This image has been haunting my image morgue for years.
I've been spending a fair amount of time this summer with our daughter. I missed her deeply when she was at university last year, even though she was only an hour away by car. We each learned to keep our distance to allow growth and maturity (and she probably got something good out of it too).
It's wonderful, full of wonder, having her home—to talk with, to have fun with, to give me more than a hint of the adult she'll be when I'm long gone. We've watched a lot of DVDs together, crossing all genres of film-making. Even when a film goes awry in quality, we try to glean some of the positive values that by rights should be inherent if the army of talent involved in the making has utilized time, skill and money to bring it to our living room. Amazingly, I actually enjoyed Frank Miller's 'Sin City', something I never would have predicted.
Anyway, watching so many films, I have vicariously witnessed many acts of heroism, many despicable deeds of violence. I have flown among the clouds and the stars. I have seen transformations of many sorts — love into hate and vice versa, humans into animals, ignorance into understanding, sacrifice into survival, failure into success. Much of the experience has been inspirational and motivating.
And then I read the news.
Horrible events of crashes and collapses, fires and floods, snuffing out innocent lives. Spouses that murder each other, parents and children that murder each other. Young innocents that suddenly become Hitlers, intent on murdering other young innocents. Natural and man-failure disasters that kill hundreds or thousands with no mercy. Planes that fall from the sky. Drug cartels that wantonly slice and slaughter and deposit the results in town squares.
There are people plotting to destroy, people plotting to steal and scam, people with intent to enter our very homes and violate our persons and property.
Where is our movie heroism then? Where are The Avengers, The A-Team, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne? Where is the fortuitous coincidence that saves the day? Where are the clever writers that solve our problems in strange and subtle ways? Where is the soundtrack that throbs and soars mighty choruses of heaven as we heroically find the strength to get back up, even as we've been beaten into the ground? Where is the empathetic audience to witness our private tragedies and applaud our triumphs, great and small?
I sometimes ponder these sorts of self-defeating questions in the wee hours of the morning when the universe seems dark and uncaring. I rise in the morning full of hope and cheer, thinking maybe THIS is the day 'they' cure cancer. Maybe THIS day radio signals from space will be detected, proving that we are not alone. Perhaps THIS day people will accept that gay marriage is not only acceptable, but celebrated as an expression of love. That THIS day love will triumph over hate.
No, the headline is about Town Council debating what to do about homeless people sleeping in the parks. It's about the latest scandal of privileged rich people trying to be above the law. It's about coaches and priests violating the trust of children and parents.
The rest of the paper is about 'buy this, buy that' 'spend your money on useless crap and squander away time and energy looking at crap you can't afford.'
Okay, I'm really wallowing now, but you get the thread of my thought. And really, most of you have these same thoughts and feelings on various levels at various times.
What's to be done about it?
More next post.