“Horror movie, right there on my tv….
Shocking me right out of my brain…..
Horror movie, and there’s known abuse….
Horror movie, it’s the 6.30 news”
In the 1970’s an Australian band called the Skyhooks sang this song. You can find it on the “Living in the 70’s” album if you look for it. I’ve taken selected lines from the song for my introduction but you can hear the whole song on Youtube should you wish to listen. They were a very ‘out there’ type of band but after they disbanded, the group members went on to became “every-day” people. Sadly the lead singer, Shirley Strachan (who was a well known television presenter on a lifestyle program in Australia) passed away in a helicopter crash a number of years ago. Tragically, he became the subject of one of the horror movies he sang about.
The point of this post is not to discuss my love of the Skyhooks and their music but rather to draw attention to the lyrics of this particular song. For many of us, the news of the world is a horrifying experience. The difference between the 1970’s and the present day however is that we now have the world wide web that enables 24/7 access to all news stories. For many people this can become incredibly overwhelming. Just this week, I have heard stories of the atrocities committed in Syria, a dog left abandoned inside a rubbish bin at a park, people (men and women) charged with murder of their children/partner/parents/strangers, politics (that’s a horror story in itself) and many other sad things. Locally, one of our schools burned down through the week. We hear stories of schools burning quite often on the news but this one being local has really resonated with many of the townfolk because we know the children and teachers affected. I was heartbroken to learn that many of the things lost in the fire were irreplaceable (such as the folios of the past 7 years worth of work from many students). One young man lost his brand new eye glasses because he’d left them on his desk and forgotten to put them into his bag to bring home. On the opposite of the coin, there has been wonderful community support as a result of this. Other schools have opened their classrooms or had fund raising days, donations are pouring in and the community has banded together to help out. But I digress….
I clearly remember a morning in September 2001. I was seven months pregnant with my baby girl and I was rushing around getting ready to go to work when my mother called. Her first words to me were “Isn’t it terrible what has happened in America with the planes and the buildings”? I remember replying “That sounds like something out of a movie. What are you talking about”? She told me to turn on the television. I walked out to the lounge room and switched on the tv. I watched in horror and then stood there and cried. I wondered what sort of a world I was bringing my child into. I was shell-shocked for much of the day. I am constantly bewildered by how people like you and me can commit atrocities upon others. Many victims are innocent. It saddens me all over again as I write this.
Regardless of how we see ourselves, we are all human beings with such great potential for creating love and beauty. Every person has inside of him (or her) the potential for greatness. So why do many ignore or believe they are not worthy of this? That’s a question I can’t really answer. One day I may learn but I’m not going to hold my breath whilst I’m waiting.
Questions such as mine could become overwhelming to some whilst they watch the news. The struggle to understand human cruelty and suffering can become encompassing. Unfortunately when this occurs, a depressive state would not long follow for those who dwell on these questions. For many of us, we have to develop an immunity when reading or watching the news. I’ve often heard of young people who are immune to violence because of what they see and hear on tv, movies and in video games. I guess, when you are exposed to violence, hatred, greed, murder and anger on a daily basis, you do build up a resistance to it. So how do we put up a wall to protect ourselves but not become hardened? That is also a difficult question to answer but one that is important for those of us who are prone to depressive states. For me, I’ve found that as I watch (or hear) of things, I cry (either inwardly or full-blown tears) and then I look around me at what I have. I remind myself that this is my present reality and that this is what is important at this time in my life. I dust myself off, and go and cook the dinner/help with my daughter’s homework/(insert your choice of activity here). Life goes on and with that, so must I. Whilst the events and suffering of those around me affect me in some way, I have learned that to be able to make a difference in the world myself, I need to stay strong.