Archives for the month of: October, 2013

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I have noticed a disturbing trend on TV in the new fall season. There is an increase in the kind of graphic violence being portrayed.  The show The Walking Dead is gaining a growing following.  The premiere show of the season had a viewership of  over 16 million viewers.

I saw The Walking Dead display at Comic Con San Diego 2013.  It was a replica of the prison enclosure used in the show complete with barbed-wire fence and zombies walking within the enclosure.  Unlike the TV show, this enclosure was built to keep the zombies in.  In the TV show the enclosure is to protect the unaffected humans from the growing population of zombies in the world outside.

Because I am a student of popular culture, I decided to watch the premiere episode.  I  recently saw the cast on an afternoon talk show and found out that one of my favorite actors was on the show.  This also increased my curiosity about the show.

In the episode I watched, from what I can put together, there was a young boy who had some type of compassion for the undead and was feeding them rats and other small animals.  In the process, he became infected with the disease that created the zombies.  Once he transforms he immediately starts feeding on the closest live human being who is asleep on the cot in the room with him.

As he feasts, we are witness to a grisly scene full of lots of blood and gore as he tears at the man’s flesh with his hands and disembowels him so he can feast on his organs as well.  Somehow the man is still living when he is found by some of the unaffected humans.  They realize that he is now infected with the zombie disease so they must stab him in the cerebellum to destroy his brain and end his undead existence.

There are several more gory bloody scenes in the show, but that was probably the most disturbing.  The Walking Dead is on the AMC channel.  The shows on AMC are known for breaking tradition with the kind of censorship that the so-called Network TV shows have.  It boasts Mad Men and Breaking Bad which both push the limits of what is acceptable viewing on TV-Mad Men for its sex, Breaking Bad for its violence and both for their storylines of depraved humanity.

I must say though, that in watching the new shows on the Network channels, I have to wonder if the censors are on hiatus based on the kind of violence I have seen. The Black List  is a new show on NBC about a criminal operative who turns himself in to the FBI. He gains immunity by helping to expose the list of criminals that he formerly worked with.  The two shows I have seen included stories about a serial killer and an assassin who used gruesome techniques of torture and murder on their victims. In these tales we view these acts in bloody detail.

Another popular show on NBC is Revolution.  It is a tale of a post-apocalyptic America full of brutal violence and torture as well.

The increase in graphic violence and its subsequent increase in popularity among TV viewers cause me to ask the question “Is violence the new porn?”  Is there a growing addiction among Americans for blood and gore and violence? Some of this, I am sure is influenced by the increase in graphic violence in video games and their influence on the culture.  But I have to wonder where will this addiction lead?   There is no question that there is an increase in violence in the real world as well, perhaps as a result of the virtual violence that is experienced in video games, TV and movies.

2012 showed a 1.1 increase in violent crime and a 11% increase in violence against property for the first time in 6 years.  As the violence portrayed for us increases so does the violence we experience.  The greed of network producers causes them to refuse to accept responsibility for how they are affecting society, but continue to increase the dosage to increase the addiction and the dependence of the audience.

So I for one say no.  I will break the addiction and choose more positive influences.

And as the Bible teaches

Philippians 4:8

[ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
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we are the resistance

I love America.  As the grandchild of immigrants, I know what a great country this is and the opportunities that are here.  My grandfathers came to America from Europe with a few dollars in their pockets and one nice suit.  They were able to build a comfortable life for their families, although neither of them had more than an 8th grade education. They embraced this country and never looked back with any kind of loyalty or love for the countries they came from. They became Americans and they raised American children who raised American grandchildren.

Although English was a second language for my grandfathers, it was the only language their children knew.  They would say, ” You are an American you need to speak English”.  My grandfathers spoke in their native language to their wives and their friends who were also immigrants but never to their children.

As their granddaughter, I understood the sacrifice that was made and the hardship endured by my grandfathers to become American citizens.  They were proud to be Americans and we became proud Americans because of them.  The only time I remember seeing my grandfather Sus cry, was as I sat on the floor in front of the black and white TV and played with my dolls, while watching  John F. Kennedy’s funeral.  Grandpa loved America and he loved his president.

Grandpa Amadeo, on the other hand loved Nixon and Reagan but all of America cried for John F. Kennedy.  The political climate of yesterday was an arm wrestling competition compared to the embittered nuclear-sized wars that are today’s party conflicts.
We were a nation of differences united for one good, the good of America. The land of the free and the home of the brave.

The land that their sons were willing to go to war for during the Korean War and now their great granddaughter (my daughter) is willing to serve as a U.S. Marine.

It wasn’t a perfect world and it wasn’t a government free of corruption, but it was a government that allowed personal choice and freedom for Americans.  There were less laws to interfere with personal choice and freedom.  There was opportunity for free enterprise and free enterprise meant jobs for Americans.  My grandpa Sus (who barely wrote English) was able to work in an unionized bakery where with my grandma’s job in an unionized cannery, they could earn enough to own their home and raise their four children.

Free enterprise meant the opportunity for my grandpa Amadeo  to start his own business that has continued for two more generations and gave a good livelihood for his family and their families.  That business provided the means for me to be the first person to graduate from college in both my mother’s and father’s family.

Free enterprise allowed me and my siblings to each own our own business and provide a good life for our children.

It was one nation under God.  Prayer was allowed in school and creationism was taught and most businesses were closed on Sunday because most Americans were in church.

Since then government involvement with personal choice and personal liberty has decreased our quality of life as Americans.  Laws and taxes inhibit free enterprise and cost America businesses and jobs. The government has taken God out of schools and replaced it with fear and violence. Government control has reduced the quality of education that our children receive. Taxes reduce our disposable income and now our freedom to choose our healthcare is being controlled by the government.

Can we return to the America we once were?

I remember my dad saying in the 70’s “We are becoming a communist country one law at a time.”  As I look at the constraints that we face today because of laws and compare it to the life that I have lived in a freer America, I know this is true.

I love America and I hope and pray that we can turn the tide and return to a freer braver country for future generations.

CHADGod has a sense of humor.  To be more accurate God likes to humble me.

About a year ago, I wrote a yet-to-be published book called Blessed are they that Hunger-A Christian Responds to the Hunger Games.  My first chapter, called “We Hunger for Kindness”  is about the violence in The Hunger Games trilogy.  I explore the violence in today’s culture and its increase in today’s sports.

I end the chapter with a discourse about Mixed Martial Arts or MMA fighting, also called cage fighting.  At the time, I viewed this as the pinnacle of violence in sports.  I also included an excerpt from an article about a fight club on the East Coast that uses MMA fighting as a way to reach people for Christ.  I had a hard time reconciling this violent sport with Christianity.  After all, it was Christ who said,

But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. Matt 5:39

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:39-48

I was confident in my evaluation of the sport in my book.

My confidence dissolved one hot summer’s night while I was hanging out at a local restaurant with some friends.  It turns out my hometown is a base for one of the most famous MMA fighter’s in the world and his team of fighter’s  who are well on their way to world fame as well. That night the team was hanging out at the same restaurant I was.  There was a lot of buzz among my friends about the famous fighter and one by one they were introducing themselves to him and  getting their pictures taken with him.

I sort of knew who he was, but obviously wasn’t a fan of the sport at that time.  I didn’t make any effort to go out to meet him.  I happily stayed close to my friends and had some interesting discussions with them.  One of the friends I had made that night, left me with her valuables and as time passed I noticed she wasn’t anywhere to be found.  We were getting ready to take a group picture, and I was concerned about being responsible for my friend’s possessions.  I noticed that the friend she had come to the restaurant with was out on the patio sitting with the famous MMA fighter.  I went outside to see if she would take back her friend’s stuff.  I chatted with her for awhile and all of the guys thought I was pretty cool for watching her stuff and bringing it to her friend.  I realized my back was to the famous guy and thought I was being rude so I extended my hand and introduced myself.

I’m not sure what happened in that moment, but sometimes I am kind of a soul reader and I sensed a deep sensitive soul. He was interested in my involvement with the group I was there with and I told him about my “Hunger Games Book”.  I asked him about his career and how well he was doing.  When he told me he was #2 in the world, he seemed a little offended that I didn’t know.  This was embarrassing so I bowed out of the conversation and went back to my friends inside the restaurant.

When I got home, I googled the famous fighter and a few weeks later started following him on Twitter.  Little by little I got more interested in the local team of fighters and started following most of them on twitter as well.  I received a tweet once that said-Facebook where you learn to hate the people you know.  Twitter-where you learn to love the people you don’t know. I guess that is what happened.  The guys were funny and interesting and I became a fan.  I started watching the fights and only saw one that was gruesome and it didn’t involve any of our local fighters.  The guys from our local team appear to have a philosophy of get the job done without too much damage to yourself or your opponent.

I have had a few more opportunities to meet members of the local team and recently attended a press conference promoting a big fight that will be held here in town in a few months.  I got my picture taken with one of the guys at the conference.  So now I am a fan of a sport that only a year ago I condemned.  Now I see the sport as more than just a sport, but people dedicated to an art and to fitness and to each other.  In becoming a fan and communicating to the team, I have added more followers on Twitter and have had opportunity to promote my pursuits. It has been an interesting lesson in humility and judgment.

As Paul said in ‘1 Corinthians 9:22

 I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some-(even MMA fighters and their fans.)