Grab some red wine, popcorn and make yourself comfortable on the sofa. We bet that I will be able to enchant you?
We live in a society where no one wants to take responsibility. A man can make mistakes, but he can always say that it is because of something else, perhaps he had a very unhappy childhood, perhaps he was influenced by the politician on duty, or by the films he watches. It’s certainly not his fault!
This is a very widespread thought and over the years I have found it in real life and in films, in TV series and books. We always try to justify evil, perhaps because the idea that someone does it knowingly, with the intention of doing harm, scares us too much. It is easier if we think that that person had no choice, was disturbed, or manipulated or unconscious of bad deeds.
Today, the main justification is the media.
The media are violent.
The media incite violence.
But even so, is it really that easy to be influenced?
Isn’t it true that there is a personal individuality that can and must prevent the media, or any other external motivation, from inducing us to behave worse than beasts?
If rationality is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal world, why is it so easy to point out something other than us, rather than take responsibility for our actions?!
Congruence with an assumed commitment or behavior, as it matters and implies the acceptance of any consequence, spec. from the point of view of moral and legal sanctions.
I’m not here to write an essay on personal responsibilities, but reading “Pop Corn” I can’t help but reflect on this topic. The most chilling thing about this 1997 Ben Elton thriller is how topical it is. Twenty years later it’s still dangerously close to what could happen!
“Wayne and Scout are psychopaths who kill people for no apparent reason. In reality, they have modeled Bruce Delamitri, a famous crime director, who, according to the two killers, must take responsibility for his actions, and for this they enter his house on the night of the Oscars and start a show to the massacre. Waynes and Scout’s plan is to send Bruce live on every television network to reiterate that his films have had such a profound impact on them that they have been driven to kill. This way Wayne and Scout, although guilty, are not ultimately responsible and could avoid the electric chair. If Bruce does not confess his responsibility in front of the cameras, they will kill everyone present at Bruce’s house, including his young daughter.
The televised debate doesn’t get much share, but when one of the killers shoots and kills one of the hostages suddenly the views skyrocket.
Wayne and Scout then make an offer, they will stop killing only if EVERYONE turns off the TV. If there isn’t even a spectator watching, the hostages will be safe. If people keep watching instead, the slaughter will continue…. “
The word “responsibility” is often used throughout the novel, both in the narrative text and in the dialogue.
But who is responsible here? The media? The murderers? Bruce? Or… the spectators?
After all, it would be enough to turn off the TV to save the lives of these people. But … will they?
And you, would you do it?
Death is a bet, curiosity, deception, the probability that he will do it seriously, adrenaline.
Valar Morgulis say in GoT, so why not enjoy it? Hasn’t death been a show since the days of the gladiators in the Colosseum?
Didn’t they bet on the tiger or the best gladiator?
Why should it be any different today?
Because, have we evolved?
Are we ?????
Ten years later “Live” was released at the cinema with Eva Mendes, in which it is decided that the usual reality shows have become boring, it’s time to raise the stakes: a great Roussian Roulette will be broadcast live!
Spectators will see people shoot themselves in the head live, the winners will have a lot of money … the loser …
Another extreme example. Another example in which it would be enough for NO ONE to turn on the TV.
“Pop Corn” is one of those readings that leads the reader to wonder what kind of person he is. Would he let the hostages die to satisfy his curiosity? “After all, if I don’t look, someone else will do it…”. And who do you blame? Wayne and Scout or Bruce and his extremely violent movies?
Is the responsibility of those who physically carry out the action or of those who look at it without stopping?
It is not a novel for the weak.
It is not a novel for those who let their life slip on them.
It is a novel that stabs you with its cruel irony, and that after twenty years is so current that it makes you pale.
We haven’t gotten to the live murder yet, but could you put your hand on the fire that some producer didn’t really propose it?
And most importantly, you … would you watch it?