The other day my husband was sitting on the sofa, laptop on lap, looking at Facebook. He often looks at videos about cars, and all I hear is this sound of a chainsaw, but I’m assuming it’s some fancy engine that is being endlessly revved…because that’s the done thing when fancy cars are around, can’t just be enjoyed in silence–gotta rev, have to rev! Oh yes, and squeal those tires too.
Oh wait…no, that was an actual chainsaw, decapitating people. “On Facebook?” I ask. All I get are pictures of cats, babies, selfies, and weddings. Ben tells me that this is not the first time he’s seen stuff like this–“On Facebook? Really?” The worst I’ve ever seen is testicles shaped like a heart.
The following day, while on a hike, Ben broke the quiet, saying: “I really can’t get that decapitation out of my head”. No shit. I think the minute you see heads being forcefully removed (is there any other way?), and you are “Hmm, anyhoo, what’s for lunch?” that’s the bigger problem, being so desensitized to violent images that it passes through you like a summer breeze.
The internet has a serious dark side, and for every picture of Ryan Gosling and a cute kitten, there is are murders, severed limbs and “Two Girls and One Cup”. These images sear themselves onto your brain and stay with you until it’s time to go to bed. And in the dark, next to your snoring husband you think “Why did I look at those pictures of Nicole Brown Simpson?” I think people are generally interested in murder mysteries, but the written word is one thing, but the gory blood reality is another. And that’s just the thing…I remember a time when you would really had to work hard to find disturbing images…now it’s generally interspersed with just run of the mill pictures. I suppose I notice it more, now that I have this blog, in researching ideas, or searching for images, I have occasionally crossed over to the ‘dark side’ by accident.
Years ago, while on a John Lennon tangent, I was watching videos on You Tube. And I came across something called “John Lennon predicts his own death”, and so I clicked on it–and there was this black and white picture, of what looked like his dead face.The image was closing in menacingly, with the most terrifying guttural, growling Satanic sound I’ve ever heard. It was so disturbing that I shuddered and trembled and shut off the program, leaping out of my seat. I bolted from the computer, and reached for my phone. I called a friend, who then tried to find it, but couldn’t. Others I told about it also looked but it had disappeared. So, there’s reason to believe God put it there specifically to punish me for being a morbid, internet using time waster.
(the picture was actually from the back of “Imagine”, doctored to look creepy–cheers for that!)
But this not the first time this kind of thing had happened. One summer, I worked at a mine, and as the season wore on, you occasionally got placed in a job, and then left alone for the whole of a ten hour day. I was placed in a data-entry position, with about three hours work to do. There was no one to be found, and I got the distinct impression that the worst thing I could do was to bother anyone for another task. So I mucked around on the internet, read about movies, actors, and in wondering how actress Natalie Wood died I stumbled across the website “Morbidly Hollywood”. This website is rife with disturbing details and even more disturbing photos–if you dared to download the PDF…which I did not.
The following day, I was put back in the office, with even less work, and this time, they had assigned another girl to the job. We achieved the task it in less than an hour. “What do we do now?” she asked me. “Yesterday, I just mucked around online”. And reluctantly, I mentioned “Morbidly Hollywood”. “Pictures and everything?” “Uh, yes, but I didn’t look at the pictures”. But this girl was fearless, and looked up the website and opened up all the images. Tupac mid-autopsy, Marilyn Monroe face down in bed, and purple Chris Farley on the floor, taken by a hooker named Heidi, the last person to see him alive.
To this day, I can not enjoy “Tommy Boy” because of that stupid picture.
In this tiny office, she was looking at bruises and lacerations, getting her nose closer to the screen to see better, while I stood by the door, my fingers lashed over my eyes. After all that time spent on the dark side; she told me how her father was killed, and what it was like for her to see his body in the morgue, and then later at the viewing. The conversation had taken such a grim turn, and I really wished we had spent the day looking at kittens instead.
See? You can totally live with yourself after seeing that? No one ever lies awake at night thinking “I wish I hadn’t seen that kitten wearing that knitted sweater”.
And the more time I spend on the internet, the more I realize its dangerous powers. There is so much useful information, recipes, trivia, but there is plenty of evil,negativity and bullying as well. I’m a reasonably intelligent woman in my 30’s, and sometimes I can’t handle what I’ve seen, I can’t imagine this world through the eyes of a child or teenager. While I sometimes feel this draw towards the dark side, this overpowering morbid curiosity, I understand the consequence of seeing these images: sleepless nights and death of innocence. So while curiosity may have killed the cat, (lord knows I wouldn’t want to see those pictures), the proverb does assert that satisfaction brought him back. But what satisfaction can come from this dark side? It all comes down to choice, I choose to look at this, I choose to not watch that. But sometimes, it just springs up on you, and you have to live with that image–and mostly make peace with the fact that this is the world that we live in…that someone is wielding a chainsaw while someone else is flashing a camera. That is when you turn the laptop off, run away from the computer, go out into the fresh air, and walk until those images float through you like a summer breeze.