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Pernicious Influence of Innocent Entertainment (Producing Psychological Short-circuit Between Suspicion and Execution of the Suspect)

Three generations of Americans have been exposed to the entertaining pedagogy of the seductive power of the gaze of righteous murder (GRM). Today it is difficult to find an American who didn’t watch endless variants of Westerns where GRM was cultivated, aesthetically worshipped and morally immortalized. The facial expressions framing GRM became part of pop-cinema’s iconic treasures. Very seldom could a Hollywood super-star avoid acting GRM – for example, Henry Fonda was saved from discounting his art by his emotional maturity, taste and tact. The movie star who really coined GRM and did it with unprecedented degree of elaboration is, of course, Clint Eastwood who became a genuine teacher of the righteous murderous desire (RMD), its guru. RMD is Eastwood’s masterstroke. He is Callas and Pavarotti of acting it on the screen. He transforms this desire into an opera of emotional components.

Eastwood is able to depict how RMD appears in the depth of the gaze and grows in intensity and irradiation. Soon it overflows the gaze and floods the face, stopped for a moment by the lips only to deform it into a specific sub-grimace of disgust and revolt – SGDR (here we all feel with him that we are in the presence of a venomous spider or a snake in a human form preparing to strike at us – we rely on what he sees). We all enjoyed the mastery of the actor who processes an emotion from its birth and through its intensification and concentration into its final transformation to the magnificent gesture of victory – drawing the gun and pulling the trigger (from the gaze of the heart to the fingers of the gaze).

The righteous murder entertainment (RME) – murder-tainment, has branded the American children into the carriers of emotional package of righteous murder (RM). It taught them that RM is not only proper but also a heroic act. It embellished RM with moral nobility and kitsch beauty. The very archetype of RM that has been injected into American emotional life by the very gaze, facial expression and gun-pantomime (gun-tomime) of Eastwood’s talent, can only be weakened by a very long and gradual process of a peaceful conflict resolution pedagogy if it could be launched on every level of a democratic society. Boys like to fight, and they like murderous toys. As soon as fight is made glamorous, and murderous toys irresistible, it’s not difficult to predict the future. Eastwoodian gaze and grimace of his lips that expresses righteous hate (RH), justified murderous rage (JMR) and the emotion of being appalled by the despicable presence in a world of a death deserving monsters (EBADPWDDM) – with no words needed (not too diplomatic but very cinematic, very somatic and charismatic!), is his very palette of emotional colors. But recently the archetype of JMR supported by EBADPWDDM, is reincarnated into real life in the mimics and pantomimic of Donald Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld, for sure, was a fan-fan of the Westerns. He and Bush Junior have grown from Hollywood tough entertainment (tough-tertainment) like Iraq war has grown out of their unconscious. Occupation of Iraq could have happened without the influence of Eastwood’s gaze and grimace. But can the fact that our soldiers in Iraq in the summer of 2009 still quote 9/11 as the reason for their pro presence there be separated from the fact that Eastwood’s art is making kids addicted to the righteous revenge based on a simplified and too obvious evidence? It’s very easy and pleasant to become a righteous hater/fighter. What is very difficult for those who learned at Eastwood’s school of Western – it is to stop to believe in justifications for the murderous actions that are based on imaginary connection between the evidence of the crime and the vigilante punishment for it. It is very flattering to get the feeling of righteous hate: righteousness is for hate like snow is for skiing. To feel righteous hate for us (for our unconscious) means to be a weapon of goodness, angel’s eagle beak.

It’s not difficult to provide justification for righteous murder in a Hollywood movie or Italian Western – subjective feelings are always represented as objective: the psychological thirdness between the viewer and the image (the necessity for analysis) is excluded in advance. In real life what appears as obvious has to be checked. In movies for mass consumption on the other hand checking is unnecessary – the villain is obvious (he wallows in villainy). Children tend to mix entertainment with real life. Transformation of Saddam into Sodom (into a monster connected with al Qaeda) brought us to a war that can be won only by Clint Eastwood. Rumsfeld’s gaze of righteous fury and his grimace of indignant morality, which we witnessed during his endless press conferences, contributed to the very style of perception of the world’s otherness as a terrorist phenomenon. Eastwood’s Rumsfeldness and Rumsfeld’s Eastwoodness has created nothing but disasters in real life.

Hollywood entertainment exists and prospers exactly because it detours real life. It is a factory that grinds pieces of reality into the currents of processed images. But to behave in real life as the heroes of the Westerns do is really dangerous: is a self- and cause-hurting behavior. What is good for Clint Eastwood and entertaining for his viewers becomes catastrophic for the poor American kids in uniform who continue to believe in Iraq war as a response to 9/11. They are paying with their lives for the incompatibility between mass entertainment and real life. They will continue to “draw their smoke wagons” from its holsters with the righteous murderous rage of their super-hero Eastwood while believing that they are punishing the enemy that attacked their country.

Entertainment can be innocent time of relaxation in a country with a developed serious culture that encourages people to try to understand life. But in a country where humanistic culture of understanding shrinks with each year, and where entertainment becomes an addiction for the population it becomes dangerous for the human survival because it cannot prepare people to confront the real problems, and nothing else is doing the job. Eastwood’s gaze reinforced by Rumsfeld’s imitation becomes a lighthouse of disorientation, and a premonition of failure.

Some abbreviations and neologisms:
GRM – gaze of righteous murder
RMD – righteous murderous desire
SGDR – sub-grimace of disgust and revolt
RME – righteous murder entertainment
RM – righteous murder
RH – righteous hate
JMR – justified murderous rage
EBADPWDDM– emotion of being appalled by the despicable presence
in a world of a death deserving monsters
EGGRRC – Eastwood’s gaze and grimace of righteous rage and contempt
Psychological thirdness