Before I start the strangest column I’ve written since Cutting Room began almost a decade ago, a reminder this is MY opinion and mine alone, as per usual. Gang, let’s talk about the tragedy in Aurora. More specifically, let’s talk about how NOT to talk about the tragedy in Aurora.
- Take down your Facebook profile picture with a ribbon and Batman in it. Now. Your intentions may be holy but you are unintentionally joining two things together that shouldn’t be and look insincere while doing it.
- As I said instantly on my Twitter account after hearing the news, this tragedy has as much to do with Batman and movies as Virginia Tech’s massacre had to do with engineering classes. Don’t confuse setting and circumstance with causation. This was a troubled soul hellbent on evil, not a movie buff.
- Avoiding theaters, or specifically The Dark Knight Rises, is like swearing off milk because a cow kicked someone in a dairy. Theaters are not any more likely to be hotspots for violence than schools, churches, bars or any public place to which a madman has access.
- Don’t write a think-piece putting this in context of movie themes or use it for page views on your blog. We’re better than that.
- Finally, don’t you dare talk about how it makes you feel knowing that you were watching the same movie at the same time. Just don’t.
So how do we talk about this?
- Carefully. Use this as an opportunity to discuss gun control measures and as a chance to explore issues of access to mental health services.
- Keep the focus on the things you love (movies) and off the things you hate (a murderer). Don’t seek out information on the assailant and make him infamous. Instead, comment on my Dark Knight Rises review and tell me why I’m wrong (or right, I’d like that one better).
This isn’t the first time violence and cinema has been linked, but it is one of the more significant. For better or worse, this weekend won’t be remembered for box office records but for something ugly beyond our control. However, where the conversation goes from here, is up to us.
Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).