We live in a society that is bent on "safe." Germs, we are warned, are everywhere; on our floors, cabinets, walls, dashboards, air, and hands. Watch afternoon TV and you're attacked by ads for cleaners, disinfectants, and disposable "this and thats" -- all of which are designed to keep you and your family cocooned in a tomb of protective safety. Airport security protects you from terror across the world, while alarms, dogs, mace, bolts, fences and walls separate you from the violence that threatens outside your own front door. America is frightened, and television brings it all home.
I remember the films and TV shows I watched as a child as well as I recall my best friend's face. TV was our pal. Blockbusters at the big screen were captivating and commanding spectacles that we flocked to and talked about with friends. Big films morphed fashion, music, attitudes and even language. Hollywood tells us where we are, what we imagine, and what we are talking about more distinctly than any other book, poem, and oral history ever has.
Ever since I was at a metro stop and saw a poster of Wesley Snipes aiming his gun in The Art of War at the head of a woman waiting for a bus, I've been waiting for America's caviler attitude about guns to reach little children. This week Disney launched its D-Day assault. With the advertisements for G-Force gracing every highway across America, big artillery has reached the "cute" stage. No more Steamboat Willie, now Disney's adorable rodents are armed to the hilt with machine guns and AK-47's. Imagine Walt rolling over in his grave angry at what his namesake has wrought in America's subliminal mind.
America is a circular firing range. Violence is being adorably romanticized by Disney's advertisement. Callousness about guns has reached the flood level. In movie posters and popular culture, we've allowed guns to signal action and thrills simply because we've settled for the bang over the big writing. Just watch Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory to learn what a gun can do, or lose a child over a battle in the streets or in a war overseas and you'll feel the scars and tears that guns and violence deliver. I often imagine the sorrow and senselessness a victim of a gun shot must feel in their final moments as they bleed to death -- for nothing on the streets.
Today, driving through the canyons of Sunset Boulevard between the billboards and buildings it's easy to see guns everywhere. Get Smart, Tropic Thunder, and even Angelina Jolie's Wanted sported guns crisscrossing through their posters and billboards. Tobacco and alcohol have been ridiculously banned form advertising, but guns -- it seems, are okay to be scrawled anywhere -- for any reason.
If you're driving down the highway over the next week and your child looks out the windshield and shouts, "I wanna see G-Force", pull down the sun visor and change the subject. Tell him "it's not a movie but subversive mush that feeds on the worst sociological low, and soon -- before it's too late, I'm gonna give the world a piece of my mind." Then pull out the Pruell eye drops and disinfect his eyes and remind yourself everything is clean, and it'll all be okay.