How many movies have you seen where the protagonist is what we, in real life, would consider a 'bad' person, yet you found yourself gleefully cheering them on?
For example, I recently watched Grosse Pointe Blank, in which John Cusack plays a hitman for hire who goes to his high school reunion while in town to do a 'job' and reconnect with his old high school sweetheart. The guy was, right from the outset, made out to be the 'good' guy, while the character played by Dan Akroyd, also a hitman, was made out to be the 'bad' guy, as he was out to kill John Cusack's character. So here's me, a person I'd like to consider moral, watching a movie that features two men who kill people indiscriminately for money, embroiled in a plot to kill one another, and I am rooting for one of the hitmen over the other. Not only that, but I am rooting for the 'good' hitman to 'get the girl.'
Sure, one could argue that the agressor hitman is the 'bad' guy in the first scenario, and so rooting for Cusack's characer is the right choice, but, even though that's STILL wrong (get to that in a secpnd), the second one isn't so easily explained. I am rooting for this nice, average girl to look past the killing for hire thing and get with the hitman (with a heart).
What the fuck is that? Would I accept this in real life?
As for cheering for the 'good' hitman to prevail over the 'bad' one, as he was in the right.....well, would I accept his actions in real life?
What about calling the authorities? What about going into hiding? He, without question, jumps to murder, and I am right there with him. “FUCK YA” I think, “MURDER HIS ASS!”
Now, I can already hear the arguments:
“It's ESCAPISM!!”And this is true, but I also find myself wondering if it's something deeper. Perhaps our innate tendencies find themselves aligned with these sorts of actions, and our air of morality is just that- a pretentious air, piled upon our true nature. A social human construct which is predicated more upon bullshit than it is true biological and social leanings. Sure, morality was a necessary consequence of our social nature, but is it aligned with our base inclinations?
“It's NOT REAL!!”
I don't know. I mean, some guy murders my wife, my instinct is not to call someone in a uniform for help. My instinct is to thank the gu-er, I mean, kill the guy (love you honey!)
*winks at the audience *
Am I arguing that morality is something we should do away with? No. All I am positing is a question:
When we say something is “right,” do we mean it? I mean, truly mean it? I say that vigilante justice is WRONG, period. Throw me in front of a movie like Death Wish, however, and I'm rootin' for that vigilante son of a bitch from the time his family is killed to the time the last asshole bad guy's bloody corpse hits the ground. Is that just escapism, or is it something that is in tune with my natural inclinations? Are we really as moral as we say we are? Do we mean what we say when we speak of right and wrong, or are these just pretensions on some level?
I'm not saying there are. Just putting the feelers out there, as this is something that occurred to me and I thought some feedback would be beneficial.
What do you, the reader, think?