Recently, an article pondered whether or not critics have a point when they complain that the upcoming Superman movie contains a scene that’s a little too invoking of the recent tornado tragedies in Oklahoma.
The coming film “Man Of Steel” apparently contains an epic Clark Kent encounter with a twister and an aftermath scenario. Meanwhile, public bombing plot elements in “Iron Man 3″ and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” apparently have some critics addressing whether or not the timing for releasing such scenes is right, given the still-fresh marathon bombings in Boston.
Here’s another wonderful by-product of the Instant Message Age: Too Soon-ism. This as in, “Should this movie release show this scene now? It’s just too soon. It’s too soon after [insert horrible real world event here].” It’s where society gets hyper-reactive about whether or not a film is rather insensitive and callous to include scenes in movies that are all-too-familiar to disasters and terrible events that occur just weeks or months prior to the film’s release. Now that we’re a society of websites, Twitter-tweets, and smartphones, this hypersensitivity is more prevalent and faster-emerging now than ever before.
Now, some folks find this advocate-minded sort of quibbling to be annoying as all Get-Out-Of-Smallville. But I ask this: They do make a fair point, don’t they? Must we risk making scenes in our movies that might invoke the horror of a very, very small segment of society merely for the sake of entertainment?
Let’s look at it this way. Let’s imagine a film producer in Hollywood, and somebody comes up to him with a speculative script for a film that contains a scene with a massive earthquake. Terrific. Except . . .
“Well, I dunno. With pre-shoot legalities, casting, filming, and post-production . . . It’ll likely be two years before this hits the screen. Who knows what might happen by then? A massive earthquake might hit the Philippines, or Turkey, or Chile, or Iran, or even right here in Southern California. Jesus Christ, an 8-point plus earthquake just hit Kamchatka two days ago. I don’t even know where that is! Nope. Forget it. I’ll tell this guy to go down the street. I’ll talk to that other guy who wants to make that movie about finger-painting. That’s nice, safe subject matter.”
There. Was that so hard? Of course, we all know what happens next. This producer reels in Jack Nicholson to play the lead in the finger-paint movie, Jack pops off another one of his Academy-Award calibre portrayals as the philosophizing old finger-paint artist who everybody thinks is either a screwball or a closet genius. The critics rave about it at the pre-screenings, and then, two days before the Friday night opening of the film, the following headlines emerge:
BREAKING STORY: EXPLOSION DEMOLISHES CROWDED FINGER-PAINT FACTORY IN GUATEMALA; HUNDREDS FEARED DEAD
UNSAFE WORKING CONDITIONS CITED IN GUATEMALA BLAST; FACTORY EXECS ARRESTED, DEATH TOLL RISES; PROTESTERS URGE GLOBAL FINGER-PAINT BOYCOTT
GOING TO SEE THE NEW JACK NICHOLSON FINGER-PAINT MOVIE? WHAT ARE YOU? SOME KIND OF AN ASSHOLE?
Meanwhile, a rival producer is about to totally clean up on the earthquake movie you passed up. It’s a silly old world, isn’t it?
I guess my point is this: Yeah, the upcoming Superman movie has a tornado scene in it, and it’s uncomfortably close to the tornado tragedy that recently occurred in Oklahoma. So what? Shit happens. Go watch the movie if you want.
I say that because the alternative is this: Stop enjoying your lives. Stop joking and laughing and playing with your kids. Stop watching movies and making music and writing stories. Stop indulging in escapism and whimsy. Stop trying to make the most of your time on this planet, because in doing so, you might just inadvertently belittle someone else’s trauma or horror.
Instead, light a candle, bow your head, and be silent. Pay your respects to those who have suffered shock, trauma, and loss. When your done, do it all over again. Make your life a constant, non-stop, round-the-clock vigil, and be constantly mindful of everyone else’s pain and suffering, so that no one ever will feel discarded, offended, or trivialized.
There. That’s better, isn’t it?