Everyone knows that when you stare into the abyss it stares back. Well, the same principle applies to parenting: imparting wisdom upon another human being forces you to stare into dark corners of your consciousness – whether you like it or not.
Arrow is a television series that explores the quest of former carefree playboy turned vigilante Oliver Queen to free the city he loves of corruption and organized crime. It airs on the CW, so the sets are stylized, every character is beautiful, and surprisingly enough, the violence is all-too real. The show has become a staple for my daughter Sarah and I and this week’s show was particularly exciting for a hardcore nerd like myself: the DC Universe super heroine, The Huntress (a.k.a Helena Bertinelli) , was introduced.
I’ll spare those of you who don’t worship at the altar of all-things superhero the full breakdown, but here’s what you need to know: The Huntress’ fiancée was murdered by a mob enforcer. When she confronts said enforcer, she exacts vengeance in the form of a blow that snaps his neck. Oliver Queen watches with a look of horror, which is particularly ironic considering he has just snapped the neck of another villain.
THE HOOK: Wow, this show is pretty brutal.
SARAH: What do you mean?
THE HOOK: Both heroes just snapped the necks of their opponents. Super heroes don’t usually engage in such behavior; they’re supposed to be better than the bad guys.
SARAH: It was justified. Helena was avenging her fiancée.
And there it was.
At first I assumed Sarah’s point of view sprung from a youthful naivete, a child-like sense of right and wrong. When you’re a kid, the world is black and white, pure and simple, right? But my daughter is fourteen and I can honestly say that she carries herself with more maturity than most adults I encounter.
So now I have to ask myself how I feel about heroes that kill.
I’ve watched thousands of hours of television and movies featuring both stylized and brutal violence, but it was fictional and as such I’ve been conditioned to accept it on its face and move on.
But you can’t move on when you’re a parent. Realistically, its highly unlikely that my daughter will ever encounter a situation that forces her to examine her views on capital punishment, never mind capital punishment carried out by an individual. But if she does, I’d like her to approach the situation with a balance of compassion and honor. I believe our justice system has lost sight of the concept of justice in favor of respecting the modern laws we have written as a civilized society, but I also believe that hero has to have a sense of morality and honor.
Ultimately, Sarah will form her own views on life’s many questions and will live her life accordingly; however, it’s my responsibility to make sure she begins that journey filled with love and compassion, not hate and indifference.
And yes, all this soul-searching really did spring from watching a television show about a superhero named Green Arrow. Don’t ever tell me comic books are just for kids.
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Benjamin Wallace is a new friend but a true one. Like Vina Kent, - and Jo Bryant before her – he’s come through with helpful tips and contacts where others have brushed me off, in a friendly way, of course. Check his site out. He’s blazing a new trail for dumb, white husbands everywhere…
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A shout-out to my blog buddy, Kristen Lamb and her best-selling tome, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Give it a try, folks. You won’t be disappointed…
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A fellow bellman and artiste/filmmaker extraordinaire, Joseph Mancini, has created a new digital presence to share with the world. Show him some of that awesome devotion you’ve bestowed upon yours truly and check his work out, okay? I appreciate it, folks. Until next time. stay cool…