Jan 4, 2013

A "West Wing" Observation

The election took place since my last post. It's probably obvious I'm an Obama fan which relates slightly to this post. Perhaps it's more about good television and values. Over the holidays, television becomes repeats and a bit lackluster. My husband and I began a seven season West Wing marathon. We actually started with Season 2, ran the gamut, and are now watching Season 1 which serves as backfill for many of our questions of how things began.

Our first observation was that the show is still outstanding in every respect. The issues then are the issues now. Watching the electoral process and a transition of one president to another was eye opening and saddening. We know the ingoing president inherits the weight of the world caused by past presidents and current events. We know an oppositional Congress can block anything the president knows to be good for the country. Even the most well meaning, good hearted, educated, and experienced president must bow to unwanted compromise. Even back then (1999-2006), gun violence was a huge issue. Interestingly, so was gay marriage and marijuana which were "positively no can do" back then; but look at us now.

Mostly what I wanted to say relates to the level of violence that enters our environment even in our perceptibly safe homes. For days we were immersed in excellent television. Even when world or U.S. conflicts arose in the plot, violence was spoken of but not shown for all to see. The post 9/11 episodes focused on more security but not bloodshed.

As a break from our marathon I was fortunate to see light movies...love stories or romantic comedies. However, several days ago, I saw a movie that brought the current world back to me. It felt so overpowering after having had a break from it. So much violence...blood, gore, guns, killing. It literally turned my stomach. My formerly favorite shows of NCIS, Bones, and similar award-winning shows I can no longer watch because of gruesome scenes thrust in front of my eyes without warning. Every crime show finds it necessary to have autopsy scenes or graphic crime scenes includes missing limbs and grotesque wounds. I listen to the shows my husband likes but swear each time my eyes happen to glance up, it's something too late to get out of my mind.

I do believe media has made violent crimes and use of guns "normal". I abhor the idea that our Congress and the NRA think more guns is the answer. This is not a safe world. Reality is good in moderation. The media takes every opportunity to run horrific violence over and over ad nauseum until people either become numb or consciously turn it off for their sanity. Perhaps if we all began to turn it off instead of increasing the ratings for such shows, we would be heard. I know it's difficult to not watch Mark Harmon but the sound of Ducky's voice makes me want to change channels by association to his graphic scenes.

It's bad enough as a law abiding peaceful citizen; however, as a trauma survivor, the level of violence (especially when sudden) exacerbates my fear and can trigger my PTSD. I had to stop watching Criminal Minds once and for all because it became just far too intense. As I've healed, I've become more aware and less numb. Enough is enough. Isn't it?