Thursday, May 13, 2010

M or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love All of Us!

 High School era.  I was at the summer camp Hume Lake with my church group.  If you've not heard of this place, it's a week long congregation of Christian teens that get jacked up high for 140 hours on Jesus, cabin life, and perhaps most importantly, fierce athletic rivalry.  The camp is split into twenty teams that devour each other in hopes of achieving the golden calf of prizes; a 10 dollar t-shirt.

my church group was mostly situated around 6 of us guys.  We weren't the closest of friends, but we were close enough to know how to survive in the ghettos of Christian camps.

As I remember, one of the spirit inducing aspects of the camp was that every night we'd storm the main auditorium to hear a sermon, but fortunately for us competitive souls, before we sat through the evening lecture, we were satiated with a highlight reel of the camp's mC and videographers goofing around recording the twenty teams compete earlier that day.

One day our group was so lucky as to have this mC come barreling over to interview our man Brian, who had recently been from mudded, courtesy of the local sludge-pond.  Somewhere in the interview, the mC got the frightening notion that our very own Brian might think it funny to embrace the mC, thus plaguing him with the insidious wet dreck.  He cautioned Brian that if he tried anything fancy, he would see to it that the interview didn't make the highlight reel, and our team would face punitive damage in the form of penalized spirit points.  The rule was now clear; 'if you get mud on me, you will not win the competition.'

This is where the debate can begin.  Brian did hug the man.  The video of said incident was surely destroyed.  Our spirits were mercilessly torn asunder.

Fritz Lang's M, the 1931 genre starter asks the same question I pose here.  Unlike you, I knew Brian's character.  I knew that he may have never even thought to hug the mC, but upon the taunt, his whole being salivated like Pavlov's dogs at this newfound forbidden fruit.  If he didn't embrace the man, the sharp pang of remorse would reverberate through his bones forevermore.  An image was placed in his brain, and in order to be freed from this vision, Brian had to re-enact his mind's phantasm.

Lang presents us with a serial killer.  He ups the ante by making the monster a slayer of children.  We, like the German community victimized by this creature, feel no pity for his plight.  Slowly, the wheels turn, and at last, in the closing moments of the finely orchestrated plot, we hear the murderer's excuse of evil.

His words resonate in a way we don't expect.  They set the precedent for future film flesh-destroyers.  It particularly invokes thoughts of Dexter morgan's 'dark passenger'.  His words are this: that another thing lives inside him.  He doesn't want to hurt anyone, but in certain moments, that other person within takes control of the wheel.

many of our teammates were mad at Brian.  I only ever smiled.  To resist the temptation, Brian would have had to fight every urge in his body.  Could he have restrained himself?  Could he overpower the 'dark passenger'?  I believe in free will, so I'm coerced to say yes.  But it was only a hug -- nothing to get all steamed about... nothing at all.

If I were the muddied one, I would never have hugged the mC.  It's not in my nature to disobey a direct order -- my internal being wants to please, so it would cause me no pain to withhold huggage at that time.

I also don't have the urge to kill people.

Yet sitting here in my apartment with just my computer on my lap, I'm not entirely alone, am I?  There is always another.