Saturday, September 26, 2009
Just a G Thing Baby
Like the troubled crack junkie played by Chris Rock in "New Jack City", I have fallen deeply into the world of addiction of late. I always believed my willpower could overcome any fad, any substance that threatened to take me over and bend me like a crazy straw. Sadly, however, I have been possessed by the demon that is Gangland, a TV show on the History Channel dealing with the various street gangs terrorizing cities throughout our great nation, or at least the poorer areas thereof.
I have always had a twisted fascination with the criminal element, having read murder mysteries and true crime books throughout my mildly demented childhood. Mafia movies have always been able to draw me to the theater, and I often find myself hoping the law will be unable to catch the crooks. I rooted for the Robin Hood thieves and tried to understand the mind of the psychopathic killer.
Gangland is different somehow - I don't have any urge to sympathize with their crimes. I am sympathetic with the socioeconomic situation of the average gang member and why he or she is driven to live likely to end only in either jail or death, but there are plenty of people who grow up in terrible neighborhoods and resist the temptation for an easy buck. The whole story seems so sad and wasteful of human life - in many cases lives that hardly get started before they reach their end.
So I am just a child who has watched too many movies and become enamored with the violence so often portrayed in modern blockbuster cinema? Unlikely, for I'm not a fan of blood and gore either. Hearing the stories of these killers turns my stomach at times. As a result, I am turned off by the fact that the show seems to present gangsters in a positive light at times. The narrator doesn't come out and openly say one should emulate these people, but the program does in some way make certain individuals into criminal celebrities by playing hip music while recounting their violent deeds.
In fact, those thugs that are more violent and cold-blooded seem to earn extra time spent reflecting on their "impressive" deeds. Rarely is their behavior criticized, with the exception of a terse summary at the episode's conclusion. I can easily picture prospective gang members being turned onto the lifestyle by the way it is presented.
Regardless of these complaints I make, I still sit through these shows on a regular basis. What the hell is wrong with me?