Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Disturbing and Powerful TV Imagery

To a normal viewer, this might look like an inconspicuous and cute photo. But if you view it in context, this is perhaps one of the most disturbing things I've seen in my life. The image was so powerful I broke down in tears when I first saw it this evening.

Suffice it to say, I am beginning to realize how my outlook on life and thoughts about issues are changing inside, without me even knowing it. I know this is taking place because three years ago I would not have had a second thought about what happened in this photo. Yet tonight I had to speak the words out loud, "It is only a TV show." for the first time in my life.

The image depicted here is a screen capture from the Series Finale of the FX Networks show "The Shield". If you haven't seen the series, I recommend you do so. It is one of the gems in the rough, in my opinion. The series came to a climactic end as one of the main characters will be going to jail. He and his wife have been on the run for days with their innocent three year old son, Jackson. Hopped up on coke, the father gets some pain killers and mixes them in with the water. The wife and son had no idea what he was doing as he called a "Family Meeting". They shared the water and went to sleep, never to awaken. The father ultimately takes his own life.

I find it odd that I'd be so disturbed (and kept up so late) not by the bloody depiction of someone splattering their brains on the wall, but rather the fact that the man conciously went to the store to purchase a toy for his little son to die with. I immediately was bombarded with thoughts of my little boy and the joy in his face as he plays with his toys. Even now it is tough to write this. The thought of something so heinous just does not compute in my mind. Words can't express my love for family, and the joy just being with them gives me. I think one such expression of that love for them is my tears over seeing something like this. Even in fiction, the emotional response that it illicited from me was tremendous - and I'm sure my wife will tell you, outward emotion in the form of tears doesn't happen with me often (ever? At least since we've been married save for maybe 1 time?)