Thursday, August 28, 2008

Disrespect of Civil Liberties

We can never stop being vigilant in defending our civil liberties. During the just-ended Democratic Convention, a reporter for ABC News was arrested while working on an investigation. Protesters have also been subjected to poor treatment. You can read a brief report here.

I was understandably appalled and have been e-mailing my sentiments. I e-mailed the Mayor of Denver and the Democratic Party. I also e-mailed the NBC Nightly News to ask they cover this.

I hope that we Americans stand up and say "No More!" to such disrespect of our freedoms of speech, protest, and press. We are supposedly a free, not a totalitarian society. We need to fight hard to keep it that way.

I think that for too many Americans such freedoms are just abstract ideas. People are so worried about other things, like the economy. But these freedoms won't be so abstract if your own personal expression is next in the line of attack. We need everyone to make sure it does not get to that point.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Enough Darkness Already

Hello if anyone's still out there.

I hope that at least some of you are boycotting the Olympics. I am (well, after advocating everyone boycott, I don't have much of a choice, do I?) Blog or not, I just can't in all good conscience watch, knowing of the repression in Tibet and that the Chinese government helps prop up Myanmar and doesn't help to end the horrible situation in Darfur.

Well, on to the main topic for now. Since I don't live in a cave, I notice that "Dark Knight" is just shattering all kinds of box office records. I just don't get it. I just don't see why people are drawn so such a dark story line - with such a dark villain - and our late Heath Ledger's performance seems to be the draw (I'm sure he did a fine job - I just don't care to see this one...). Why are we now so preoccupied with darkness? And it's not just movies, of course. Lately this musical artist and that one's new albums have been described as darker. And the "Heroes" show this coming season is certainly going to be much darker than before. You can count me out of that one. Although I did watch that show at the beginning, I stopped sometime during the first season as it just got too dark for me. And then there were the horrific story lines of "Law and Order: SVU" last season. Great cast, but I got turned off by too much - darkness. I won't even get started on the video games that are so violent I feel like taking a shower after just reading about them.

It just seems to me that the villains are so much darker now- so much more cold, calculating, amoral, sociopathic, whatever. Of course the writers are seemingly making these into the more interesting characters.

Some may disagree, but I feel that all this darkness and violence can't be psychologically healthy. Certainly most people aren't going to commit such outrageous acts, but for those who are vulnerable these bombardments don't help. I also feel it must not be healthy for our society as a whole. I don't know where all this fascination with darkness comes from - but it seems to me it points to there being some fundamental problem with our culture.

Here's what I would suggest:
People - for goodness sake, leave the darkness behind and stop buying tickets for such dark movies, leave the ultraviolent video games on the shelf, and look for music and other entertainment that has some light in it! Stuff that doesn't do great box office, get terrific ratings or sales won't be around, so support some alternatives.

Writers - there have got to be ways to make decent heroes more interesting. You can indeed hold our interest without a lot of violence. So write story lines that involve us, that keep us on edge without being so over the top violent, dark or shocking. Yes, it can be done.

So please, some light, folks.