As much as we are a culture of information, obtaining it simply with the click of a button on a mouse, we are a culture of images. I realized this when I saw that my Facebook contained more than 2,000 images of yours truly. I looked through the album and just had to laugh at my foolish antics of who I was and who I am now. What was I thinking? How vain or narcissistic have I become? But I’ve also come to another realization–I am not the only one. Most people on socil network sights invest in their image by creating their profile to reflect or extend who they are. They post up pictures, have quotes, have likes–all for show.
Images have been ingrained in the structure of our culture–they’re invading our lives. Whether you’re on Facebook or Myspace, whether you’re walking or driving down the street, whether you’re watching TV or movies, we can’t escape images. Images are trying to sell you something, they’re trying to communicate something to you. Close your eyes, and your mind will wander to an image.
I recognize the importance of images and how powerful they can be. Take for example the famous Iwo Jima picture. The image of these soldiers putting up the glorious American flag at the battle of Iwo Jima, an island in Japan, must invoke some kind of emotion. For me, this image invokes one of courage, heroism, and sacrifice. It’s a photo that can move a nation to change and to action. This photo inspires.
But lately, our images have become dark and somewhat perverted. Maybe it’s the spirit of Halloween that made me dwell in my thoughts about what our society has become. Or maybe it’s because watching the “Saw” series has resulted to my mind being incredibly disturbed at the commentary of how cruel a human being can be to another. I don’t know.
Our TV shows and movies have become incredibly bloody and twisted. Some of my favorite TV shows like “CSI” or “NCIS” actively show a dissected corpse. Shows like “Dexter” and movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” push the envelope sometimes with all the blood and realism. Do we really need to show every graphic detail of a guy getting slaughtered. It’s painful to see another person in pain, but to watch it as a form of entertainment, regardless if it’s fake–what does that do to us? It’s become, in a way, like a sense of disturbing pornography–we get off of people’s pain, just as long as we’re not the ones getting tortured. I can’t help but think that movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” get serial killers and potential serial killers off. We’ve become a disturbing society. At least, that’s what I thought, until I realize that it was nothing new. In the Middle Ages to even as recent as the glorious days of the Wild Wild West, public executions such as beheadings or hangings were a family event.
Our attention to detail and making things appear real with the blood and guts has made me desensitized to death. Death isn’t a mystery–it’s after death.