The name of this blog is Her Beautiful Monster, and that is also the title of my first and forthcoming novel. Chuck Palahniuk, an incredibly and enormously talented writer, penned a novel titled Invisible Monsters. After the tragic events at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, I am unfortunately reminded – as we all are – that monsters are not beautiful or invisible. Monsters are all too real and what’s worse is that they walk among us without victims being any the wiser. To escape that brutal and relentless reality, many of us turn to fiction, whether it be literary or cinematic or televised. We are able to engage in worlds and dimensions where heroes are real and people are honest and trustworthy at all times. Those who are not honest and trustworthy are always apprehended at the close by the beloved hero who never waivers in his or her commitment. These imagined worlds are creative inventions, naive and childlike in their innocence and optimisim and stubborn belief in goodness and its ability to triumph and are thereby fragile. They shatter easily when monstrous reality rears up and roars. The people in that movie theater were simply going to the movies; they were not knowingly entering a dangerous situation. Walking into that theater was not required for any of them as part as any kind of professional or occupational obligation. They were fans, many of whom had been counting down to the release of the film for years, let alone days. Some were dressed up, their excitement and passion becoming tangible. Some were young and some were old, some were male and some were female, but all were united in what they wanted; to be entertained, to be removed from the real world for just three hours.
There will be those in the coming days who will be looking to place the blame on not only the man who wielded the weapons, but on some other failing. Some may call into question the amount of violence in the creative media and what kind of message it sends. Some may wonder why there wasn’t more security. At the end of the day, I personally believe there is no one to blame but the shooter himself. All of us are innundated with images from popular culture every single day, some of which are incredibly violent, but not all of us kill innocent people. As for security measures, it is often times beyond our scope to imagine a human being, one of our own so to speak, doing something this depraved and cruel and senseless to other human beings. Who could have predicted and/or prepared for something like this? Is that really the kind of world we live in?
I want to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” but I know that as I take my seat in the darkened theater, with a bag of buttered popcorn balanced on my knees, that all I will be thinking about are the victims, the horror, the tragedy and the aftermath. I will not be able to enjoy the movie. I know I am not alone in this sentiment and that is truly a shame. An innocent pleasure has forever been tainted. A truly wonderful and artistic film franchise has been poisoned by the reality of horror.
Tragedies are devastating. Tragedies create victims who will no longer be with us, who can no longer be held or touched. Tragedies create victims by extension and association; the friends, family and loved ones of those who were lost, who will never be the same and who will run the gamut of emotions in trying to cope and rebuild and eventually, move on; the friends, family and loved one of the perpetrator, who may feel guilty and in some way responsible, and may also feel confused and lost and betrayed. Then there’s the rest of us; shocked and dismayed and robbed of at least a part of our innocence. We are hardened, made cynnical and lose what I believe is an intrinsic and painstakingly beautiful part of ourselves.