Copy-cat Revenge

 

“How many children around the globe, we continue to ask, are growing up with “jihad,” “war,” “crusade,” “revenge,” “hatred” not only inscribed in their names but woven into the very fabric of their lives! For reconciliation to take place, the inscriptions of hatred must be carefully erased and the threads of violence gently removed. This, I think, is one important lesson of Jesus’ proclamation of the reign of God”.  – from Miroslav Volf’s book Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation

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“Here Comes Revenge”

Little grave I’m grieving, I will mend you
Sweet revenge I’m dreaming, I will end you

I’ve been here since dawn of time
Countless hatreds built my shrine
I was born in anger’s flame
He was Abel, I was Cain
I am here
I’m hell unbound
Burn your kingdom to the ground
To the ground

Here comes revenge, just for you
Revenge, you can’t undo
Revenge, is killing me
Revenge, set me free
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
A life for a life, it’s my burden of proof
Revenge, just for you
Revenge
You ask forgiveness, I give you sweet revenge

I return this nightmare, I will find you
Sleepless, cloaked in despair, I’m behind you

Man has made me oh so strong
Blurring lines of right and wrong
Far too late for frail amends
Now it’s come to sweet revenge
Desperate hands
That lose control
Have no mercy on your soul
On your soul

Here comes revenge, just for you
Revenge, you can’t undo
Revenge, is killing me
Revenge, just set me free
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
A life for a life, it’s my burden of proof
Revenge, just for you
Revenge
You ask forgiveness, I give you sweet revenge

Here comes revenge, just for you
Revenge, you can’t undo
Revenge, is killing me
Revenge, set me free
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
A life for a life, it’s my burden of proof
Revenge, just for you
Revenge
You ask forgiveness, I give you sweet revenge

Sweet revenge

 -Metallica, Here Comes Revenge

 

Revenge has media backing. Entertainment media is suffused with violent images of revenge. Is not most of what is called action and drama cable programing and movies about taking revenge? Gladiator and Kill Bill come to mind but there are hundreds of revenge programs and movies. Tough guys and gals go settle scores via jihads, wars, crusades, etc., and pander to the basest of emotions for entertainment dollars. Revenge is valorized. 

Revenge is shown as what the character (and the viewer vicariously) must do to obtain closure. So, the ‘victim’ becomes the avenger. After killing the perpetrator, the avenger walks off mollified that he or she has justifiably killed another. Yet, in reality, taking revenge is never the end of the story. Revenge never brings the curtain down. How is this impulse for revenge, as depicted so often on the screen of black box, inscribed into our lives?

On Twitter a while back I engaged a woman in a conversation. As the thread became about control gun around a school shooting, I jumped in with a reply and stated that the media and those who consume those things are also blameworthy. I said that what is shown on TV and in movies and video games reinforces the idea that violent revenge is the answer to injustice.

In her replies to me, the woman was adamant that the media was benign. She replied with several of her Google search findings which she felt supported her position. I could tell from her responses that she also had a vested interest in saying the media was harmless. I learned that the kids she was caring for played video games. I ended the conversation with her mentioning that the sheer volume of programing that depicts violent revenge as the answer to a wrong must influence a person’s behavior subconsciously. She was resistant to the notion.

What I wanted to add: commercials are made to influence consumer behavior. The hourly and daily repetition of the same commercial will soon have a person, in Pavlovian response, finishing its jingle or its phone number or reciting the words of its comical product sketch at the office. Clearly, those who want to influence behavior use the media. The nightly newscasts that talk about “gun violence” are meant to stir up emotions against guns and their owners. Consider what the volumes of violent revenge images in the media do to the viewer, especially to the lone viewer and to the viewer with unresolved anger at some perceived offense? The scenarios do not depict reconciliation. The scenarios depict anger and rage fulfilled.

Consider also the effects of the news media’s attention to mass killers.

Most copycats have their private agenda in a rampage killing but seek to tie it in to other events that received a lot of publicity. In this way, they bask in the reflected publicity, so to speak. In many cases, the rampage killer wants to commit suicide but opts to take others with him…it is difficult to escape the conclusion that copycat killings are partly inspired by the publicity surrounding the original. Quote from Copycat Killings: Making sense of the senseless

 

As I thought about revenge and the incessant revenge depictions, the image that came to my mind was the one invoked by Jesus:

You heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you: don’t use violence to resist evil! Instead, when someone hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one toward him.  Matthew 5: 8-39

As I try to wrap my mind around those words, I come to some conclusions:

A slap of my face would be a stinging rebuke. A slap of my face means someone is in my face about some matter and it is personal.  A slap of my face is a challenge prodding me to answer back with equal force or to walk away in shame. A slap in my face is a show of power.

A person acting out ‘An eye for an eye’ revenge says to himself, “There is no God who will hold the other accountable and therefore I must avenge myself.” Or, “There is a God but he is off somewhere. I will have my vengeance.” A person acting out revenge says to himself, “I am not responsible for what happens next.”  A person acting out revenge says to himself, “I will not stop the cycle of violence until I have conquered the other and have brought them to their knees.”

A person acting out revenge rejects the words of Scripture…

Don’t take revenge, my dear people, but allow God’s anger room to work. The Bible says, after all, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will replay, say the Lord.” Romans 12: 19

 

I am told by Jesus to turn my other cheek into the line of fire. Doing so is the real show of power – restraint with the knowledge that God sees the offense. My Father in heaven, who also sees me when I pray in secret, will make things right. How can I be sure? Jesus, with servant-restraint, made it clear as he stood before Pilate that there is a Kingdom not of this world where he reigns as king. Jesus let Pilate know that there was a new power in town and with it comes a new justice system based in truth.

How can I be sure? Jesus endured whipping and slapping and mocking – evil’s stinging rebukes – and yet Jesus did not retaliate. Jesus did not call down angels to annihilate his accusers and torturers. Revenge would not reconcile the world to himself.

This is how it came about: God was reconciling the world to himself in the Messiah, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting us with the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

Turning the other cheek is about the ministry of reconciliation. To take revenge is to reject reconciliation. To not forgive as a means of revenge is to reject reconciliation. To copy-cat violence back onto another is to reject reconciliation. To take revenge with words is to reject reconciliation.

The message of reconciliation will be offered out of red swollen cheeks. Keep that image in mind and reject the images of revenge. The inscriptions of hatred must be fully erased and the threads of violence yanked from the media. End “sweet revenge”.

 

Interactive media has influence over you if you let it. Added 6/19/2018:

What is gaming disorder?

Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

 

Looking at Life in All the Wrong Ways

 

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

-Screwtape, a senior demon, writing to his nephew Wormwood, also his apprentice. From C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”

 

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Foods for thought?

The package of corn chips found in the health foods aisle noted how not un-good the contents were to eat: “No Artificial Ingredients” “No Artificial Flavors” “No Preservatives” “Certified Gluten Free” “NON GMO Verified”.

The package of drama found on the cable channel noted how not inhuman the program was: “For Mature Audience” “Adult themes” “Adult Language” ….

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“Fantasy covets the gross, the explicit, the no-holds barred display of the unobtainable; and in crisis of the display the unobtainable is vicariously obtained.

Hard-core pornography provides another instance. Indeed, modern society abounds in fantasy objects, since the realistic image, in photograph, cinema and the TV screen, offers surrogate fulfillment to all our forbidden desires, thereby permitting them…The ideal fantasy is perfectly realized, and perfectly unreal – an imaginary object which leaves nothing to the imagination.” – from Fantasy, Imagination and the Salesman, Roger Scruton’s “Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture”

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The fantasy objects removing the sacred from our view? A short list:

Movies and cable TV programs showing ‘snuff films’, violence, mutilation, slaughter, wanton sex, promiscuous sex, misogyny, the profane.

Video games engaging you in violence, mutilation, slaughter, wanton sex, promiscuous sex, misogyny, the profane.

Movies which employ special effects to convey a larger than life experience titillation while offering nothing of value for real life.

Social media – each media element readily offered and responded to, and obtained remotely, removing one from true community towards self-isolation

Animation – the shadowland of phantom cels

Marriage as a secular convention to secure benefit from another up to and including the commodification of the partner’s wealth, insurance, emotional dependency and sexual organs.

Socialism as Utopia

The Social Justice Narrative of “Diversity” and it cognates, wrought by the iron fist of “equality”

Homosexuality, the phallic and misogynistic, and its associated bacchanalia (e.g., Gay pride parades)

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Imagination gathers up the hard-won gold of reality, submits it to the refiner’s fire, allows it to be molded and then offers the higher karatage gold as sincere praise to God.

Fantasy gathers up the hard-won gold of reality for smelting and casting into the golden calf of ephemerality, of likeness, of certainty…

~~~

“The contrast here is between the active work of the imagination, which points to a God beyond the sensory world, and the passive force of fantasy, which creates its own god out of sensory desires…”

– from Fantasy, Imagination and the Salesman, Roger Scruton’s “Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture”

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nicolas-poussin-the-adoration-of-the-golden-calf

The Adoration of the Golden Calf 1633-4, Nicolas Poussin

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One wonders:   does the left brain seek certainty and see fantasy as that certainty while the right brain is dismissed as flaccid and unreliable?

 

Empire of Lies – Andrew Klaven

Reckless Cartoon by Rick Mckee

Get This Monkey off Our Backs – Just Say No to Debt

 

H/T to MAD Magazine

Sign of the Times:

At my workplace two days ago employees were sent an e-mail saying that the vending machine company was raising their prices. Yesterday, I saw a man put a dollar into a vending machine and nothing came out. Today, there is a sign on the vending machine that says, “Sorry, Temporarily Out of Order.” At least we know the price!

Is government healthy for you?

A recent report out of Poughkeepsie, NY finds that there is a direct correlation between Big Oversized Government and Coronary Artery Disease. Also in the report, there is a significant increase in governmental psychosis. More elected officials and government employees are losing touch with reality. To counter these problems the report said that more and more citizens are now relying on Depends to make it through the day.

On a happier note, the makers of Pepto Bismol are reporting increased sales.

This just in…
Increased numbers of corporate jet owners are being grounded by President Obama’s social policies.
Apparently, this policy is causing pilots, mechanics, traffic controllers, flight attendants, airport support personnel and employees of aircraft manufacturers to lose their jobs, further increasing the jobless numbers. Nancy Pelosi was heard to comment that “these job loses were just unfortunate collateral damage in the war for social justice.”

Bounce Back Recovery

Walking the streets of Chicago today I came upon an *African-American woman walking in the opposite direction.  As she approached me, I could see that this large woman was wearing an extra large white T-shirt with the words “Barack Obama” on the front.  Midway down between “Barack” and “Obama” was a black and white picture of Obama grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Barack” bounced and heaved due to the fact that behind “Barack” were two enormous breasts which desperately needed supporting. As the woman came closer I had a moment of great insight: …”Barack”…”Obama”…two large breasts…needing support… big government… needing support!

 When I returned to my office I immediately wrote a check out to Barack Obama. I wrote and told him that I wanted him to buy the largest support bra that he could find for this nation – something that would support the giant teats of the great society!

(*”African-American” is a Jesse Jackson approved modifier.)

(No breasts were harmed in the process of writing this.)

 (This article is rated “8” on the PC Tiz Magnitude Scale.)

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2011/07/journolist-lives-democrat-media.html

Freedom Apart from Faith?

Vanity Fair, May 2011 issue, under the heading Five Things the Lamestream Media Won’t Tell You About the Constitution:

“2. The phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution. It was coined in 1975 by William Ayers.”

*****
Here’s something to ponder: a golf game is more important to Obama (who learned about compartmentalization while being around Ayers) than attending church with his family.
Obama has no problem deciding whether to play golf. The economy, Lybia and…? These issues don’t require faith or prayer or even a decision. For Obama, these things require golf (and campaigning for 2012).

2012: send Obama back to wherever he came from. Somewhere there is a community that needs his golf experience!

*****
In stark contrast to the morally filibustering Obama is the integrity and forthrightness of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan:

On the opposite side of the fence (or state border) from Obama is Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan. In the Sunday, April 17th, 2011 Chicago Tribune there is an article about Ryan titled Wisconsin’s Ryan is thrust into spotlight: Conservative’s plans put him at odds with Obama.” The article discusses some of the details of Ryan’s The Path to Prosperity budget plan. There is also this quote:

“Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, in the news for his own budget battles, is an ally (of Ryan). “There are two types of people in politics, people who want to be somebody great or people who want to do something great,” he said Paul is among the latter.””

And in the article:

“House Republican Peter Roskam (a Christian), of Wheaton (Illlinois), called him (Ryan) well-prepared and said, “He doesn’t overstate or oversell and he’s clear – that’s a gift in this town.”
And:

“”He’s very devoted to his family. He flies back for parent-teacher conferences,” said Janesville attorney George Steil Jr. who practiced with Ryan’s father.”

At the end of the article:

“Joe Van Rooy, who teaches government at Janesville’s Parker High School…takes his students to Washington every year and they meet with Ryan. He said the congressman, now in his seventh term, knows their families and remembers their names. Ryan lectures them about political civility.”
“He noticed, though, that one year Ryan was fingering prayer beads while taking student’s questions. The teacher asked why.
“He said, ‘I am so stressed out about the country.’”
(emphasis mine)
*****

It appears that for Obama, faith is just another tool to leverage himself and his constant campaign. He is more interested in power than in principle.