Friday, March 14, 2008

The Price of Affirmation

In the cafe with the clatter of conversations in all directions. As I sit at a small, beat-up wooden table with a glass tray of sugar and an empty Perrier bottle, one group of people nearby talk about different regions of the East continents and cultural religions associated with them. Looking at the man behind the counter, I can't help but to think of the lead character from "Grand Theft Auto IV", Niko something or other.

Speaking of video games, the one I'm playing now, "Army of Two", is about the privatization of military outfits; defending the country for a living and not for honor or glory (what kind of glory and the price of it is seriously questioned).

In the game's story, two opposing politicians (not pictured above) are debating over the bill that would privatize all of the military. Defending the country would be a service paid for, like hiring a house-cleaner. Corporations would be fighting over publicity and the people's money. Mercenaries would be out in the field killing other mercenaries. But a mercenary would only make money when there's war (unless he did a part-time gig as an assassin), which would give them the incentive to start them. One being's profit is always a million other people's suffering.

Am I obsessed/captivated by the action hero/protagonist image? The ability to affirm themselves wherever they go and give dire consequences to whoever revolts? Perhaps the Columbine shooters and Jeff Wiese had seen themselves in the same light. Envisioning that they were personas of singular bravery with the power of affirmation. After being outcasted and criticized, they started to think that their flaws stuck out everywhere they went, and that passersby on the street and friends alike secretly or outwardly laughed at them. They became paranoid, and paranoia makes everyone seem like the enemy.

I wonder if this waitress thinks condescendingly of me because I'm biting my nails. The Roots are playing. I had a small slice of pecan pie with coffee and a bottle of water and my bill is $11. Perhaps it's outrageous prices like this that drive people to join private outfits and take out ambassadors in Beijing. Then the corporation can cover the bill.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesMarch 17, 2008 at 5:13 AM

    The problem with video games and Tv is that they de-sensitise death. We live in a world where people are shot weekly on TV shows (fictional and real), yet are shown to carry on - i mean Die Hard 4 Bruce Willis should have lost his arm at the end. I'm not saying we should sensor TV/Films - but isn't it equally important to show the consequences. Morrissey once said that the newsworld hands stardom to killers - was he wrong? It's too easy to think that killing is cool based on what happens in Halo - it really isnt

  2. The Clandestine SamuraiMarch 17, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Yes, in a way this is true. But I think it also depends on who this stuff is exposed to. Some people know better than to eat up the stuff that media shows. Morrissey is correct, and I think the newsworld does that because they know more people will buy up papers with glorified killers on them.


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