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Monday, October 18, 2010


big bald bruce

The action movie of the day was LIVE FREE AND DIE HARD. It did all the extravaganza action movie moves, guns, car wrecks, helicopters blowing up, and for the climax, explosions galore. Who'd'a guessed it? In these movies it's the how not the what. We go into it knowing the what. It's the how of it that holds our attention. I have to say it was a very well made movie, good script, funny and gripping, both, sometimes at the same time. For a long time I never gave Bruce Willis his due, until Pulp Fiction. I gained respect for him as an actor there. Haven't seen much of him since, but went into this one fully aware of what it was, and with respect for Willis, looking forward to see what he's doing. I'd heard a good report from a friend who likes his movies, so decided to have a Bruce Willis shootout for a change from Steven Seagal and Hong Kong gangster movies. Even the corniness thrown in for boxoffice worked well. Powerful man saving beautiful young woman, in this case his daughter, all the more reason for him to go all out as fast as he can get it done.

Several times I found myself sitting on the edge of the chair pulling for him, crawling over the floor with machine guns blowing out the windows and him crawling on his elbows through the glass. I can't count the number of times that happened. He took a sidekick along with him, a computer hacker essential to the story, a kid he'd picked up for the FBI that was looking for him not just today, but now, for some hacking crimes that were really serious. Lieutenant Detective Bruce Willis is assigned finding him and getting him to FBI in DC now. He found the kid, young computer nerd in his 20s, had never done anything but school and computers. At the same time he learns that 5 men with machine guns were there to kill him. From there, it became Bruce Willis super tough guy going through all he had to do with guns and fists and feet to protect this guy at the same time he needed him for computer hacking to find a hacker who was creating nationwide panic.

The kid, what Willis called him, was freaked at first by Willis's bravery and his ease killing people. Early on, a guy trying to kill them was hanging onto the side of his car while Willis was
trying to get away. He ran close by a trash container and smeared the guy. The kid said, "Did you see that!" Willis said, laughing, "Yeah. I did it." Willis carried this kid through firefight after firefight and automotive adventures making right and left angle turns sliding sideways with
a helicopter chasing them shooting machine guns. When he started a car, he'd say, "Buckle up." Everybody that goes after him ends up dead. It was fast paced, eye candy popping all the time. In the beginning we get a little bit of character identification, finding out who the character is Willis is playing, his story in brief, what kind of guy he was, his reputation for being super bad, like that. Once we were acquainted with all the characters, all hell broke loose right up to the very end. By the end, he'd saved the fair maiden and the kid ended up firing his first two shots saving them from getting killed. Kid and girl fall in love. Fatherinlaw to be respects the kid and wants him for his daughter while pretending not to for the fun there was in it.

For weeks, maybe months the front of my mind has been occupied with one of the great moral issues of humanity. Murder. Killing. Dying. All over the world, all the way along, all through the course of humanity, maybe 50,000 years, people killing each other has gone on so gloriously for so long it's one of our hardest traditions to break in collective humanity. FBI kills people, CIA kills people and it's don't ask, don't tell. Government kills with impunity. A lot of democrat politicians with a good chance to win have gone down in plane crashes that left no evidence of what went wrong. It doesn't seem to happen to repubs much. Maybe they can afford better planes. Military is all about killing. A glorification around killing. Uniforms, heroes, medals, praise and position make killing the most serious of human events.

In American films especially, since we're the gun capital of the world, unimpeded killing goes on. Red dots appear on somebody's chest and red fluid spews out of them and the man falls. That's the last we see of him. His role is over. No funeral, no family in grief. Perfectly casual killing. We Americans grow up watching casual killing on tv every day of our lives. Once the killing is done, it's on to the next scene. No carrying out the body, no mother, wife, kids crying. The corpse vanishes once it hits the floor. Out of sight, out of mind, on to the next killing. All the way through, killing and more killing, no problem, on to the next one with much anticipation.

In movies, in government, in politics, in the corporate world, law enforcement, on the news, killing is casual as putting a coin in a parking meter. Yet if I were to kill somebody, even involuntary manslaughter, there'd be hell to pay. Arrested, shoved around with hands cuffed behind my back, kept in jail until the trial, then probably life in prison. If the CIA paid me $50,000 to make a hit, it would be a great thing. I could buy a really nice new car. It would be a glorious thing to do, because it's for country. But getting pist off at somebody and killing him or her is strictly forbidden, especially with intent. The Bible is full of murder from beginning to end, much of it glorified. For my point of view, the crucifixion was a depiction of how organized religion casts out and kills the spirit. Religion has been behind many a slaughter. Puritans burning psychic women.

If I'm supposed to burn in hell if I kill somebody, I can't help but wonder about a President who signs an order to drop two atomic bombs on major cities without warning. He was glorified. A great decision in American history. Does he go to heaven on account of that? I don't see how the man could sleep after that. Nor do I see how he could keep from going mad. They say he was acting as a role, not as a man. But still, it's a man in the role. I've thought so much about it I've thought myself into a quandary.

This morning at Selma's Backwoods Bean coffee shop a man was talking about the upcoming election with the practice voting form, talking about the various ones running in local elections, and suddenly said to me in some context I don't remember, "Killing is a sin, isn't it?" All I could say was, "I don't know." He questioned that. I said, "I just don't know any more. Used to think I did, but now I don't know. I don't even know what a sin is." All that has become so murky it's hard to think about it where ethics are concerned. In this circumstance it's good, in that circumstance it's bad. That's how it is with everything. All I know to do any more is love God and treat other people right. Let everybody else do what they have to do and I'll take care of my own space. That's all I know any more, if I indeed know that.

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