Hey folks, Harry here... After the recent tragedy in Arizona, the following media reaction, the back & forth... I have been a bit down regarding mankind in general. I don't know. Civility has always had me as a fan. My thoughts in the aftermath seemed a little dark for me. I hated that. So I decided to watch STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Robert Wise's Director's cut. I'm stuck in bed, healing up from a recent back injury - and as I've been stretching and working this problem out. I just, I needed something hopeful about mankind. Generally, that takes me to Roddenberry. And the most Roddenberry of the Trek films was Robert Wise's. Watching that movie, the decisions that Kirk makes, the observations of Spock and the concerns of McCoy... they're perfect. It isn't an action film, it's an unknown situation and they don't rush to judgement, they don't fire phasers, mainly because they're fucked up with the Warp Engines, so they discharge a photon torpedo to hit that asteroid in that Warp induced Wormhole... but the point is, they never act brashly. That idiot wannabe demoted Captain wanted to, but thank Roddenberry that Kirk did take over.
Right now, more than ever we as a people have a problem, we're not necessarily built to process instant half-truths and opinions at the rate they're being sent at us. This problem was building before we had the internet, but with it... it amplified. Instead of thinking with empathy... relating to the tragedy, we want to blame, get angry, go nuts. How could this happen? Fuck this 22 year old kid. Blame Palin. Blame Obama. Blame Don't Ask Don't Tell.
How about shutting up about it all. How about thinking about this being your 22 year old kid that is now called "a monster". How about, logging off line... turning off the news and just reading a good book. Why is tragedy so important to us? How about thinking about the future, your own, that of your kids, grandkids - and where, ultimately you see us as a people.
That's one of the things I loved about Roddenberry's future. It changed after Gene left us, but for a whole generation of geeks, we learned the lessons. That before you beam down, you analyze the situation, you let the experts on your side do their investigation, you let them file reports and months from now we'll get a clear picture.
Then, the question is, once we find out every thing there is to know about this... will any of that make you feel better? That little girl born on 9/11 is still dead. And none of this will bring her back. We as a people have got to calm down.
We're getting too charged up about every difference between one another. Is that really how we want to be written about in the future. That we're a rash people that held, yet squandered their promise. I know... we have a voice, we must use it. BUT THINK.
I'm tired of living in times where we HATE those with opposing views from our own. I've always tried to show tolerance here on AICN. Hell, it's why I have Massawyrm write here... It is why I let Meghan McCain come to BNAT12. Because... we have to stop being assholes to one another.
In film, I've always said there is no right or wrong opinion on film. There's only the truth we each individually experience when we watch. That's why, even when I hate a film - I'm willing to have positive (opposing thoughts) published, and vice versa. It's why, I allow Talkback to get a little crazy. For me, this little site of mine is a microcosm of the world. It's why I give voice to someone in Taipei who saw SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO. Or like tomorrow when I publish a ton of reader reviews on GREEN HORNET, both positive & negative.
All of us need to be tolerant. For all the faiths that teach us to live a peaceful path, we sure don't practice it. Well, at least not when our hands touch a keyboard, or we talk on the radio & tv. We judge, instantly, immovably and with terrible furor. We inflate the situation, give fame & attention to a tragedy, that would best be served with silence.
Imagine being a relative of someone that died in this situation, imagine being the Astronaut holding the hand of his wife. NASA holds a lot of our geek ideals. They think, long term. 1000 years from now. Somebody has to. The fact is, we're diving through our resources, we're getting angrier as a society - and I know that in my lifetime... this won't change. But tonight, as my wife crawled into bed and we were chatting and she was enjoying her early birthday present, I found this NASA video. We turned off ROBOT CHICKEN and watched it together.
Listening to the voice on this video made me feel so positive, it felt like another voice that was trying to express what I was feeling. We're a silly society, we focus all of our energies on the worst fleeting moments. Before Television & Radio & the Internet, if something like this happened. Unless you lived in the area it happened, you'd never be bothered with it. Now, it feels personal.
Growing up as a kid - I was told to Act Locally, Think Globally. It was a Hippie thing, but it is how I live my remarkably happy life. I work to make my local community as cool as possible. Right now, I'm in the process of empowering others to do the same in their areas. Why? Because I hear about it from y'all. Does it necessarily profit me? Well, I've never profited from an event I throw. I tend to do it so I can enjoy a film with a community of film lovers that over the past 15 years of AICN events... well, they've learned respect.
I've got friends of deep religious beliefs, friends that are conservative, friends that are liberal and friends that don't care about any of that. One of my oldest friends from Elementary school is a local pastor, and I love him as much as I do a couple of friends that strip for a living. They're all good souls.
Tonight, I read a story about the shooter's parents. The mother has been bedridden with grief and they are paralyzed with the horror of this. And instead of hating them, I felt compassion. What if my kid became a publicly decried monster. If anything, that's the key thought we should all be having. What would be going through your head if someone you loved suddenly became the poster boy for all sides to scream about.
I suppose the reason I think like this is my Father knew Charles Whitman. That guy that got on that tower in Texas and shot all those people. (For you FULL METAL JACKET fans) Charles Whitman was my father's Assistant Scout Master. My Grandfather was Whitman's friend. The day before Whitman got on the tower, he went to my Grandfather and tried to buy his M1 Carbine. Gramps wouldn't sell it to him, and Whitman bought one at a local gun shop. The day that Whitman opened fire, at the exact time that it happened, my father was doing PTA posters for his mother in San Antonio, and his girlfriend was crossing Guadelupe as 3 people were shot on all sides of her. One man was shot through the lung, she saw the bubbles in his blood and drug him into a TUX shop and ripped plastic off a Tux and put it on the wound. She got a commendation for saving his life. But the point was... My dad walked her across that street, at that exact time, every day. PTA might have saved his life. But even though I've grown up with this story my entire life, Dad also told that Whitman was a great guy. An awesome teacher as an Assistant Scout Master. Whitman had an undiagnosed tumor in his head. He went to doctors telling them he had visions of going up on the UT Tower and doing something terrible. They gave him a prescription for pain pills. But the autopsy on Whitman revealed a tumor. What if that's this kid's problem.
What would you do? What if it was your child shot? Your wife? Husband? Father? What if they did the shooting?
Would you be running to the nearest talk show to add to the BIG CARNIVAL of it all? BTW, at times like this, that's a good movie to watch. Especially for the media. Is the coverage making this a bigger problem? Are our actions giving comfort or throwing gasoline upon the fire. Are we profiting from tragedy?
We have so far to go as a people. We can be so much better than what we are being. I know, I'm bully pulpit-ing on a site that should probably not even discuss the situation. But well, this is where my mind went when I saw the following video.
Be an Astronaut at times like these. A figure of strength, intelligence and acting for the good of mankind. Think NASA thoughts...