People who know me quickly learn that I’m seldom shocked by the things I see on TV or in movies. (Ironically, I was really disgusted at times when I read Push.) At first I thought it was weird but as an adult I realized what the issue is. (Although I don’t get shocked easy, there are things that I refuse to watch: Think Glee, Nick Cage movies, most things involving Tyler Perry, Vince McMahon or fantasy football.) I just watched the wrong things as a kid and teenager and now I’m just react to crazy ish I see on screen like Carl on The Rickey Gervais Show reacts to everything – He just goes “hmmm” and nods his round head. Here are two of the things that contributed to the numbing and desensitization of Wu.
The final shoot out of The Wild Bunch.
As far as Westerns go, Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch is the most violent one I’ve ever seen in my life. This particular scene of The Wild Bunch successfully desensitized me to violence forever. ***The actually violence starts at about 3 minutes 29 seconds in when the guy’s throat is cut. After the Kraut catches the .45 ACP in the chest and Borgnine starts laughing things really pick up a bit. *** (Granted I hate the Hostel and Saw franchises. The violence doesn’t bother me, I just find it to be a complete waste of time. Serial killer, bear trap. Nekkid girl, stab. Nekkid horse, stab, stab. Creepy serial killer, stab, rape, stab.) I remember watching this with my Daddy one day when I was in middle school. I don’t know why it was on broadcast television but this movie was a shoot ‘em up film from beginning to end with the hyperlinked scene being one of the most violent 9 – 10 minutes on celluloid ever. If I don’t ever seem squeamish it my Pops and Sam Peckinpah’s faults.
***Side note*** Earnest Friggin’ Borgnine is still around. I remember he was on E.R. a few years ago but he was on SNL and in the movie Red this year. Holy freakin’ Air Wolf Batman.
I can’t find any video of this but I will always remember this. I’ve always been a bit of a news head so one night in high school I was up late and ABC’s Nightline came on. This episode was dealing with Liberia’s tumultuous domestic situation at the time. Charles Taylor, blood diamonds, and Sierra Leone were all in play. I’ll never forget footage of some Liberian rebels/militia/freedom fighter types dragging a prisoner through the streets of Monrovia by his neck. What came next mad The Wild Bunch look like and after school special. The prisoner was forced to his knees while pleading for his life, then one of the rebel/militia/freedom fighter types proceeded to cut Hoss’s ear off. While dude was bleeding profusely the wolf pack mentality began to set in and they kicked the crap out of the poor guy. ***This all takes place over a span of a few minutes. *** Finally one of the rebel/militia/freedom fighter types pulls his pistol and shots the guy in the head. (No time for the weather. Tiffany!) I finished watching the episode of Nightline and just went to bed. I didn’t feel bad but I was just puzzled. I remember asking my debate coach/history teacher Mr. Siren about it the next day and he gave me more background on it. He asked “What do you think Wu?”
I bluntly said, “Africa is ****ed up!” *He’d let you curse occasionally.* He nodded and reminded me of what he had taught my ninth grade World History class about colonialism and artificial borders.
To be honest, there’s no way in hell I should’ve even seen The Wild Bunch at 12 or 13. I’m still trying to rap my head around it being on broadcast TV during the middle of the day. Granted it was the edited version but it was still pretty damn bad. As for the Nightline incident it just made me more curious about news and history.
Like I said not much bothers me these days. It’s sad that I always utter “I’ve seen worse.” to myself when things like this are on. There are things that I do find vile like Hostel, Saw, and Why Did I Get Married? but I just keep it moving.
So class, is there anything that you watched as a kid that just made you say “Eh.” Totally removed your ability to be horrified by images?
What are they? You can tell Wu.
Vaya con Dios.
*Seriously, don’t look at me like that. I’m not a weirdo.*