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6 Apr 2009

The Condemned

What is it with human beings and their penchant for violence -both the 'doing' and the 'watching'? Everywhere I look, I can see people doing gory, ghastly stuff just for the heck of it an other people enjoying wathchin them do it..

A couple of days back, I just happened to see WWE superstar Stone Cold in a movie trailer. The title was 'The Condemned'. I usually am not at all into action movies but this time I decided to watch it as I din't have anything better to do.

It started off in a Guatemala prison, where three war criminals (read: very scary dudes who apparently had tortured and killed more than a dozen people without remorse) were shoved and pushed from their underground dungeon-like cells to another underground dungeon-like cell and egged on to fight with each other where two of them got killed. Apparently this was one of the auditions for participants to a 'reality show', of the same name as the movie, which was thought up by a largely successful (stark looney, i call him) film & t.v producer. All the contestests have profiles like the aforementioned, complete with life-sentences in Third World prisons). There is an English soldier, two Americans (one of whom is Steve Austin), a Mexican, a Guatemalan, an arsonist couple from Spain, a Japanese hitman, a Venezuelan, and a couple more guys from God knows where.

Anyway, according to the game, these people are dropped from a helicopter onto a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific with thier feet and hands shackled and a bomb tied to their leg (which has two modes of detonation: one is by pulling a red tag where you self-immolate and the second where you try to take the bomb off your leg and and it goes boom; how ingeniously evil is that). The objective, apparently, is to be the sole survivor on the island at the end of thirty hours which means that one has to kill the other nine. The 'best' part is that all of this is directly streamed to the internet (live feed from about a million cameras set up earlier by the producer and his crew on the God-forsaken island) where a person has to pay 45$ to 'catch the action'. The guys in the video control panel actually said things like,"Yes" and "That's what I'm talking about, baby" when a guy falls from a helicopter straight onto a spike and when the Brit rapes the wife and pulls her red tag in front of her husband, while breaking both his kneecaps. And all this, only in the beginning.

It was horrible... with people, human beings like you and me, fighting and killing each other, this time for dear lives. I mean, I know it's a movie and all, but then it grossed me out. Big time. But I still kept watching it. When the sick producer was questioned by a reporter, he said people love watching violence and he was aiming at TRP's higher than the American Superbowl (more than 40 mil as it turns out). To this, the reporter faced the audience and said, "I don't feel outraged or shocked anymore... I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed and disgusted that we, the people, enjoy seeing stuff like this and have made him do such a thing" (or something to that effect anyway).

My question is, is that statement true? Do we, as a species, like to see others suffer, like to watch sensational stuff, not caring about the blurred line between the barely decent and the outright indecent?

If this is so....then we live in a sad, sad world.