We seem to be wired for high drama. So we revel in those dramatic scenes in movies when the cruel, mustache-twirling louse tells his ingenue sweety that he has taken a new mistress – only to be reduced to jelly as she reveals his inadequacies in the bedroom. Touche!
Some I know claim that a tendency in this direction is with us from our earliest days in the egg. I don’t know about that. But what would a Shakespeare drama be without a good sword fight or other drama resolving conclusion?
In recent years there has been a glut of end-of-the-world type movies. We see hints of suffering during the dramatic events, but the hero’s and heroines bravely soldier on. But allow me to place you in a desperate situation like the one unrolling in Haiti as I write this. Afterward, you might not be cured of your fixation on disaster movies, but you’d put them in a lot more realistic perspective. There is little more sobering than not getting emergency care, not being able to cook, or adequately care for your dependents.
How do I know? I’ve been homeless, and I’ve been in situations where ordinary life is just a wonderful dream, but not for me. I watch people glut on movies that portend great tragedies and shudder. How they can watch this tripe in the middle of an epidemic and behave so poorly about masks and immunizations? In real life, you do not just walk out of the theatre or turn off Netflix.
There is an old saying that it’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop.