Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

07 November 2013

Enough is Enough

by Eve Fisher

(NOTE:  I'm sorry if I haven't responded to anything this week, but we upgraded computers, e-mail, and everything else.  Cyber-chaos at our place.  Back up and running.  I think...  And now, on with the blog:)

We've all said it:  "Enough is enough!"  And sometimes we've even followed through on it.  The question is, what triggers it?  I'm raising this question primarily because I just changed my email address for the first time in 17 years, but I think it has application for other things, like changing brands, leaving relationships, killing someone, going on a fiery rampage ending in death, doom and destruction...

Here's what happened with the email:  I'd been with Yahoo mail from the get-go, and it was fine, great, etc. - but then things started changing.  They tweaked here, tweaked there, and it seemed like every time I turned around there was a new feature that I had to learn (which I did), or if I wanted a mail without ads, or mail with lots of memory I had to pay for it (which I did), and then they changed the format and I had to get used to it (which I did), and it got slower and slower and froze up a lot, and I had to cope with that (which I did) and then, a member of this respected body and I exchanged a couple of e-mails and Yahoo somehow managed to conflate emails from someone else with ours into a senseless spam-like screed that was, frankly, the last straw.  So I changed my e-mail to g-mail.  I'm having to learn a whole new system - if anyone has a cheat-sheet on keyboard shortcuts for g-mail I'd appreciate it - but it's worth it because I'm done with the old system.  I am loyal through an amazing amount of thick and thin, but when I finally do get fed up and quit, I am not coming back...

But some people make other choices.  Like murder.  One of the things that has always interested me is when people decide they've had enough and have to kill someone.  The long slow burn...  which finally explodes.  The classic example is a murder that took place here in Madison a couple of years ago.  An old guy, a farmer in his 70's, came back to the town where he grew up and started knocking on doors.  The first door he knocked on was his brother's, but he was at a basketball game.  The second door he knocked on was a former high school classmate, retired English teacher, and when he answered the door, the old guy shot him in the face and killed him.  The reason?  Fifty-five years before, the teacher and the farmer had had a fight in the locker room of the gym, and the future teacher had thrown a dirty jockstrap at the future farmer and hit him in the face.  Everyone laughed.  The future farmer fumed.  And 55 years later...

But why did it take so long?  I have no idea.  I don't know what sparked it off.  I do know that he came intending to kill someone - he would have killed his brother if he was home, it seems out of pure jealousy and envy.  And if he had managed that, would he have gone on to the teacher's house?  Hard to say.  After he shot the teacher to death, he got in his car and headed out of town, back home, where he holed up until the police came for him.

That one, as I say, is a mystery to me, because it took so long.  Not so adolescent shooters - the Eric Harrises and Dylan Klebolds of the world - they're fairly easy (for me) to understand.  Adolescents live in a world of such terrible urgency:  if they do not have this (whatever or whoever it is), they will die.  If someone laughs at them, the humiliation will last forever.  And, since they know they are bulletproof, invincible, and resurrectible (the Tom Sawyer fantasy of being at his own funeral and surprising everyone afterwards is pretty universal), to take up arms against a sea of troubles - literally - is an tragically unsurprising solution.  I'm waiting to see if the LAX shooter - 23 years old these days can be just as adolescent as 14 - is of that ilk or is one of the militia types who have decided that war has been declared, and is going to fire the first shot.

File:Turnerdiariescover.jpgI've met a lot of militia types, here and elsewhere, thanks to my work in various court systems.  They are very chilling.  As one told me after the Timothy McVeigh bombing, "War has been declared."  When I said the children in the day-care weren't soldiers, he replied, "There are no innocent victims."  Their literature (see "The Turner Diaries") is all about killing everyone who doesn't meet their standards, to the point where you wonder if even in our weapons-rich environment, there really are enough bullets to get that job done.  I've read "The Turner Diaries" and other works, and the basic idea is that you have to arm, arm, arm yourself, and get ready to kill, kill, kill, because - as one survivalist screed said - "who would want to die in such a world"?  The logical fallacy being, of course, that somehow you're never going to die.  Ever.  You'll "win", and live forever, master of all you survey.  Again, adolescent thinking.

And that perhaps is the trouble.  So much of our media - video games, television shows, movies, websites - is all about marketing to teens, and has been for quite a while.  Facebook is in trouble because its teen share is dropping, but Twitter is rising.  Every business has to get that all-important teen audience.  Because they have money, and it burns a hole in their pockets.  (I remember the feeling...)  But if you market to adolescents, if all your entertainment and information is targeted specifically to lure, entertain, and keep adolescents as they are...  isn't what you get, more adolescents?  Perpetual adolescents?  Whose only solutions to life's many problems are those provided by a media that is keeping them perpetually adolescent?

When will we say enough is enough?