Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's Try This Again Next Year

I've been pretty spotty with my writing lately, mostly because I try to give real life priority when it starts demanding it. Lately, real life has been pretty needy. But any concerns in my life pale in comparison to those of the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut this past weekend. To be honest, I don't even want to write about the shootings. I don't want to think about them. I avoided any news for the entirety of last weekend because there were details I just simply didn't want to know. I'm not sure if it was the magnitude of the tragedy or the fact that having been a teacher increases the emotional proximity, but the news hit me in a way that events I'm personally disconnected from usually don't.

Almost as if on cue came the cries of blame - the endless search for some connection, some simple explanation to a supremely irrational event. At best, these accusations were aimed at a constructive solution to prevent events like this from recurring. At worst, they used the tragedy to fuel the fires of their own hatred. It now appears that any attempt at a rational explanation is increasingly futile, as the connections between the killer and his victims become tenuous to the point of vanishing. I've long imagined true horror to be evil that exists without obeying logic. This, if anything, fits that description.

I realize that this post might seem somewhat out of place in what's typically a film blog, but I can't at the moment disengage myself from the real-life horror of Newtown to write about fictional horror. While I'd like to believe the films and media I consume exist in a space separate from reality, it's impossible for me to pretend that there's no overlap between the two. Films are a lens that I use to examine the real world at a safe distance, but at a time like this, the image doesn't need any magnification or distortion. Nothing that we can imagine and superimpose on reality could ever match the horrifying senselessness of a gunman opening fire on children in an elementary school. The reality needs to sit there, stark, and fade slowly on its own accord.

When I sat down this week to write a new post about a film, I came up dry. It felt petty. I can't summon the emotional wherewithal to send all the true horror to the back of my mind and separate the twin realms of film and reality. I can't force myself to analyze fake murder and make light of death when the real thing looms so prominently.

These are my failings, not that of filmmakers, authors, bloggers, or the genre we all spend so much time poring over. I've said before, and I still maintain that the horror genre is a necessary tool to examine the evil in the world from a place of safety. I'm not abandoning this blog or neglecting it out of some new fundamental disdain for horror. There simply isn't enough space in my head to accomodate both the real and the fictional right now.

I'll be back next year, hoping to write more consistently, and hoping that society will become increasingly compassionate and humane in the wake of an act more terrible than any film or novel could imagine. Until then, thanks for indulging my digressions. I hope you're able to enjoy the holidays with those that you love.

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