Why I Probably Won’t See THE DARK KNIGHT

Are you a creative person?

I have friends that are much craftier than I am, but I do really like to be creative.  I like to cook, to can, and of course to write.  I haven’t put any of my short stories on my blog, but I can write a fairly decent one.  One of the things that I have read read about writing, particularly fiction writing, is that you have to listen to the writing and let the story go where the characters take you.  I have found this to be true.  Listening in that way requires you to go to a different place in your mind.  It’s exciting to be in that place.  At least it is for me.  I assume that the same is true for all creative people.  In writing, going to that place helps me either to understand things or to put them in perspective.

A while ago, I was trying to understand, of all things, a prostitute.  I met her by a twist of fate and watched with a horrid fascination as she twisted lives.  I didn’t trust her, but others did, and I thought if I wrote a story about her, I could understand her motivation, figure out what turned a nice, middle-class girl into someone who made her living because of the dark side of man.

I went with the hubby to a corporate meeting in Chicago and began my story.  I was pretty pleased.  I didn’t have a laptop or anything.  I was writing in a notebook, and I looked on in wonder as the story grew to twenty, thirty, forty handwritten pages.  I made it through the girl’s teen rebellion, her running away, her being preyed upon and learning things no nice girl should ever learn.

Then I had to stop.  I had made it to the part of the story where my main character decides to use the things that she has learned to prey on other people.  I was afraid I could go there in my mind.  And I didn’t want to.

See, I believe in the doctrine of the Depravity of Man.  St. Paul says this was in Romans 7:18:

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

I’ll use wikipedia here as a source because it is concise, to explain further:

Total depravity is the fallen state of man as a result of Original Sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are by nature not inclined to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, as God requires, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Even religion and philanthropy are destructive to the extent that these originate from a human imagination, passions, and will.

The way I understand it, this doesn’t mean that people in general can’t do good.  I mean, even criminals love and provide for their families.  It means that given a choice, people often serve their own interests, and I think that’s true.  Ideally, Christians serve their own interests less, but still….  You get the picture, don’t you?  And if even Paul,  someone who had experienced Jesus up close and personal ( see Acts 9; Acts 7: 54-60 and the first verse of Ch. 8 give some background), had problems with his nature, I take such a state to be a natural one, one that we won’t erase completely this side of heaven.

ANYWAY… I had to stop my story because I was afraid that I could figure out how a rebellious middle-class girl could make choices that could result in her being a prostitute.  I was raised by Christian parents who taught me to fear and honor God and I, …uh…rebelled a bit myself.  I think that’s another reason that story isn’t finished.  Writers write what they know, you know.  Because of His infinite love and mercy, God pulled me back from the brink of disaster.  What if He hadn’t?

So what does this all have to do with The Dark Knight?

I like Heath Ledger as an actor.  I first saw him in Roar when the daughter was teenage.  How her heart throbbed! Every year the seniors in my school watch A Knight’s Tale after they finish a portion of The Canterbury Tales.  The way I understand it, Ledger didn’t just want to be a teenage heart-throb, so he sought out more dramatic roles.  I think the same creative process (on a much grander scale, of course) probably worked for him as works for me.  He probably had to research his characters, sort of get lost in them, in order to make them convincing.  In this interview, Ledger describes “his” Joker as a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.”  To know that, Ledger would have had to go there in his mind.  Like I couldn’t.  He stuck with it until he had a movie.  That’s a long time.

The daughter and her cousin went to see The Dark Knight last weekend.  She thought it was a good movie, although she and her cousin disagreed about where it should end.  She said that at one point in the story, people were trying to figure out the Joker’s motivation and Alfred the butler replied that he didn’t have any, that some people liked to watch the world burn.

I’ve known people like that.  Like the prostitute.  I know.  Her scale was not as grandiose as the Joker’s.  But she really didn’t care what happened to the rest of the world as long as she was happy.  I know that, were it not for the grace of God, I could be the same.

I don’t want to watch the world burn.  So I probably won’t see the movie.  I don’t want to go there.


2 Responses to “Why I Probably Won’t See THE DARK KNIGHT”

  1. 1 Sally July 25, 2008 at 9:26 am

    You summed up my thinking! I’ve always felt as if I were more sensitive to negative stimuli than others, and therefore, I stay away from movies like this one.

    BTW: Paul never met Jesus’ skin, although he did have a personal relationship with Jesus; it’s one that we all can have.

  2. 2 Becky July 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    You are right, Sally; my comment on Paul was unclear. What I meant by it was that even though Jesus had arisen , Paul still, I think, had little doubt as to whom it was that had spoken to him. You’re right, too, that Jesus is personally available to all of us, saints or not. I will include a link to Acts 9 in my post so that people can read about Paul’s encounter for themselves.

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