“Let’s get the hell out of here!”
In 1967 William Shatner and Gene Roddenberry had to plea with NBC to keep the word HELL in Kirk’s last line of dialogue in the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The television studio thought the word HELL was too shocking and inappropriate for the viewing audience and they feared any public lash back would endanger the profitability of the show.
Fast forward nearly 50 years to last nights season premiere of The Walking Dead for a jaw dropping comparison of what the world finds acceptable on television nowadays.
My question is , when will the public say enough! For if we view the bar of acceptance not as a static measuring stick but as a floating one that keeps getting pushed further up the parabolic curve of acceptable brutality – then what will be the standard 50 years hence?
Consider that technology is already upon us that can make virtual reality and the realistic graphics within indistinguishable from our real world.
Following progress to it’s logical conclusion, in the span of a century we will have gone from debating whether the word HELL is too threatening to being fully immersed into real as real can be torture porn.
In case you’ve been living on another planet and are not aware of the 7 month build up to last night’s episode, here it is – viewer damn well beware :
In wanting to see if other people’s reactions were similar to mine, I spent an hour not only looking over reaction videos but I also went back to the last episode of Game of Thrones to compare facial expressions. After all, Cersei did slaughter about 500 more innocent people than Negan did , and one might argue just as ruthlessly.
The result? Whereas there was discourse either with the recording camera or with other people in the room in the GoT’s highest shock moment , and there was a variety of expressions, reactions, and cheers even … TWD by comparison had people visibly questioning what they were watching :
In 2005 the torture porn era was ushered in with controversy over whether the torture flick Hostel should have been slapped with an X rating or whether the R rating was severe enough. We’re just over a decade removed from that controversy and now no rating is needed at all to show an hour of brutality 100 times worse than anything Hostel provided , and that was on American television where anyone at any age could watch.
If I were to relate this acceptance of viewable violence to what I do , then in every session it would be the norm to push the limits of sado-masochism , thus extracting nothing but fear and pain from my … well … ‘victims’ I’d have to call them.
The tools I use and the manner in which I use them are craftily executed. If I hold a whip in my hand there need not be any demonstration of what said whip can do and the pain it can potentially extract. What I can do with that whip however is play with your mind , it can command obedience without ever having to lash out. Scripted horror viewable by the masses should be carried out in the same artistic way that I act throughout my sessions , it should be artfully done, as it was in 1999’s American Beauty :
We could end the movie at the sight of the stained wall and everyone would effectually know what just occurred.
Milton. Gene L. Coon. Stanley Kubrick. Ingmar Bergman.
They passed the torch of writing excellency to this generations ‘shockflock’ of screenwriters, and that torch has been sadly dropped.
You’ll find no Lucille in my closet of toys gentlemen. Words , setting , tone, a sense of theater , those are both a mistress’s and a writers best tools. Negan’s a badass, I get it. In my own way though, so am I. The difference being? Well one will be forgotten once the newest level of shocking brutality is accepted , and one will surive paying homage to the great writers of the past.
I guess then that makes me the guardian of forever. Now if you’ll excuse I have to get the hell out of here to do a session.