Friday, June 13, 2008


Representative Eshoo (per SFGate) wants to regulate the sound volume of TV commercials.

What will I do with my stains if I can’t Shout them out?

When Eshoo succeeds with her volume campaign she can do something a little more serious, about misleading content.

Recently a young man died near the Giants’ ballpark in an episode of violence that included just one punch. Not a long, sustained fist fight. Just one punch.

When is the last time you saw such an outcome portrayed in fictional TV or movies?

There was a similar incident out here in the Avenues a few years ago that involved racial stuff, plus bicyclist vs motorist stuff, but there was just one punch, head hits curb, RIP.

It seems the reaction to the recent ballpark death was one of simple surprise. There were no racial or other social-issue overtones, just a death resulting from “normal” male adolescent/young adult behavior. (Contrast: the Golden Rule.)

There was shock that one punch could so change the prospects, not only of the dead victim and his family, but also of the perp and his.

It seems that not much malice is imputed. It was more like a freak accident.

The Greeks would have attributed it to mischief of the gods.

People get punched in the face all the time, maybe get knocked down, but they get right back up. We see it repeatedly on TV, everyday. Heck, if you believe TV, punching is a major and constant component of human interaction.

The Committee for the Accurate Representation of Violence wants to require TV and movie producers to accurately portray the consequences of all violent incidents.

For instance, the cop who subdues a suspect with a knockout punch to the jaw, must go directly to the hospital to have the broken bones in his or her hand set and put in a cast, and he/she must wear that cast for the next six weeks of the narrative.

And the suspect has to show up with his jaw wired.

We shan’t hold our breaths.

Among the most famous pictures in the history of photography are those by Mathew Brady of U.S. Civil War dead.

Those brave and unfortunate Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan can not be pictorially represented even as flag-draped coffins. TV news shows them in pictures taken when they were alive—as if the transition from live fighter to dead hero is as painless and antiseptic as turning off a light.

The fact that our poodledog-press accepts such restriction might indicate how close to the end America is in the lifecycle of empires.

I assume that the young man accused in the ballpark incident can honestly say he had no idea that one punch could result in death. This is the fault of our inculturation system, which includes schools, media and individual family values.

When CARV gets its way, boys and young men will know what one punch can do.

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Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at the last fifteen minutes of Walker Texas Ranger, when Walker bests the living hell out of someone, repeatedly punching and kicking them in the head, then carting them off to the hoosegow, groggy but alive and kicking. Those Texas/McCain boys thrive on that sort of stuff.

Thanks for this post. It aptly illustrates how America has become numb to violence and death.

The Blue Elephant said...

As you know I was recently subjected to a scary moment of someone in a road rage -- I suspect he was an Iraq war veteran. Even if that war ends, we will be living with those returning who will explode at times with "irrational" rage. (I am unhappy that an independent film, BADLAND, from last year will not be seen, as it describes this so perfectly.) Pity their wives and children. Be prepared. We need wider promulgation of Krishnamurti's explorations of the causes of violence. If he had not been rushing by me yesterday, I would have talked to a man who was saying angrily to an infant crying in his arms, too small for comprehension, "Well, that will teach you!" Not necessarily ranked for importance, America is sick with racism, misogyny, homophobia, and obsession with violence (the death of feelings). The first step for me, as with everyone else, is acknowledging my own impulse toward violence, which, as Krishamurti points out, is a reaction to fearful confusion -- well, also, like most of us, I am trained to react with violence. Peacefulness is the most strenuous of all studies, demanding rigorous attention. (I am not preaching, just reminding myself of what I need to remind myself about all the time, like driving defensively.)