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Showing posts with the label violence in books

Disposable Bad Guys

There's been a discussion on one of my chat groups concerning the casual killing of "bad guys" in movies and books. There are two schools of thought. First, it's escapist fiction, so it's supposed to by over-the-top. I enjoy the characters in NCIS-LA, but in almost every episode there is a scene where they blow away everyone who might be a bad guy.    No one ever investigates afterward. Nobody gets put on administrative leave until it's determined the shooting was "righteous."    No foreign government demands the U.S. answer for agents who shot up a whole neighborhood. If they even make a peep, someone, usually Henrietta, "handles" it. The question of whether all those deaths were warranted is ignored.   The assumption is the good guys are the good guys, so they get to kill bad guys. Period. The opposing arguments hold that indiscriminate killing sends the wrong message, in fact, a whole bunch of wrong messages.    Shoot first

Blood & Guts in Mysteries

 In classic Greek theater, violence happens offstage. If someone's going to kill himself, he tells you so then exits. If the hero and the bad guy engage in a duel to the death, they'll thrust and parry "stage right and exeunt." Only one will return. It's partly good taste, the belief that audiences shouldn't have to see such things. I suspect the other part is more practical: a good death scene is difficult to stage--and what do you do with the corpse afterward? Shakespeare takes the easy way many times, too. People come in carrying dead bodies, like Lear bearing poor Cordelia; or parts of them, as Macduff does with Macbeth's head. Easy to make a fake head, not so easy to make it appear the head of a living actor is being separated from his body. Today we have all kinds of tricks to make on-stage deaths look real. If you've seen the Three Musketeers decapitate the evil Milady just as the theater goes dark, or the trick of light in Les Miserables t