonder what the point is. Do we really still need to raise a militia? It doesn't seem that way. Thanks for the clarification, although hindsight shows that it probably wasn't needed due to my lack of mental prowess. Michael of TN