In a recent comments flow for my — Disposable Women: Slasher to Gash Her — article, we wondered about the idea of crime being the last, and perhaps greatest, religion.


When we look at societies and civilizations across the world, there is one, single, unifying, connector to the people.

That binder is wet and it is bloody but it isn’t God.

Crime is our new Godhead and criminality is the universal sinew that chains us to each other.

Crime is in our streets.

Crime is in our homes.

Crime is in our bones.

Why do you think the criminal element is so insidious and replicative in the mind, body, and spirit?

We worship crime on the news.  We celebrate crime in music videos.  We make movies and television documentaries about the accomplishments of the criminal mind.

Why are we obsessed with the worst of us?

Why do we so religiously pray at the altar of cruelty and despair?

19 Comments

  1. I just spent the last three days commemorating the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and catching up on my weekly newspaper HaModia. If anything, it is the opposite of the “ordinary” newspaper and is certainly not a worshipper of crime – it celebrates life. Sort of like the fictional “Good News” newspaper that was invented on the TV show “The Gilmore Girls” but it’s quite real.
    Generally I try to avoid crime but sometimes it is just way too fascinating – I’m still thinking of that episode of The Sopranos where Leotardo was killed in a most gruesome way.
    I think we are so obsessed with crime because we know it is wrong and it is fascinating to see that which we would most likely never have the nerve to do ourselves – getting the adrenaline rush vicariously through the criminals, perhaps.

  2. That’s an interesting take on crime, Gordon. I, too, wonder why we are so obsessed with the illegal and the gruesome. What is it about our human nature that makes us slow down the car to watch the remnants of a car accident? Why do we replay car crashes on “funny video” shows? What is gained by enjoying the blood and guts spectacle in a show like the “Sopranos?”

  3. There is some truth in that, arin. If you look at A&E and Biography and ID channels on TV, they are filled with “fascinating” documentaries about killers. I think in the last decade, television has celebrated murderers far more than any other religion.

  4. That’s a prescient answer, Dananjay! Crime is certainly the easy way out. Take what others have earned as your own. I hope the good can continue to rise above the weakness of the mean!

  5. Yes David!
    take what others before us have learned and add our own learning to it and pass it on to those who come after us. That way the good in those we touch can rise above their weaknesses.

  6. That makes great sense, Dananjay. I do wonder, though, what the criminal element passes on to its own. There are so many stories where people commit a small crime, go to prison, get out and then become even better and smarter criminals than they were before they entered prison.

  7. I can no longer tolerate watching this sort of violence on TV and in film since the envelope is being pushed farther and farther.
    I’ve gotten to a point where I won’t watch the Law and Orders (especially Special Victims Unit), any of the CSI’s. If I rent a DVD and it wreaks of violence and sick criminal activity, I turn it off. It’s downright toxic.
    I stopped watching the Soprano’s years ago. It took only one or two episodes and I could not bear the manner in which they murdered people.
    I hope more people will choose to stop watching this trash.
    The film industry should honor work that actually has a positive impact on humananity.
    I don’t understand why a film like No Country for Old Men is honored as film of the year at the Academy Awards rather than the stunning Far and Away that raised awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and had something new to say about coping with this devastating disease.
    I’m all for an edgy offbeat film or book but this celebration of crime and violence. It’s reached the tipping point for me personally.

  8. There is always that possibility, David. It’s all about what we have chosen to learn from our experiences. And it will reflect in our stories. Truth will out!

  9. Wowser, Donna! I love the guts of your reply and you’re entirely right. Why are these gory Hollywood movies made? They don’t play to the best of us — they exploit the worst in us — and to what end? To numb us to blood and gore and human understanding? When the lowest common denominator is able to make such easy money these projects will continue to be made. I don’t know the answer. Regulation? Creating laws against manifest killing on screen?

  10. Dananjay —
    I do think violence the want for gore is an element within us that is ripe for exploitation. When we’re in the wrong environment, we all begin to suffer when things begin to lower to a base level of behavior and expectation.

  11. David–
    These filmmakers are being rewarded for it–celebrated for it. And so it goes on and on…
    They can make this crap and be honored–even revered–for it.
    I don’t honor the Quentin Tarantinos or the Coen brothers of the world. I did in fact love “Fargo,” a film by the Coen brothers of a few years ago. That was an offbeat well acted movie with a story, a strong female lead and some graphic violence at the end that was tolerable and seemed to fit with the story.
    But I will never go see another Coen brothers movie again because of No Country for Old Men.
    Never!! The Coen brothers should know that. Again, they crossed a line with me and likely much of their audience.

  12. The difficulty of the separation of expectation and delivery is a topic for a lively discussion, Donna. The gory movies with “genius” filmmakers get rewarded with awards as you point out — and then become mainstream “gems” to be passed down and perpetuated across the generations while other gore movies are B-Rated and labeled a danger to society.
    Why the disconnect?
    Is gore made more beautiful and acceptable because of a story and a lighting plan? Is death made grander by candlelight instead of the harsh light of day?
    These mixed messages mess up the values system of those who are too weak-minded and ill-willed to know the difference between right and wrong and art and graphic pornography that celebrates blood and murder.