sex & violence in the media

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Make me… beautiful…
Make me… a perfect mind…
A perfect soul… A perfect face…
A perfect lie.

– Engine Room

In my previous entry, some folks may have misinterpreted me as a cynic and narcissistic. Only some peoples… therefore, I’m not gonna explain myself too much. I still stand by those words (with errors and flaws and everything). But I will try to extend my point (assuming there was one) by speaking about the latest incarnations of the media I’ve been exposed to –

Last night was the premiere of Nip/Tuck Season 2. The show has matured in its theme. For those who don’t know what Nip/Tuck is or if you need a quick one-sentence recap, I will explain now (in my own words). Simply, I believe, Nip/Tuck is the only TV show that deals with the complexities of what it means to be “good-looking”. What I really admire is that it doesn’t play with the naive notion that physical beauty doesn’t matter. True. It’s not everything. But like money or healthy food, it’s something. It adds to the survival value of what it means to be human. One is not shallow when admiring the beauty of the sunset, the design of a clothing, or the painting in a museum. Why should not humans be admired for physical beauty. To do so can add depth to the beauty of the “inside” of a person. Assuming people are beautiful inside, also, of course. We open more books because of their covers. A civilization that doesn’t appreciate physical beauty, is a civilization that will decline without physical beauty.

City of God is truly a gangster movie. I mean, we can admire the epic magnitude of The Godfather series, we can quote classic lines from Scarface, and we can study the changing society with the Sopranos. But, I think, to truly live up to the ‘gangster’ title, a film should depict the tragedy of the gangster life relative to the civilian life (which the majority of us live). And City of God, I believe, succeeds in doing that. The film is a Brazilian production (read the subtitles, if you don’t understand Portugese, you illiterate fuck) which tells the story of children who have no life expectancy beyond the ghettos. Therefore, the good life to aspire is to rob, kill, and destroy oneself. And it’s a painful movie in depicting that. This is not a “feel good” movie, but it is well told and will be an unforgettable experience. An example of this film is that you don’t know gangster when your heart drops seeing a 12 year old shoot a six year old in the foot without remourse. It’s a different meaning the next time “gangsta” hiphop is booming out of your stereo.

Thanks to Jerry, I am hooked on the Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale craze. Well, I’m currently just indulging in the novel. I’ll check out the movie, and maybe read the mangas afterwards. But, the book is what started it all. (Translated in English version. I can’t read/speak Japanese.) Considered “the Lord of the Flies for the 21st Century”, Battle Royale is about 42 Japanese junior high students whom are abducted by their government — the Republic of Greater East Asia — and forced on an island to kill each other until one last man (or woman) is standing within a 24 hour period. Of course, there’s the typical students — the popular, good-looking peoples, the nerds, the class clown, the thugs, the intellectual, etc., and the best one survives. The purpose of all this, according to the RGEA, is to study human nature in a survival situation to train its military. The book, more because of its translation, reads like a splatter b-pulp novel. In fact, I believe that is what it all is. Although, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s an easy read, moves at a fast pace, and will entertain (or disturb) with satisfaction. It’s definitely not a classic like Lord of the Flies. But to say it doesn’t give a bonk to your brain because of its commentary of living in a dog-eat-dog world is to say you’re not paying attention.

Now turn off your TV, switch off your radio, burn your books, close your ears, shut your eyes… and treat ignorance as the equal of intelligence… and just be happy. =)