The sensational, the gruesome, the weird and the curios are in the papers, on the news, crossing the Internet and everywhere in entertainment. I suppose it is human nature to seek out what or the how-did-that-happen stories and know that it did happen. It is a guilty pleasure to read the details of a law school classmate who embezzled client funds again, again and again. So much for professional responsibilities and legal ethics. Americans put distance between themselves and the act. Americans are acquainted with Michael Jackson’s death, but what about a STRANGE, VIOLENT EVENT: The psychological evaluation of the Sandy Hook elementary school killer and an accompanying evaluation of his enabling mother: She frequented the local bar and talked about gardening, guns and target shooting and her brilliant sons. One son was home making his reality shoot-em-up computer games.
American interest in acts of perversion, terror, violence, illness and crime is limited. Our understanding of why, what and when is superficial: X killed seven pedestrians while fleeing the cops in a car-jacked Porsche with a baby in back. Forget the trial. Wow, someone can write a book and make a movie, which will obliterate the actual events and make new reality. Perhaps Americans know; perhaps they don’t: There is a wide, deep morass of procedure, time and law consuming every single criminal act before trial and before society’s resolution comes.
Americans simply lose interest [except those concerned and those victimized]. They hear the outcome two, five years later and believe there is an ending. If behaviors, actions and society must change, Americans have to know more than the beginning (the act in the news) and the end years later. Americans must follow the whole process. We cannot rely on a cadre of interested attorneys, doctors, politicians, lobbyists, Warren Buffett, businessmen, accountants and journalists to represent and do good for the country.
My reaction to the current blitz as a writer, is to organize my mind before writing a story. Usually I sit and observe everything. I lose track of steps C -X. I’m diverted trying to be sure what I spend the most time on has merit and quality. I watch movies of quality; I visit museums; I read good books of fiction and non-fiction; I hear great music. I collect as many facts, words and impressions into my mind until I’m frustrated and need a release – filter through the garbage, selecting, and put something on the page. That logjam is released slowly. With luck I’ll organize it well as it comes onto the page, but frequently reordering is necessary many times afterward.
Likewise Americans hear of these horrible events and occurrences; they are exposed to loads of trivia, minutae, tripe and are pestered for long periods of time with nonsense. It is no wonder they hear of the act, shameful, violent, outrageous, an enormity, and let it go, perhaps hearing the end if they ever make the connection. Those Americans don’t have the release I have. I write. Everything within them is bundled tighter and tighter. It is further no wonder that Americans seek all diversion from the terribles and the troubles of this country. I can not blame them.
Americans go so far in their entertainments that they only become aware when a big shock hits the news, an act mindless and futile as the death of any child killed in a crosswalk, frequently a non-news incident. What is happening in this country is THIS: Our imaginations are not as active and adventurous as the stimuli we receive. Human beings have not evolved that much. For instance, October 9, 2013 was a non-news day: No assassinations, no wars, no terrorist attacks. Consider items I found on the Internet that day:
Teen shot while having sex
Eight year old pleads with 911 dispatcher while Mom dies
40 year old mom found nude in teenage boy’s closet
Montana Fishbourne says Twitter hacked – she didn’t out Jamie Foxx
28 men may be charged in 11-year old’s rape
16-month old dies after being dropped in boiling water
The news hasn’t gotten better. On the last weekend of the year cross-racial adoptions senselessly became an issue.
Nobody in America wants to watch this movie or TV program. It is easier to ignore it to our detriment. Ignorance and silence suggest consent – do your own thing; let it be; there is nothing anyone can do; don’t be judgmental; these are trifles. This is the tripe Americans now accept. It is wrong.
In 2014 Americans can do better