Unthinkable things aren't new

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2001

I strongly disagree with Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald on the future of violence in entertainment. He says it's not fun to watch unthinkable things anymore; that we never thought the mayhem we have read about and watched in the movies all our lives would ever really happen. In reality, people all over the world have had unthinkable things happen to them since long before New York and DC's unthinkable things. It is very shortsighted of Mr. Pitts to think the entertainment industry will have any long-lasting sensitivity to these particular events.

Hundreds of war novels and movies have been made during and shortly after wars. Films portraying muggings, kidnappings and murders are popular while those events are reported in our news media. Domestic violence and political corruption are life-ruining events, yet they persist in our entertainment outlets. Usually, the violence, no matter how awful, is not the story. The story is how people rise above the evil, overcome the unjust and triumph over fear.

I learn a lot from violent books and movies. The book I chose for several legs of air travel last July was Nelson DeMille's "The Lion's Game." It's about a remarkably successful Libyan terrorist. I have reflected on that story many times as I watched the news from New York and D.C. From other books and movies I know to keep my center of gravity low, don't breathe the gas, don't open the door (how many times has that been a bad idea) and don't walk through the park at night. I also know from countless dramas that more damage is done by denial and fear than any real physical danger.

We think about the unthinkable all the time. As entertainers model the worst things we can imagine and some ordinary person with courage and integrity overcomes them, some of us breathe easier and others of us sleep better at night. So, Mr. Pitts, get in line for Clancy's next book and don't be surprised when terrorism is the setting for a rush of books and movies about human ingenuity, courage and perseverance.

Nita Nettleton


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