Saturday, January 29, 2011
Why do the younger generations and even my own generation think that I should have my films, TV and literature censured in case I am 'shocked'?
Why do they think that seeing the lesbian love scene in The Black Swan is going to shock me?
Why do I need to be shielded from such scenes?
For all of my friends and colleagues where on earth do they think I have been all my life? On the moon or in a Carmelite Covent?
I am virtually unshockable, I can be 'surprised' but it takes a lot to 'shock' me.
I grew up at the ripe old age of four when I saw the opening of Belsen on the BBC in 1947. My grandfather had one of the few televisions and I was allowed to watch everything. One night on a World at War documentary there was Belsen in all its gory glory. No warnings were given that this was unsuitable for children so I just sat and watched it with my family. Not one of them either thought that the pictures were disturbing to a child of four.
I only saw the pictures once but I remembered them vividly. The skeletons piled up, the starving prisoners in the black and white stripped coats, the bulldozer bulldozing the piles of bodies into the pit. I never showed any emotion and none of my family realized the effect this film had on me from that moment on.
I grew up! I knew the world was not a kind friendly place. I lost my faith in God at that moment. I knew that any God who allowed this brutality was no loving God of mine. I became an adult. I was far more adult than any of the silly 18 year old Irish nuns to whom my father had entrusted my education. Not believing in God is not a good idea at a Dominican convent.
The had never seen this films. Few had access and for many years these films were seldom shown. Today they are almost mainstream and I have been conditioned to the horror. They are still dreadful.
Since that epiphany nothing has ever shocked me. I can cope with most things so a lesbian scene in a film is not going to have any effect. I may not like it, actually I did I thought is was beautifully directed and pleasantly erotic, but I am not 'shocked'.
Men on trains and in the streets who looked at me and decided to show me their penises in order to'shock' me were not to happy when I looked as if to say "Is that all you've got?' and the laugh! I think they were more 'shocked' than I.
With the billions of people around in the world today every horror is possible. Innocence is not a desirable quality. It is better to know the facts of life than to be shielded from them by well meaning people who think they know best. Life is not a bowl of cherries.
In my day women were shielded from life by a patronizing society. To be socially acceptable we were more or less processed to look and act stupid even if we were not. We were to be seen but not heard and our opinions dismissed. Today our manner and my manner especially really does not display just how intelligent I am. Friends and family still think I can be shocked and yet when it comes to doing something unpleasant I am the first port of call. I have arranged more funerals that the proverbial hot dinners.
It would take a lot to shock me today. I may be surprised but not shocked. I don't like sadism or masochism so I don't watch it but that is my choice. I know it goes on but it doesn't shock me.