Thursday, May 3, 2012

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

odd to be raised on radio. i hovered over the speaker for shows like the shadow, the red eye of the dial shining in the dark. and their catch phrases stuck in the mind like the chorus of a pop song. inner sanctum, sam spade, phillip marlowe. the detectives and hit-men haunted my dreams. believe it or not, i find radio more real than television. when i heard about the twin towers being hit, i watched the video once or twice, then i turned on the boom box. the screams of people in the streets, the sirens, all of it seemed less like the cliche the films of the event would eventually become.

and the same goes for movies like clockwork orange. i never watched it, fearing it would give nightmares. this past week the local blue room theatre staged a version, and i found it - may i say, liberating? sex and violence, no wonder it's been a staple of civilization since the beginning. look at roman statues, if you don't believe me. okay, i thought, let's compare it to the movie. fifteen minutes into the flick, i realized the difference. stanley kubrik's version cold as ice, the satire leaving no room for human suffering. 

like radio, the live performance more real. even though it followed the same script, the presence of human beings being raped, beaten, killed, showed their bodily pain in a way the silver screen can only imitate. and because of this carnality, you couldn't accept all people as fools and/or cruel. the villains couldn't get away with merely delighting in savagery. like the hero who's taught to be sick when trying to commit felonious acts, i felt my stomach turn over even as i laughed. i understood the ironies without giving into them.

my friend, dennis polumbo, recently wrote an article on the difficulties of an author creating believable villains, urging the writers to find the potential brutality in the own souls. this not as easy as it seems. i realized long ago people give up creating art for two reasons: they don't want to reveal themselves and they don't want to spend so much time alone. those who persist discover one of the great delights of writing: THE DEVIL HAS ALL THE GOOD LINES. 

i'm convinced any one of us could become a killer, given the right circumstances, and it can become a habit as it did for the protagonist of the brazilian film city of god. our first justification can become a long-term conviction. true, the german soldiers gunning down hundreds of helpless people at babi yar did get sick to their stomachs and the powers that be turned to concentration camps instead. the gunmen learned the lesson of clockwork orange and i hope they suffered like hell. 

my photos from the stage show:

and the article by dennis polumbo well worth reading: 
Click here: Dennis Palumbo: Is Your Psycho Killer Just...Psycho?

and a link for the theater: