Our entertainment culture’s dreams of power are a drug that keeps us rapt in a cloud of promises: that we can win and that winning is everything; that we’ll be seen and heard for who we are if we’re thin enough or strong enough or have the coolest toys or the biggest guns. The fantasies lie, because the people who make the fantasies know we’re desperate to be lied to and willing to pay for it. And every so often, when we’re sold a fantasy that is so well made, that seems to tap so deeply into our very real sense of imminent catastrophe, and that seems so self-aware about the fantasy itself, certain people respond to it as if it’s the Truth. “The Dark Knight” movies are such a fantasy, and if they matter to you as anything more than extremely well-made and provocative entertainment, you really need to interrogate yourself (and maybe your friends) as to why.
Full piece at http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/2012/07/20/fantasy-masks-and-james-holmes-the-dark-knight-rises-killer/7xPjZWzV6WBWrXGb6Cz0dJ/story.html Likely to be in front of the paywall only today.
When I did a site about arts and controversy, video games were one of subjects of the debate. (Still are.) In that site, the writer noted that the Columbine killers were players of violent video games. James Au had this observation:
“Play a first-person shooter long enough and its morbid reality seems to descend over your awareness like a grid, accompanied by a kind of adrenalized hyper-awareness and euphoric rage. Grid, adrenaline and rage stay with you, far past the point when you exit to the desktop. Walk away from the computer, and they still persist. You find yourself stealing up on street corners as if preparing to strafe the adjoining block; you seem to see a crosshair traced across the bodies of passersby. For the overwhelming majority of us, with well-adjusted social lives…the grid recedes.”
–Wagner James Au, new media critic, Salon and Wired, from Salon, “Quake, Doom and Bloodlust,” May 1999.