Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

American Death and Romanticizing Evil
The New American ^ | 26 July 2012 | Selwyn Duke

Posted on 07/28/2012 6:18:17 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer

We may never know what was going though Aurora shooter James Holmes’s mind when he committed his heinous mass murder. We don’t know what kind of psychosis, or precisely what evil influences, he might have been subject to. What we do know is that, in wanting to be the Joker and not Batman, the villainous and not the virtuous, he reflects something prevalent today: The romanticizing of evil. And to whatever extent he was imitating art, this trend certainly is not art imitating life.

I remember when Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was taken into custody by U.S. forces. Here was this fellow, who we’d seen giving fiery speeches from podiums and talking about killing political adversaries, now doing a perp walk in shackles. No longer the strongman, he looked neither strong nor like much of a man; it was as if he’d shrunk. He looked pathetic — like any dime-store thug in a mug shot. It was then that one understood what writer Hannah Arendt meant when, after observing Nazi war criminals, she coined the phrase “the banality of evil.”

Evil people aren’t very interesting, but you wouldn’t know it from our popular culture. It serves up fantastical fiction such as the all-seeing serial killer Hannibal Lector, the superhuman Cape Fear criminal Max Cady, and the philosophizing hit men in Pulp Fiction. It certainly titillates and triumphs at the box office, but what, ultimately, is triumphing in the hearts and minds of generations weaned on such fare? What is their conception of good and evil? Which is more attractive to them?

(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: colorado; holmes; shooting; tv
This is a thoughtful article.
1 posted on 07/28/2012 6:18:30 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

In a Manichean world evil is more attractive than good. We must stress the positive—the saints not the sinners —in out popular culture. We must show evil as its true face be its in the dark heart of communism or the death camps of Nazi Germany or the destruction of illegal drugs.


2 posted on 07/28/2012 6:32:15 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

Why is a child watching Pulp Fiction, Silence of the Lambs, or Cape Fear? These movies are rated R and they are intended for adults.


3 posted on 07/28/2012 6:38:49 AM PDT by EEGator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

“....what was going though Aurora shooter James Holmes’s mind when he committed his heinous mass murder.”

.
Why are we so fascinated with an evil mindset but pay very little attention to the action of truly unselfish, noble and self-sacrificing individuals?

Are the latter more “normal” than the former?

Those who think that evil is an abberation and that righteousness is the norm had better look across our southern border and notice that mass murder is an almost daily affair.

Evil is about as common as goodness is but we are not willing to accept this fact.


4 posted on 07/28/2012 6:40:37 AM PDT by 353FMG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer
something prevalent today: The romanticizing of evil

It was prevalent in Byron's day, and that was 200 years ago.

5 posted on 07/28/2012 6:47:44 AM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 353FMG

We all know those mass murders in Sudan, Nigeria, and other parts of Africa are due to Hollywood movies.

Man is violent, always has been, always will be.

““Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and — thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.” - Robert Heinlein


6 posted on 07/28/2012 6:52:57 AM PDT by EEGator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer
Putting aside mental illness: The Joker is a bitterly angry loser who lashes out at society with exquisitely constructed and executed plots that attack society, as he, The Joker, drifts thru them unscathed and dropping the most dripping sarcasms in a bored, indifferent tone. This is the greatest fantasy of the immature mind.
7 posted on 07/28/2012 7:08:08 AM PDT by TalBlack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EEGator

I don’t think he’s talking about mass murders committed with the pretext of war or ideological justification, but about exalting the cold, calculated behavior of an individual who has decided to chose evil and sees himself as powerful because he is completely without morality or pity.

I do think there’s a problem with individuals taking this as a role model and thinking it’s cool to be evil. In many cases, it’s just a pose and they never do anything and if they’re young maybe, just maybe, they’ll grow out of it. But one of the problems is that people who try it on as an image, maybe to scare their parents, maybe to freak out their classmates, don’t really believe in the objective existence of evil - and therefore they are laying themselves wide-open to it.

I think it was CS Lewis who said that the Devil likes nothing better than for us to think he doesn’t exist.

The large scale, cosmic battle between good and evil has been abandoned in our culture, since we found the good just too darn hard for us and in any case Freud told us that our darker urges were our more “authentic” ones and shouldn’t be stifled. So people are left with only evil as an image, and even though they might not really believe in it at first, it takes them over and they don’t even know it.

Naturally, people who have mental problems are more susceptible to this - I think you’d find that virtually all of these recent cases have been mentally ill or exhibiting abnormal behavior of one kind or another before they did their evil deeds - but there are also weak followers who just get caught up in it. One of the Columbine killers was definitely mentally ill - but the other was just a follower, a loser who fell under the sway of his partner, and defined himself as evil.


8 posted on 07/28/2012 7:10:41 AM PDT by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: 353FMG
look across our southern border and notice that mass murder is an almost daily affair. Evil is about as common as goodness is but we are not willing to accept this fact.

I doubt that's true. There are millions of good people living south of the border.

9 posted on 07/28/2012 7:10:50 AM PDT by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

Isa 5:20 ¶ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isa 5:21 ¶ Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isa 5:22 ¶ Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

Isa 5:24 ¶ Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

This has become the story of America, we turned from God and glorified evil, now we reap the fruit of what we have sown.


10 posted on 07/28/2012 7:16:35 AM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TalBlack
...This is the greatest fantasy of the immature mind.

Well said.

11 posted on 07/28/2012 7:18:52 AM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: palmer

I also doubt that is true, in my opinion evil far outweighs good.


12 posted on 07/28/2012 7:20:19 AM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: livius

Good post. It might be because I’m sane all this movie makes killers seems ridiculous. I’ve seen plenty of terribly violent movies, but I know good vs evil, and entertainment from reality. There are still some wholesome movies around, but they are few and far between. I hope someone starts making more family friendly movies. I think they would be very successful. Thanks for your input.


13 posted on 07/28/2012 7:22:41 AM PDT by EEGator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: American in Israel

Most likely you are witnessing a few truly evil people and a slew of others who are apathetic or perhaps greedy. It depends on where you draw the line but it’s easy to draw post hoc. Last election we had a fair number of good but clueless people voting for Obama.


14 posted on 07/28/2012 7:31:56 AM PDT by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: 353FMG
Evil is about as common as goodness

Well, there are innumerable ways to do a thing wrong, and only one way to do it right; and people are prone to err.

15 posted on 07/28/2012 7:34:08 AM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: American in Israel
I also doubt that is true, in my opinion evil far outweighs good.

Nope, good outweighs eveil 2 to 1 - just as only a third of the angels fell. Nobody ever writes a headline "Man Goes To Work, Comes Home and Hugs Wife" is all.

16 posted on 07/28/2012 7:35:19 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (Goode over evil. Voting for mitt or obie is like throwing your country away.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Lady Lucky

Given that people didn’t have mass communication and entertainment and were far more Christian in orientation, I don’t think it was nearly as prevalent. And the prevalence is the point. I also think that the author was comparing things within the context of America and her short history.


17 posted on 07/28/2012 7:53:19 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

I can answer his question with two points.

1) “The villain makes the hero”, a Hollywood truism. If Darth Vader spent most of his time sniveling about losing his wife and how unfair life is, showing himself as being a neurotic cry-baby who lashes out at others, in a futile effort to diminish his own pain, he would have been just pathetic.

In fact, trying to “humanize” a villain is a terrible directorial mistake and can kill a movie. They should be evil, and like being evil, and know that they are evil, and never apologize for being evil.

2) If you ever want to see a “mundanely evil” Hollywood villain, I would recommend (not really) the movie, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. The actors played it for realism, loosely based on the life of real serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas, and it was so terrifying that it got an ‘X’ rating. And deservedly. Terrifying because it was so entirely ordinary.

It shows the villain as a dull, boring, ordinary person who murders easily, and for a long time gets away with it. Lucas, himself, may have killed as many as 350 people.


18 posted on 07/28/2012 9:28:05 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Yes, but that doesn’t address the fact that, for the most part, there aren’t truly virtuous heroes that kids can look up to today. Even in Star Wars, you did have Vader, but you also had Skywalker and Kenobi. I would include Han Solo, but he was sort of a self-serving schemer, except for when he redeemed himself at the end.


19 posted on 07/28/2012 9:45:43 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

That’s actually pretty tricky, because it is not easy to create an effective hero.

I remember being impressed a decade ago, by the double female heroes of Xena and Buffy, that had little girls stomping around and being “heroic imitative” like little boys usually do. I still wonder what it will be like for girls raised on that.

But dramatic broadcast television has sort of burned out, and we can all agree that while HBO is putting out some magnificent dramas, they are not the sort of thing you want children emulating.

The better side of Hollywood has been far more adult oriented in theme, if not content, not something that showcases heroism very well or is interesting to children.


20 posted on 07/28/2012 11:49:07 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Well, the masculinized female characters in entertainment serve to masculinize girls and are for that reason destructive. It is the work of evil.


21 posted on 07/28/2012 12:15:59 PM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

I wouldn’t say that. Girls who are more physically fit, within reason, tend to be better at the full range of femininity. They have a stronger frame, an orderly hormonal flow, have more and healthier children, and raise them better, because they are able.

To call this masculinization is unfair, because it is based on an incorrect notion of the range of female capability. It is like saying that women should not drive cars or use guns, because those are masculine activities.

Of course there are extremes as well. A female body builder can look grotesque, and a woman can be as gross and crude as a man. But for the most part, good health and intestinal fortitude make a better person, male or female.


22 posted on 07/28/2012 2:55:33 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: EEGator
Man is violent, always has been, always will be.

Violence is relative.

Is it violent to strap someone down and cut them with a knife? What if you're a surgeon?

Is it violent to take a gun and shoot a man dead? What if that man is trying to commit mass murder?

Is it peaceful to protect religious freedom? What if that means men can drag girls away and cut out their genital in the name of Allah?

Is it tolerant for liberals to embrace and celebrate muslim students? What about the gays they hang wherever they find them, and have the power to seize them?

Critical thinking - it's not just a river in Egypt.

23 posted on 07/28/2012 4:51:19 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Yes, well, you wouldn’t say that because you haven’t thought it through thoroughly. By the way, masculinizing women leads to them having fewer children, not more. This is one of the main reasons why Western peoples aren’t reproducing.

It’s also why women today are generally mixed-up feminists.

It isn’t about their being “physically fit.” It’s about their being masculinized, instilled with masculine ambitions and norms.

See through the spirit of the age.


24 posted on 07/28/2012 5:05:54 PM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

I’ve been studying demographics for a while. When a given society hits an economic level unique to them, suddenly their birthrate drops from high growth to sustainable, which is 2.1 to 2.3 children per family.

Mexico and the Arab nations are the most recent to see this phenomenon.

However, while government and culture are not particularly able to increase the birthrate, they can lower it further, by encouraging sex outside of marriage, birth control, and abortion, as well as raising the standards for raising children.

This is unrelated, however, to more masculine women.

Women do have a small amount of testosterone in their blood. But those women with a more than average amount are able to develop their musculature faster, and they are more prone to assertiveness.

However, the most noteworthy aspect of having more than the average amount of testosterone is that women “enjoy sex more.” Both in frequency and pleasure. As such, they are more likely to get pregnant in the absence of birth control.

And being physically fit, again unless they overdo it, makes them somewhat more fertile.


25 posted on 07/28/2012 5:34:42 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I suggest that you watch the documentary “Demographic Winter.” At the end of it, a professional demographer—who is a progressive, mind you—said that the only solution to the problem of declining birthrates was “patriarchy, properly understood.”

By the way, what you say isn’t entirely accurate. While Saudi Arabia has long been very wealthy, their birthrate is still quite high. This is because they have maintained patriarchy. (Of course, this doesn’t mean that I endorse their brand of patriarchy.)

Anyway, if you don’t see how feminism and the masculinization of females has twisted women, you don’t have your finger on the pulse of Western civilization.

By the way, a woman dressed in traditionally masculine garb (e.g., military or police uniform) is no different than a man dressed in drag. It’s just that people have been conditioned to accept it.


26 posted on 07/28/2012 5:54:36 PM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

According to the CIA Factbook, Saudi Arabia’s birthrate is now 2.26 children per woman, which is just slightly growing.

This shows how rapidly their birthrate has plummeted since the data used in “Demographic Winter” (2008) (my guess around 2005), when they did have a very high birthrate. And this collapse is not just with them, but with most of the Arab nations.

It happened in Mexico about this fast as well. For years an exploding birthrate pushing people North, and a few years later almost stable (and just slightly higher than SA.)

I can well imagine that their government demographers about pooped themselves when these stats first came out.

In any event, I don’t think cultural forces can be blamed for something this dramatic.


27 posted on 07/28/2012 8:48:33 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: American in Israel

28 posted on 07/28/2012 8:54:38 PM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Well, if the birth rate in SA has recently dropped so precipitously, it’s not due only to wealth because they’ve been prosperous for a long time. I would guess that it’s because, in part and to some extent, they’ve loosened the reins on their women (they have women participating for the first time in the Olympics).

The fact is, though — and it is a fact — that if you keep women’s focus on the domestic realm, birth rates tend to remain high.

Oh, and it is mostly cultural forces that determine these things. It’s not as if God said “Poof! I’m going to limit your fecundity now.”

Anyway, given your attitude, let me guess: you have daughters?


29 posted on 07/29/2012 6:17:54 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Paladins Prayer

While you’re very determined about your point of view, I can only cite demographics that say otherwise. It is not culture that reduces birthrate, but prosperity. A level of prosperity unique to that nation, time and again, accomplishes this, no matter the cultural changes or lack thereof.

Once that birthrate has dropped to sustainable, only then can culture, and government, limit it further. And usually by raising the quality of standards for care of children.

In demographics, this is explained that in more primitive agrarian societies, there is a very high child mortality rate, and prior to the use of antiseptics about one in four women died in or shortly after childbirth, whether or not the child survived. Likewise, larger families are associated with prosperity, as only they will provide either insurance or retirement to their parents as they get older.

Importantly, this close family cohesion and caring for the elderly is still seen in Mexico, though its birthrate has plummeted, and the vast majority of women still occupy traditional family roles.

What does cause demographic damage to a population is not the masculinity of females, but the embrace of sex outside of socially enforced marriage. This is happening to slave descended black Americans and its demographic damage is extraordinary.

In mammalian biology, the male prerogative is to spread their DNA to the offspring of as many children as possible. But females have a double prerogative to get both the best sperm for their offspring, and the best provider male to help them raise their offspring.

However, humans have innovated socially enforced marriage as something better for men, women and their children. Children raised by such couples are oriented to success; whereas children raised by single parents are oriented to survival. Men give up multiple partners for greater assurance that the children have their DNA. And women give on having the best sperm and best provider male, on condition that the same male will only provide for her offspring.

Marriage as a system can be corrupted by dowry, which has led some to imagine it as being an unneeded social fabrication. Likewise they imagine sex as being for fun, not procreation. But the ramifications of this are very destructive.

They require long term birth control, in the limited window of time when it is best to have children, abortion for unwanted children, and results in survival oriented children 60% more likely to become criminal offenders.

So, in a manner of speaking, it is not the masculinity of females that is demographically damaging, but unbridled sexuality, of sex for fun instead of for the serious purpose of reproduction.


30 posted on 07/29/2012 7:44:00 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Yes, there are many factors, but you’re kidding yourself if you think that the masculinization of women and their embrace of careerism don’t play a role. Demographic Winter even mentions this, citing the working-woman phenomenon as one of six factors that reduce birth rates.

Anyway, there are many reasons why deviation from traditional roles is destructive, not the least of which is that it has led to the sexes becoming competitors.

And it’s not just that I’m determined about my point of view, but also that I have little patience for men who accept these ridiculous, evil feminist norms. They were, by the way, established by the liberals of yesteryear, but now conservatives mindlessly accept them. It’s pathetic.


31 posted on 07/29/2012 9:38:20 AM PDT by Paladins Prayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson