Why are you so mean? — End of the Day for March 3, 2014

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Whenever I am asked if I have watched this TV Show, that movie, heard this song, I often find myself saying (a lot) — “Nah, it’s not really my type of thing. ” 99% of the time, the reason I have avoided particular shows, movies, etc is their deep, angry, meanness. Yeah that’s right, I don’t like watching people be mean to others and entertainment today seems to be full of it. From House of Cards to Breaking Bad to music with abusive and violent themes. For my own self preservation, I avoid these types of things. Sure I can agree that the acting ad cinematography of House of Cards is top notch, I can’t stand to invite those people into my home on a regular basis.

As I have mentioned in the past, I am pretty empathetic, whether dealing with people face-to-face or watching something on TV. I find myself empathizing with the  TV characters, or more likely, those they are being mean to. This means I can end up feeling drained and agitated by a show instead of entertained. Back in the day, there came a time when I had to stop watching ER. I noticed that I often had trouble sleeping after watching an episode or find myself quite upset and having to find ways of calming down.

Rosanne often says that the most important aspect of any great script is conflict, and I understand that. Great drama is made from great conflict. That said, there seems a deeper thread these days. The stories today aren’t just about conflict, they are about meanness, debasement, abuse, power, control. There are times I wonder about the effect of such deep sociopathic antipathy in our lives. Is it possible to revel in meanness too much? Is it possible to wallow in the abuse of others to much? Perhaps watching meanness and seeing its effects makes us want to turn away from it in our own lives. Maybe it’s a good thing to watch so we know what it looks like and can avoid it in our own lives.

I don’t know what effect it might have on others, but for me, watching meanness leaves me drained, edgy, depressed and despairing for the state of the world. Out of shear self preservation I have to avoid it at all costs, lest it drag me down. The success of this entertainment seems to show that I am in the minority here, but in some way I feel like I need to explain myself. I have very specific reasons I avoid some movies and television shows. They can be the greatest production ever mounted, but if the story wallows in meanness, I am sure to avoid it.

Previously on End of the Day:

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