Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Jaws was on television last night--a film I have watched so often I know many parts by heart. When I was little and my parents worked different shifts, my dad's idea of childcare involved heavy amounts of Rambo, Clint Eastwood, and repeated screenings of Jaws. I became totally desensitized to the terror of the film, laughing when Chrissy's leg washed up on the beach. My family likes to tell a story about how I'd know when Quint was about to get eaten, and I'd yell, "bye bye, Quint!" as the mighty shark ingested the crusty old barnacle.

I wonder if it is a bad or a good thing to feel desensitized in that manner? On one hand this beginning has made me a better rugby player. Dinosaur-shaped lumps on teammates' heads? Veiny, heinous black eyes? Pieces of skin stuck to my arm from a maul gone bad? No big deal! Wipe my hands on my shorts, blow a snot rocket, keep running. I'm fine. (Perhaps I can begin to tell my mom that my father actually made me play rugby inadvertently. Finally! A "culprit"!)

On the other hand, there is something a bit sad to me that I have for years welcomed gore with such glee. Today I looked eagerly at photograph's of my friend's tumor, removed via surgery. I was fascinated, asked mundane questions about its length, while others backed away horrified. I wonder sometimes if I am not in tune enough with human suffering.

I thought of all this because, at the same time Quint was taking his trip down a shark's gullet, Lolo Jones was busy not winning her hurdle race. Reporters swarmed her to ask, "Lolo--your dreams have been crushed and all you've worked for has flashed by in a giant fart. How do you feel right now?" They later zoomed in on her crying in the hallway. Why do I want to see things like this? How have I helped to develop an audience that demands such questions of reporters?

I'm starting to think it was a better decision for Corey and I to not have access to television. I may have been out of the loop, but at least I wasn't sitting at home mocking the facial hair of the female power lifters or riveted to the screen while the news featured wind surfers being hurled through the air with CGI-like speed.

Jaws II is on television tonight. We turned it off and are sitting downstairs reading instead.

1 comment:

Em said...

Good on the women powerlifters for not shaving. That takes guts.