Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Get Away With Murder – Or Any Other Cultural Nastiness – Without Making People Blink

Sometimes I wonder how the ancient Romans could find the death, horror and gore of the arena entertaining. Well, last night it hit me.

It hit me while I was watching the ABC drama How to Get Away With Murder… particularly a scene flashing back and forth between two people rounding the bases as it were and an autopsy being performed on the exhumed body of a dead college student… while I was shoving slices of Pepperidge Farm seasonal bread down my throat.

It’s an acquired taste.

Not the Pepperidge Farm seasonal bread. That’s good from the very first bite. I mean treating offensive material as entertainment.

You see, the forces that promote this kind of mentality start us out slowly. Whether intentionally or not, they begin with little messages that hardly seem noticeable, much less inappropriate. Then, once we’ve been conditioned to that first phase, they step a little closer to the line, just enough to maybe make our consciences twinge in mild discomfort… but by step two, we’re intrigued enough that we’re willing to shrug that pang of unease off.

After all, it’s not like we’re talking about how to get away with murder or anything. It’s no big deal.

Yet step three follows step two, and step four follows step three until we’re so far over the line and so hooked on a certain lifestyle that we’re utterly deluded into believing it’s normal, even acceptable.

Did you know how slavery started out in this country? In many areas, it began with white indentures, moved on to an almost benign form of black slavery with many blacks working for a set time before being freed… and then morphed into an institution that could rip families apart, tear the skin off of backs, and degrade nearly everyone and everything it touched. All while masquerading as not only justifiable, but righteous as well.

If that revelation doesn’t make you want to reevaluate your most cherished values – and those values you’re more willing to shrug aside every once in a while for entertainment’s sake – then you’re probably already too far gone anyway.

Welcome to the arena bleachers.

How to get away with murder? That's only the beginning.

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