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In The Trunk Of A Car... (standard:non fiction, 1113 words)
Author: DaveAdded: Oct 29 2006Views/Reads: 2093/1291Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A brief look into a book I was reading, and the affects on my interpretation of real life situations.

I don't watch much TV.  The news I receive comes mainly from friends,
without whom I wouldn't even know about the changes in daylight savings 
time or hurricanes.  America Online helps a little, too. 

The only TV show I actually watch anymore is Prison Break.  The plot is
something to the effect of: A man is framed for the assassination of 
the Vice President's brother, and is sentenced to death, so his genius 
brother is trying to break him out of prison.  They succeeded in 
breaking out at the end of last season, Season Two.  This season, which 
started tonight, they've escaped and are now on the run, while a select 
few people try desperately to expose the truth. 


One of my goals is to read a different, substantial (in content rather
than in length) book each month.  Last month I finished Atlas Shrugged, 
which I hear is a remarkable feat to finish on your first time.  I was 
surprised to hear from a trustworthy source that this is the second 
most influential piece of literature ever written (next only to the 
Bible), and I can see why.  In this book, Ayn Rand shares her 
convictions and personal beliefs on every pertinent subject, from 
family, relationships, ability vs. need, love, brotherhood, and all are 
underscored with her fervent love of "objectivism." 

Atlas Shrugged was my choice of last month, and is highly recommended to
everyone who is willing to tackle an immense piece of literature in the 
pursuit of personal betterment.  This month, the book of choice is a 
for shorter (but still quite poignant) Regarding the Pain of Others, by 
Susan Sontag.  Sontag explores the methods humans use in conveying the 
pain of others, particularly in photographs, and the motive for doing 
so.  More importantly, she is exploring the means by which humans 
detach from these photographs in order to not feel the pain conveyed by 
the photographer.  The same concept is true for all of the visual 
imagery we receive.  How many people do you know who don't like to 
watch the news because it's "all negative."  And yet, these negative 
aspects of life continue to entrance many viewers, but without the 
emotional impact that we allowed ourselves to feel in our youth (or 
perhaps we had not yet developed the mental devices used used to block 
out these feelings).  Sontag cites the fact that whether we are awed 
by, appalled by, or indifferent to these images, few of us feel any 
desire to influence these happenings or to keep them from occurring.  
In any case, I think she's going to explore this field next, and 
possibly encourage us to allow these images to strike us and become 
activated by them. 


So, here I am, half way through the book, thinking about allowing myself
to be "struck" by the images and sounds I see and here in real life and 
on TV.  I realized how detached I was to violence on TV during Prison 
Break tonight, when a main character, Veronica Nichols, was killed.  
She had been shot three times, once in the head and twice in the chest, 
and laid dead on the floor (and another character wept for her) while I 
watched with comfortable indifference from my cozy bed. 

My indifference was washed away during a commercial break as I glanced
to the book (which sat less than an arm length away), and truly allowed 
myself to feel.  My first reaction was that it was just a TV show, not 
reality, and that I didn't even really know this character.  But, this 
was a lie.  I know her better than I know any of the fallen soldiers of 
the wars on our planet.  For two seasons I've followed her, learned 
about her, attached myself emotionally, and as she lay with three 
bullets in her, I had swept it all under the rug.  She was created as a 
man (a man just as real as the soldiers still living) and represented a 
the human ability to fight for truth and justice amidst great adversity 
(a real-life concept worthy of my attention even though only appearing 
on the TV). Then, as the commercials ended and the show began again 
with her body being slung into the trunk of a car, I, too, wept for 
her.  How could I not? 

There seems to be a great struggle among modern Americans as to whether
it is even appropriate to allow one self to feel emotion based on the 
fictional events of television.  What we must remember is that these 
shows are, like the nonfictional photographs of the wars of our planet, 
created by men of purpose.  Sometimes they are created for our 

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