Monday, August 18, 2008


I was flicking through the TV last night and found myself watching ‘Men in Black’.

There’s a very good line in that movie.

Will Smith’s character, having just had the revelation that aliens are indeed real, asks Tommy-Lee Jones why it’s all kept under wraps.

“People are smart.” He said. “They can handle it.”

“No.” Replies K. “A person is smart, but people are dumb, panicky idiots who lose their minds for no reason.”

Ok, I know Men in Black is a throwaway, summer-time ‘chewing gum for the eyes’ movie…but that line is just about the perfect summation of the state of the human race right now.

You see, I’m not surprised that there are people out there willing to take advantage of just about anything in order to get attention. As regular readers know, I’ve written a lot about the bullshit moral panics created around video-games, movies, comic-books, rap music and any number of things. I mean, back in the 1700’s people were shouting about how disgusting and overtly sexual the waltz was.

No, what surprises me is how many people are actually willing to believe that shit.

I mean, we’re not exactly helped by the media. Fear and sensationalism sells, which is why you can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper without seeing headlines like “The Foods That Are Killing You”, “The New Craze Putting Your Children At Risk”, “Medical Incompetence : Is Your Doctor an Accident Waiting to Happen?” etc, etc.

The thing is, if we were to believe everything we’re told, we wouldn’t eat or drink anything, go anywhere, do anything or buy anything.

I mean, you can’t listen to music because it’ll turn you into a mindless killer. You can’t play a computer game for the same reason. Irresponsible farmers are poisoning all our food by genetically modifying their crops or spraying pesticides. You can’t read books, because they teach kids witchcraft and devil-worship. If you play Dungeons and Dragons you might as well be sacrificing virgins, TV is lowering our IQ, letting your kids near a computer is tantamount to dropping them at a pedophile’s house with a bow around their neck…and if we drive anywhere, we’re killing the planet.

Not only that, thanks to sensationalist media and reactionary assholes, we pick our leaders based on what God they worship, what they think of gay people, whether or not they smoked some weed once at college…but somehow managing to completely forget to check whether they’re actually qualified to lead.

Speaking of politicians, have you ever noticed that, in real life, someone who changes their opinion based on new evidence is intelligent and thoughtful, whereas in politics this same trait is seen as a bad thing? In politics, sticking to your opinions no matter what makes you a ‘strong leader’, and changing your mind makes you a spineless flip-flopper.

What honestly pisses me off about all of this is that we might as well be wearing shirts that say “We Are Idiots : Please Control Every Aspect of My Life.”

Think about it, people see something they don’t like and start campaigning to have it banned. You know what I do if there’s a TV show or book I find offensive? I don’t watch or read it.

I mean, when did we arrive at the decision that parenting is the government’s responsibility? If little Timmy watches an R-Rated movie, it’s not our fault for letting him watch a show that was totally inappropriate for him, it’s the government’s for allowing that show on TV in the first place.

I mean, we’re living in the 21st century. What does it say about us as a species that at this stage in our evolution, we’re demanding that a book about a children’s story about schoolboy wizard be taken off the shelves because it’s teaching our kids witchcraft? I mean, come on…Witchcraft?

Then we totally fail to ask the right questions. A 15 year-old kid shoots up his school then blows his own head off. Then we ask questions like “What music did he listen to?” and “He had an X-Box, why are stores selling violent games to kids?”

Yet, no one asks the real questions, such as “How did a fifteen year old get his hands on a shotgun?” “How did he get it past his parents and out of the house that morning?”…and “Why didn’t his parents notice their son was so goddamn unstable?”

Then the parents appear on TV acting like victims, pointing their fingers at the rapper their kid liked or the games he liked to play…talking about how something ‘should be done’. How about starting by actually parenting and paying attention to your kids?

I’m getting to the point where I’m honestly starting to get scared. When hurricane Katrina hit, not only did we get the lunatics claiming that they saw helicopters dropping bombs on the levees (helicopters flying in a hurricane, mind you), we also had a whole bunch of people claiming it was ‘God’s Wrath’ because New Orleans was obviously filled with homosexuals.

It honestly wouldn’t surprise me that in another fifteen years, not only will some politician be able to somehow blame a natural disaster on some foreign power that has something we want…but people will be burning ‘witches’ in the street for bringing down ‘God’s Wrath’ upon them.

Enough’s enough.

How about, just for a change, we try to go for a whole week without any of this bullshit and actually use our brains for once?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Use our brains??? Come on Paul, where's the fun in that? lol