Even control is relative

By Ibilola Odunlami ibilola@economist.com.na

By Ibilola Odunlami
[email protected]

Has anyone been paying close attention to television and cinema lately? In the past, hardly were we prompted to step into the shoes of the villain or anti-hero. The bad guy was always a menace and the good guy was always squeaky clean. Over time, TV and film makers have increasingly started to depict characters with more layers and depth, allowing us to sympathise with villains and those who may typically be considered ‘menaces to society’.
We have become more intrigued when we are given glimpses of characters who, at the surface, may not seem so worthy of love. It allows us to humanise characters and people and identify with today’s more complex issues.
As much as I love this widening door of exploration, I wonder whether anyone has really started to notice how a lot of what we support in the lives of fictional characters could also be clouding our real life judgement. We have increasingly started to look forward to and encourage some rather destructive behavior. These days, what matters is ‘relative’; however, the wave seems to be that toxicity of any sort is what really strikes deep.
In some YouTube videos presented by Mark Fairley of The Fuel Project, Fairley delves further into showing us how society’s moral code of conduct is becoming increasingly blurred. In one clip he interviews random people on the street, asking them if crime is okay and two people respond that it depends on the crime that was committed and why the person committed the crime. He then asks, “what if the person committed murder?” To that, they give an undecided response. When he asked about rape, they share a strong view that rape is wrong. Which begs the question; where do people draw the line nowadays and what makes one ruling more substantial than another?
When the majority of people seem to share a similar opinion or wave of thought, you know that it has to be coming from somewhere and that our thinking is not as independent as we would like to believe. Our thinking may differ from what we have been used to, but I do not think we really recognise just how persuasive the subtle influence of mainstream media is on our way of thinking.
Movies like Deadpool, and shows like Girls and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are brilliant, but as we indulge in the lives of these “novel” and real characters, we are slowly letting go of the importance of keeping our self-indulgent egos in check.
It may not seem like such a big deal but judging by the number of times I have been shocked by some of the things assimilated by younger generations, I would say irresponsible self-gratification is rearing its head as a real issue. I hate to be the one that wags a finger and holds their nose up at the younger generations, but it is difficult to look at society as it ‘develops’ and not notice some really good morals slide their way through the crowd in the opposite direction. Through various technologies and advancements that are supposedly intended to help us grow and explore, we have also experienced an increase in moral entropy.
In 1896 when motion pictures were almost unheard of, the Lumiere brothers screened footage of a moving train. People were terrified and some ran out of the cinema. Now we have 3D flicks as we ‘become one’ with technological advancement.
Obviously we know that nothing on the screen is going to physically come out and grab us, but are we really aware of just how much we are allowing our screens to slowly take a hold and have a say in our lives?

Related