Friday, April 20, 2007

Eyes wide open...

Wednesday night was The Commoner Forum on human trafficking.

It would be cliché of me to say something like: “My eyes were opened up to a world I never knew existed!” or something like that, but in this case, I’m going to be cliché because that statement is the truth. I knew things like what the speaker discussed last night happen in the world, but I didn’t know to what extent.

I didn’t know that in some countries, vir ginal children can be bought for a price of anywhere from $2.50-$10,000. I had no idea that 83% percent of Internet child por nography is of children under the age of 12, 39% is of children 6 to 12 years of age, and 19% are under 3. Nobody had ever told me that all over the world there are communities of people who will abuse people as part of a ritual; an or gy of abuse taken out on anyone … from infants to adults. It disturbed me, along with many other people. As the speaker said, human beings are being devalued to being worth “nothing more than a head of lettuce” by “conscious people without a conscience.”

What also disturbs me is that while this is going on all over America and in other countries, some American film studios are producing torture-po rn films like Hostel and Saw that tend to hit the top of the box office charts whenever they are released. These are films where people are killed in the most gruesome fashion … films where the torture of a human being is put on the screen as entertainment. I know these movies are merely an illusion of cinematic magic, but they are training America’s next generation to be sadistic perverts who come out of the theater saying, “Dude, that was frickin’ awesome!”

I read an interview with Frank Darabont (the writer/director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and the new adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist) yesterday. Obviously, Darabont likes to work with literary genius Stephen King, America’s master of horror novels. The interviewer asked him what he thought of this new genre of “torture-po rn” movies and I was very happy to hear his response:
The torture-porn thing is pretty distasteful. I'm just not into it. Horror unfortunately tends to go in these cycles where it puts itself back in this ghetto. I just don't find anything amusing about people getting tortured. I wish we weren't making these movies. I think it degrades the culture. I think it diminishes the human spirit.
Torture is especially un-amusing when things like the events portrayed in Hostel actually go on overseas. I wouldn’t complain about a movie showing the serious gravity of this kind of situation, but one that indulges in making entertainment out of this … it makes my stomach hurt.

American needs to realize the gravity of this situation and do something about it. The people who back these films and sell them to our teenagers need to see what’s actually out there. Maybe we need to show them pictures of people being skinned or infants being violated.

Flannery O’Connor once said that a desensitized culture needs to be shocked into action.

I think that’s what we need.

No comments: