I pulled an all-nighter last night on my sister’s couch and my nocturnal time was occupied by the usual wikipedia safaris, listening to comedy routines and reading articles on Cracked.com. There was another thing that occupied an hour of my time though, and that was watching nature documentaries on youtube.
Last night I focused on lions on the serengeti.
I don’t know why but I felt an overpowering urge to watch a lion run down animals, the more helpless the better, and tear their shit apart. Luckily for me there is no shortage of such videos on the tubes (although sometimes they try and get cute and cut away right as the lion is pouncing only to cut back when the lions are already eating…what the point of this is, I don’t pretend to know).
All in all I saw a baby elephant, a baby girafffe and a newborn wildebeest (replete with amniotic fluid) get their shit wrecked. Great Job!
Still, as I watched I c0uldn’t help but be vaguely aware of a sense of shame for enjoying watching such violence. I began wondering what separated watching footage like this from watching say…a snuff movie?
Well, my reaction for one.
But seriously, I don’t go in for explanations like, “well animals aren’t people.” Bitch, animals suffer and feel pain too. They’re probably more similar to us than we would care to admit so where does the moral line draw when it comes to one animal preying on another versus one human being killing another?
You could make the case that if its for educational purposes it’s okay. Like if you are watching videos or viewing photos of a horrible massacre to write a paper, or if a jury must watch grisly rape and murder videos to help them reach a verdict. The only problem is that this has been seized upon by people busted with caches of child pornography, “I was just doing research.”
Similarly, claims of artistic merit have also been used to justify one’s predilection for looking at grisly or otherwise inappropriate images.
It’s not perverted, its art.
I think the problem and incredulity from the general public comes from the fact that we are really having the wrong conversation here: Instead of forcing the artist, the snuff film connoisseur or the casual nature documentary enthusiast to justify their interest (or throwing them in jail), we should instead be asking why that interest is there and acknowledging that the only difference between the three parties is the legal status of their interests, because arguments regarding morality are so much wasted air. We like to distance ourselves from those on the wrong side of the law, especially when their crime carries a taboo sexual or violent taint, but I think if you dig deep enough you will find that interests in viewing lions killing gazelles, a group of guys gang-banging a single girl, torture porn movies, snuff films, and other exploitative materials showing (broadly speaking) one party doing violence to another, all stem from a common causality which binds us together at an uncomfortable level.
Thankfully, my perversion has been deemed not only legal, but educational, so I can to continue on being a twisted fuck with impunity.
“Not guilty, y’all got to feel me!”