The thing is, when I tried it I realized is that I have no chance whatsoever of holding up under torture. I can't even handle standing in a cold shower for three seconds.
Why that was the thought that came to my mind, I'm not sure, but I couldn't get the image of Jennifer Garner in her TV series Alias out of my mind. Do you remember that show? I used to watch it with my mom and I remember enjoying it. Now, reflecting back (with my vague and possibly inaccurate memories of the show) I can't quite recall the appeal. In fact, in recent years I have become exceptionally averse to most forms of violence on TV or in movies. I make exceptions when I feel the film or documentary has a particularly important and thoughtful message, but I at times find myself repulsed by action films and super-hero movies. To me they seem so careless; so crude and ugly and sad. Often these films seem to trivialize the real effects of violence, conflict and war. They tend to paint good and evil in clear opposition to one another; everything is black and white. Sometimes we even want people to die, or we don't think twice when there are people left injured or killed on the sidelines. For me it's all rather sickening.
I can't recall exactly when or why my view of these depictions started changing. Probably about the time I went to college and just a small piece of the protective bubble of privilege I have always lived within lifted to show me something of what reality looks like outside of my own little world. And the more I read and see and learn the less entertaining violence becomes and the more upsetting it is, even if it is just "pretend." Because I know that often these films are nonchalantly depicting horrors that really happen. Or if not, they are showing violence in such a casual manner that it seems like a slap in the face to every man, woman and child who has truly suffered--whether it be from war or genocide, rape or domestic abuse, or any act of hatred or anger or meanness. It doesn't seem funny or entertaining or glamorous anymore. It turns my stomach and makes me morn for the society we live in that can turn a blind eye to real suffering and then, for financial gain, use stories of violence as a form of entertainment.
I know sometimes I take things too far. I can be a stick-in-the-mud and read too much into things. But I think sometimes, too, we don't read enough into things. We don't think enough about what we see and hear and read and learn. We disconnect from reality and let ourselves pretend that everything is well. And lets be honest, we all know it's not. I promise, teaching a teenagers is a great way to be reminded yourself of how gloomy things can potential be (the little downers!). Yet in truth I am really hopeful for the world and for society. Even though I am disappointed that the progress and advances in our societies have often only led to more destructive weapons and wars; to new kinds of dominance and oppression; to greater disparities between the rich and the poor.
But I don't think it has to be that way. I don't think we are destined to be hateful and selfish and violent. We have a choice and I believe that we can, and I hope that we will, change for the better. It comes down to the decisions we make and the way we choose to see the world and those we share it with. It comes down to how much we are willing to change and adapt in the name of the better good. I think in some ways we are going to be forced to change in the near future. But I hope we will also choose to change because we care about the world we live in and we see others as equally valuable as ourselves.
Anyway, that's what the kind of thing you think when you freeze your brain in the shower in the hopes of shinier hair. It's dangerous business.