Saturday, May 31, 2008

How to offend people nowadays?

In high school, a few like-minded friends of mine and I wrote a screenplay for a dark comedy exploring the potential hilarity to be found in "Stockholm Syndrome."

Fiction should challenge you, and if it does its job, you should feel vaguely uncomfortable after reading it. The best and most important aesthetic values are: antiheroism, open-endedness, abstraction, ambiguity, irony, and self-doubt.

So, it's important to surprise people. But how? People aren't shocked by sex anymore. It's sad but true: the evil Tipper Gores of the world are expiring. Heart disease is often the cause, but I don't believe it. I doubt any of them have a heart. A good rule of thumb: those that yell loud enough about their own morality are usually the evilest people of all.

It's still possible to offend, you just have to get clever, that's all.

Here's a shocking and offensive idea for you: certain types of women, in physically and emotionally abusive relationships, either because of lack of courage or an inability to see the situation as it really is, refuse to leave their abusive circumstances, and by sticking around an abusive marriage or relationship, they're partially responsible for the abuse continuing.

The abused person's own attitudes are extremely frustrating, and so self-destructive that it's very, very hard to be sympathetic towards them. In our culture we usually extend great sympathy to victims of abusive relationships, and rightly so. It's not hard to see why the idea would be truly offensive.

Hot on the heels of that other idea, it's also true that a great many sexually abused children, and also raped women, come to sympathize with their rapists and molesters, as well as identify with them. Some of them may even grow to "love" their molesters or rapists. Something like that, presented coldly, unjudgmentally and without a sense of disgust, has great potential to be shocking and disturbing.

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