A morbid fascination

Amal Chatterjee
8 min readJan 20, 2018

Source : google photo

Synopsis: We are all fascinated by blood and gore and see it in the media everyday that has severe social consequences. This blog throws some critical light on his subject and makes people think of the effect of all the violence in the media on our personal lives.

We humans have a morbid fascination about blood and gore that has led to showing of extreme violence and bloodletting on television and in movies. I have seen this whenever there is an accident and someone is seriously injured bleeding to death while people gather around not to help but to gawk at the poor fellow who is in desperate need of help. Some even take photos with the cell phones although for what purpose I am not sure.

This is the dark side of the human nature that is often overlooked but it is quite pervasive in our society that shows this fascination to violence as long as it does not affect them personally.

I have also seen blood and gore in Vietnam during the war where I often came across mutilated bodies of VietCongs even outside my home but it gave me shivers and haunted me for days. I could never get used to it but the old ladies going to the market early in the morning with the baskets in hand chatted as if it was not a big deal and stopped to look at the bodies with fascination.

I can never really understand this fascination people have but I have seen it everywhere. What is worse is that the children are exposed to such things so early in their life and wonder how they can get used to it and what effect it has on them.

I saw the slaughter of goats at the temple during the Kali pooja celebration once a year where the blood ran into the gutters and was watched by the crowd including children but thankfully such practices have stopped. In Nepal the mass slaughter of animals during some Hindu festival had also come under intense criticism from the animal rights people and has been outlawed. But in many other countries this practice of cruelty to animals continues unabated because it is a part of their tribal culture or tradition.

You will be shocked to see the ocean run red with the mass slaughter of dolphins in Japan where they eat the meat although Japan is a civilized society with a long and rich cultural heritage.

In other countries like Spain and Mexico, the bloodletting of handsome bulls is a spectator’s sport although that too has come under pressure to stop and I hope that they will stop someday.

The movies and television:

The movie and the TV industry has not shied away from the fascination people have for violence and produce films like Kill Bill , GodFather and so many others that show extreme violence in graphic details that everyone watches. The ratings that are flashed on screen saying that it is not suitable for children etc. has no effect because children watch them at home when parents are away.

Not to be outdone, the animated movie makers do the same and inundate the TV with their violent depiction of scenes so a three year old watching such movies picks up a loaded gun that his father left at home carelessly, points it at his 2 year old sister and pulls the trigger saying bang bang just like in the movies.

He does not know what it means to kill someone but looks at her gasping for breath while bleeding to death because he does not know what death is. He is simply mimicking what he sees on TV all the time.

Now you can see the video game parlors sprouting all over the country where children and some adults keep feeding the machines with coins and play the violent video games that allows them to shoot, kill or knock out with punches someone on screen over and over again until the screen says Game over Insert coins.

This fascination with violent video games does not hurt anyone as they claim but I wonder if it does not desensitize a child to violence and leave a long lasting impression on him as he grows up and perhaps end up into a life of crime that may include such violence. It is easy to see how violent movies or video games can help blur the boundaries between the real and unreal in the mind of a gullible person who may grow up to be apathetic to others and their sufferings. He may not become a criminal but may be inured to violence as he watches someone bleeding to death and does nothing to help.

It starts with the cruelty to animals like keeping them in cages, torturing them and mistreating them in numerous ways and later practice the same on his wife or children. The domestic violence has its root in the dark side of the human nature that comes to the surface under certain circumstances.

I have seen unbelievable cruelty in Africa where poachers kill a beautiful elephant out of greed for the tusks while leaving the baby elephant that stays with his dead mother, crying and nudging it to feed him. It breaks my heart to see such cruelty that is shown in the National Geographic or Animal planet TV programs daily. How in the name of greed people commit such horrific crimes and not feel an iota of remorse seeing the baby crying for his mother?

How the Japanese can kill the whales and dolphins without guilt and call it their tradition even though the whole world condemns them? I have seen them selling whale meat in their supermarkets in Tokyo where you can wait while they fry the meat for you to take home.

There was a time in India where the slaughter of all animals was banned because the country was Buddhist and followed the teachings of Buddha. The Jains still follow the practice of non-violence and can be seen wearing face masks so that they do not kill even a tiny insect by breathing. You can see them feeding the ants early in the morning. But the rest of the world is not like them and continues the slaughter of wildlife and domestic animals.

Now there are alternatives to animal protein like soybean but most people can’t live without animal protein. They do not care how these animals are raised, treated and killed as long as they do not see it and just buy the packaged meat in their supermarkets.

Now some countries are banning the practice of putting live lobsters and crabs into the hot water vats but just go to the Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco to see how they do it in front of you. You will lose your appetite.

So I come back to the topic of human fascination with the violence and blood that has blighted the humanity since the time unknown and continues today. Now it has touched many sports that I call Blood sports ( read my blog on it called The blood sport) that is even worse because people go to see these blood sports for fun.

There is a TV program where the crocodile and alligator hunters compete with each other trying to kill these animals for the skin and constantly talk of the money they are losing by not catching any alligator. It is the money that motivates these people who will do anything to kill as many crocs as they can so that they can make more money. It is the same motivation for the Africans who kill the elephants and Rhinos and poachers in India killing the beautiful and gorgeous Bengal tigers.

There is the specter of violence in nature. You will see the carnivorous animals killing their prey for food they need. You will see the hawks killing other birds for the same reason. Some say that the killing of the weak animals for food helps the evolution process where the stronger genes are passed on to improve the species in the long run.

But we as humans are different from the animals because we have alternatives that lions and tigers do not have yet we insist on getting our food from the animals. What is the justification for killing the whales and dolphins when there are other alternatives to protein in Japan? There are no answers other than tradition. Can anyone continue a harmful practice in the name of tradition today?

I applaud the Green Peace people who chase off the whaling ships in the ocean to protect the animals but are often short of funds and face constant dangers from the ships.

I applaud the animal rights NGOs that protect and raise orphan animals and release them to the wilderness later. They have put pressure on China to stop the milking of bile from the captive bears that is very painful and inhumane but who listens? They have tried to save hundreds of bears in India from the cruelty they suffer in the hands of nomads and have opened orphanages where such bears are treated kindly.

But who treats a child who grows up seeing and watching violence daily on TV and in the movies? Who tells them that violent video games they play can make them inured to such violence in real life? Who can put pressure on the TV and movie industry to stop making such violent movies who do it for money and do not care of its impact on the society as such?

People who are not influenced by any religion and its dictates can promote violence if it brings them money just like the poachers. This I don’t care attitude to violence often spills into their private home life as well ( read my blog on Domestic violence).

I remember the time when the Quakers in the US protested the war in Vietnam on religious grounds and refused to serve in the army but they were vilified by others. They took the offer of alternative services like volunteering in the development work somewhere but others could not get deferment and were sent to die in Vietnam. This practice still continues in endless wars going on somewhere.

My topic is the influence of violence through the media on our daily life so I must stick to this topic and discuss how we can protect ourselves from this pernicious effect and teach our children that violence in any shape or form is not good and should be avoided although going vegetarian completely can be very challenging to anyone used to eating meat, fish and poultry.

I have no issues with people eating meat. My issue is with the violence shown in the media daily that make us less humane or at best indifferent to the sufferings of other humans and animals through apathy. It is like living in a very noisy place where you learn to ignore the noise until you go to a very quiet place. Only then you realize how much you hate the noise.

It is when you live among the peaceful people who love all animals, you begin to appreciate the absence of violence in their own life and the humane way they treat all life.

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