So there has been some dialogue about the role of mental illness in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. If mental health care was better could it have been prevented? Are withdrawn violent prone children the future mass murderers of America? Can you determine something like that from early behavioral patterns?
It suddenly occurred to me that these are some of the questions addressed in two very different films. One is Looper and the other is We Need to Talk About Kevin. Both feature mothers who take care of troubled withdrawn children. And of course it's always the struggle of the mother in the role of caretaker. The children are smart but have some kind of autism spectrum disorder. The children appear antisocial, sometimes even violent, and we as an audience are asked to question whether these children are safe or good for society.
It's an interesting thought because they're children. But even children in this society are put under the kind of black and white judgement so common in American rhetoric. Good innocent children are blameless and mourned. Bad children who kill their families, shoot their classmates, and (in the case of females) show their breasts to strangers have to some degree "it coming." When you kill someone unprompted and without reason that is wrong. That is a given. But you can't put a child (someone under 18) into the same category as adults. People like to think that they can but they can't. Developmentally and biologically that doesn't make any sense.
I think that's what I love so much about Looper. Is someone born evil or do they become evil? Can you look at a murderer and go, "oh yeah I can see how his life has led up to him becoming a murderer." In the end there are too many factors involved in turning someone from zero to murder to attribute it only to biology. Or abuse. Or circumstance. For example, the 12-year-old child a while back who shot his mother and sibling? That was terrible but I was disgusted by the response many had. Throw that kid in jail. Of course he deserves life. He should be tried as an adult for his crimes. Fuck him. So our response as a society is to take someone who has not even matured to any definition of a 21st century adult and put them into the system for the rest of their lives? Where they can subsist off of tax dollars, gain access to health care that most Americans who aren't incarcerated can only dream of, and languish behind bars forever? That's the solution? So often people's responses are simply to punish but they don't think about what happens after.
A little extra time spent trying to understand why these things happen and how you can assist parents with troubled children, children who have issues dealing with anger and normal social cues, could make all the difference. But not just to prevent murders. So that you can help every person out there be a benefit to society, not a burden. So that you aren't marked from day one by your mental illnesses and your past mistakes. I mean for fuck's sake, I guarantee a legitimate mental health care bill costs five times less than what we spend annually on the goddamned military.
My second thought of the day?
Angelina Jolie's directing a movie about a WWII POW. I mention this because I find the vitriol around Jolie to be interesting and also a prime example of how our society tries to pit women against one another. Why do people hate Jolie? Because she's pretentious? Because she's so fake? Because she stole a married man away from America's sweetheart? Because she's probably a bitch and also she's weird looking and GOD she's just annoying!
These aren't real reasons to hate anyone, especially because if you ask someone why they think she's fake they'll say something along the lines of, "well I mean, all that humanitarian work she does. You know she's just doing it for attention. Or whatever."
Oh REALLY!? You think she travels around the globe living in horrible conditions working with refugees and disease ridden populations for attention?! It reminds me of this Cracked article
C posted on Facebook. In it the guy wrote that people will always try and shit on people who do things, who create things, who make something of themselves. Jolie is a beautiful woman who has become one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. And she doesn't like to be nice all the time and she doesn't always give interviews and sometimes she's weird and she's not candid about her life and when you ask her about it she gets defensive. She doesn't think her job as an actress is the most important thing in her life and she let's her daughter dress like a boy and cut her hair short and play with BB guns.
So of course when she does something like "direct a movie!!" she has shit on. Oh now she thinks she can direct? What a fucking snob.
No you asshole. She's trying to create something.
Oh of COOOURRSE she's making a film about Bosnia because she's SOOOO self-righteous.
Like no. Just. Fuck you.
Look. I'm sure that woman has an ego the size of Jupiter on her. I'm sure she's extremely self-confident, doesn't like to talk to just anyone, and thinks some of the stuff she does is incredibly important. Well you know what? No one shat on Steve Jobs for that kind of behavior and he didn't exactly start a Bill and Melinda Gates foundation or anything. No Jolie didn't invent the iPad but what the hell is anyone else doing to make this world better? Are we supposed to be mad at her for deciding that the first piece of work she is going to create for herself is going to be something that highlights a really horrible woman's rights failure in human history? Am I supposed to be smug that it wasn't a critical darling even though it was her first movie and no one's first movie is the Godfather?
People love to attack the character of others, especially women, in order to diminish their accomplishments and demonize them for the things they do. I'm not Jolie's biggest fan. I mean... I guess she was good in Girl Interrupted but other than that I've never been crazy impressed with her acting. I am impressed with her humanitarian work though. I don't give a shit why she does what she does. She's still a thousand times better than me or probably 99.9% of the people out there who like to give her shit for it. Because she's already contributed more to society than me or those assholes.
In fact I kind of love that she's always seemed like someone who really just doesn't care. Her entire persona seems to boil down to, "Oh you think my role as a goodwill ambassador is a put on? That's so cute. I'm going to go meet with the ambassador to Egypt now, right before I go bang my smoking hot husband and take care of my half dozen young children. Because I couldn't give a flying fuck."