True confessions – from the dark side of art

You know the scene in Fargo – the one where a woman struggles desperately while she is being brutally kidnapped? I laughed. I laughed out loud – along with everyone else in the theater. I immediately felt guilt and shock – and yet – . People in the theater were squirming, trying to look away – and roaring. What the hell was going on? What happened inside my head that made cruelty suddenly funny?

Pulp Fiction – I have never seen the movie. I have seen several scenes used to promote the movie – the slick combination of crime, music and comedy. Just seeing these clips was like a sniff of an irresistible drug. I felt like – if I watched it – there would be something changed inside me forever. That it would ignite darkness where there had been light.

If I try to look at it intellectually, of course I see that the art form is doing what only the arts can do – to unhinge us from assumptions – to see things from an entirely different perspective. To recognize the darkness just below the surface that is always there. Perhaps the bible’s concept of original sin was an early version of a Tarentino film.

But the darkness I need to share with you all today relates to a devastating article I read last week in The Conversation, How the Nazis used music to celebrate and facilitate murder.

It left me raw. The article shifted the gaze from the holocaust atrocities to the people carrying them out. Music, that puppeteer of emotions, used to enhance their experience of murder. Heavy – so heavy.

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