I saw “Bowling for Columbine” today. Near the beginning I wanted to walk out, mainly because the audience was being all ironic and sniggery. Ha ha, let’s laugh at the funny American with a gun. But then the movie went through one of its serious bits, and everyone shut up. Shit, the montage of security camera footage from Columbine and the school’s phone calls of the day was harrowing.
Two things I got from the film:
1. High school sucks. No one will tell you this. Parents don’t want you to know because they’re scared you’d drop out and become a glue-sniffing cock-sucker. Teachers won’t tell you because they want you to be obsessed with school and do really well. But the truth is that once high school finishes, it is so over. All the people who picked on you? You’ll never have to see them again. The people you were only semi-friends with? You don’t have to stay in touch with them. All the bullshit associated with high school just magically disappears over night and ten years later the people who picked on you will end up still living in the same shitty town selling insurance.
2. There’s a culture of fear in America. Knowing this helps. It’s like when I discovered that television news is more about entertainment than news. It goes deeper than that in America. “If it bleeds, it leads”, so stories of murder are way news-sexier than politics. News that eating broccoli is good for you is way less news-sexy than news that some other vegetable will give you cancer. So night after night, Americans see news items about really scary stuff, stuff that probably isn’t all that scary. Razor blades in apples? There were none. The reaction to all the scary stuff is to carry a loaded pistol.
I decided that I didn’t want that stereo I bought yesterday, so I swapped it for my old one that my parents bought off me a couple of years ago. I think I sold it because, uh, I was going to go to England. So I have my big black monolith stereo back. It has a record player, so as soon as I get it set up tomorrow I’m going to listen to my Hollow Grinders single.
It’s great – I’ve been back in Auckland for about eight hours and I’ve stopped maniacally sneezing. I must be allergic to my parents.