Looking back on the books that I have read as a young adult, the comics I consumed as a child, and the movies and TV shows I watched I can only conclude that this nation eats the idea of violence as if it is food. It is, apparently, a sustenance with which the USA cannot otherwise exist.
When I was younger I not only had no problem absorbing this nihilistic garbage, I actually enjoyed it. The more self-righteous monstrosity displayed on the page or screen, the better I seemed to accept the vile message. The system does this. It has been created and perfected and honed to such a fine edge that it now just flows along, working almost like the legendary perpetual motion machine dispensing gore and perceived justice.
But now I am an old man. I can no longer stomach this poisonous shit. I first noticed this one day when I was working on a new novel and arrived at a point where I had to pen a scene of violence that I had plotted but had yet to write. As the moment came nearer in my daily routine of working, my progress slowed. I almost got to the point of writer’s block but eventually the scene had to be written.
And I couldn’t do it. I sat there and stared at the computer screen and just by Jove could not proceed. And it was not because I was faced with some kind of psychic block that prevented me from going on. It was just that I at last could not stomach the thought of one more instance of bloodletting. Not on the page. Not on a screen. Not even by thought. And certainly not created by me.
I was done with it.
Since that time I find it very difficult–and sometimes impossible–to watch a movie or television show that is awash in that trash. And this, of course, makes it hard for me to watch much in the way of pop culture. Even most of the so-called “adult” comic books produced in these modern times are corrupted so heavily with violence that they almost make me want to puke when I see them. Books swim in it. Movies and TV series have rivers of blood and mountains of corpses. They display long moments of adoring torture as if we’re supposed to enjoy it.
You can have it all. I don’t want to see it or read another jot of it.
And it all has a purpose, of course. Of that I have absolutely no doubt. Raise a child on it and they are far more accepting of whatever message of violence and political propaganda you wish to feed them until they are of age and capable of striking out in misguided vengeance. Just point the way to the “bad guy” and the idea becomes reality.
Western culture, at long last, is so vile and poisonous that even I–a man raised in it and inured to it–have had my fill. Yes, I read it growing up. I watched it. I even wrote it. But now my disgust of it all is overwhelming and you folk who still need it have my undying pity and contempt.