Last night, Tom and I wanted to watch a movie, but nothing was on. He had DVRed a “classic” a few weeks ago, and he convinced me to watch it with him. The movie was Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Grey, Lea Thompson, and a young and put together Charlie Sheen.
If you have never seen the movie, I will give you a brief synopsis. It is somewhere in the 1980s and NATO has disbanded. The United States is invaded by the Soviet Union and its Cuban allies. A group of high school kids turn into guerilla soldiers and fight the Communist enemy that has taken over their town.
It was totally cheesy and some of the acting was ridiculously bad. It reminded me of First Blood, another classic so says Tom. When the movie ended and the credits started to roll, I was dumfounded that I had given up two hours of my life to watch it.
Needlesstosay, I did like one part in particular. Charlie Sheen’s and Patrick Swayze’s characters are seasoned hunters, and C. Thomas Howell’s character has killed his first deer. To christen the experience, Swayze drains some of the deer’s blood into a cup and makes Howell drink it.
I was totally horrified! I watched through my fingers. “This is totally gross,” I said to Tom. “There is no way this scene would be in a movie today.”
We laughed because I was totally right. In this homogenized, sanitized, overly cautious society that we live, some group of radicals would have made sure that scene landed on the floor in the editing room. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that we drink animal blood, but I do think we are overly cautious as a society. We sanitize everything, both literally and metaphorically. We have become so watchful, so vigilant, that I do not think we are being judicious any longer. I fear that we have a warped sense of reality. I fear that we want to wrap everything up in a cute little warning label so that we can be protected. Protected from what? What are we afraid of?
I think it’s responsibility. If we can blame someone else, than we do not have to take responsibility. Parents do not have to teach right from wrong because when something does go wrong, they can just sue for compensatory and punitive damages. Your child gets a failing grade? Sue the teacher for not doing her job. Your child falls off a park bench he was standing on? Sue the city for having park benches in the park. You stand on a ladder to clean your gutters and you fall and break your leg? You better sue the ladder company AND the gutter company!
You know who I blame? The lady who won the lawsuit against McDonald’s nearly twenty years ago. She bought a hot cup of coffee and placed it between her legs. It spilled and she was burned. But why did she put it between her legs? I know cup holders existed. I had a cup holder in my 1984 Chevette. I am sure she had a cup holder in her car in the early 90s. Nonetheless, she could not take responsibility for her own stupidity so she sued and won.
After that, we went into hyper attentive mode: slap on the warning label and strap on a helmet. It has been a bumpy ride, and I do not believe we, as a society, are better for it. Sure, many of the laws that have passed have been for safety reasons or to protect our health, but what we need protection from is ourselves. People need to take responsibility.