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Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Virgin Suicides

Watched The Virgin Suicides.
Having grown up in that locale, it was unsettling.

However, it all reminds me of the power of the Story or the Narrative, about which I have written before. This is the basic problem of games and stories of violence and sexual degradation: they do not cause violent situations, but when certain situations are encountered, the Story provides a Script one may follow.

Having a script to follow is a  big, big deal.

Everyone has a script to follow. The script is the source of how we dress - our uniforms of shirt and tie and jacket, say - and the source of how we speak - the idiom we use and the intonation and accent - and even how we tend to think.
 ...the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next. Like 10 people waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change, and one of them jaywalks. This gives the rest of them the go-ahead.
I disagree that one person's doing a thing makes it permissible. Rather, it makes it "Imaginable", and from being imagined, it provides a viable way of acting and doing - life threatening though it is.

Once again, I re-iterate, this is the very reason why good stories are so important. Narratives with indecisive endings and moral ambiguities that are never resolved are a curse upon mankind. And don't dare tell me that such things are "Realism".
We have created a wasteland upon the Earth, and we dare to call it "Realism"!

We accept Death-Actions as acceptable things to do!
Wars, guns, highway mayhem...
The fact that Scripts are life threatening means absolutely nothing to us.

The success of Life Threatening Scripts demonstrates the lack of Life Enriching Scripts.
If we had good and vibrant stories that glorify life instead of trampling it underfoot or focusing upon some supposedly sinful nature of mankind, the suicide culture would never have a chance.


Daryl Darko said...

I like your idea about there being need for more life-affirming scripts for us to follow, in film or literature.. but I think what happens when Hollywood puts out "life-affirming" films that do not also embrace enough darkness, there is too much "light" in such films and the appeal of such films draws people that are already living happy, fulfilled lives. To take stories of gritty characters that struggle in their darkness, even if it takes them their entire lifetime to get to a point at the very end where they break through to understand and achieve "light" would have a greater appeal to a wider audience, methinks. There's too much happiness in faux Hollywood films that say transformation is a struggle. The struggle to transform is much more difficult. We all know this. Don't sugar coat it for us, but also don't aggrandize miserable heroes. Find true balance. Speak with truth. From spirit. Sigh... it'll never happen in Hollywood, will it.

And maybe I totally missed your whole point w/this comment...

Montag said...

I think you are absolutely right, Daryl.

Life affirming does not mean "light", because truth is both light and darkness.

Art should leave people with the resolve to transform their lives for great things, and not leave some bitter after-taste unresolved in one's mouth.

I think Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is life affirming in this sense: it is a savage satire on modern society, and some people might think it too dark, BUT is leaves no one in the dark as to who is to be pitied and condemned and who is following the right path.