Dan from I Am Not an Allegory (these are people i know), which we workshopped at Bowery Poetry Club in 2012. Dan was played by Dan Cozzens, and the whole thing was directed by Ali Ayala.
My girlfriend watches these procedural tv shows. She watches like a dozen of them at a time, in a marathon. She won’t talk to me either, while she watches. If I try to talk she glares at me, or turns up the volume, or just says: Stop!
I don’t mean to watch but I like to sit next to her while she’s quiet like that, I like to watch her while she watches.
On all of these shows there’s like a really crazy bad person who likes to hurt people and like the only way this person can get any joy is to hurt people; children mostly, and women. But it’s not like they even get any joy, they just have this compulsion to be mean to people, it’s like they want to see this pain on a child’s face so maybe they don’t feel so alone in their pain or whatever.
So what happens is you feel anxiety about the child, while simultaneously feeling sympathy with the bad guy, and these two things sit in your heart and conflict.
You don’t Want anything to happen to the kid, but you Understand this guy. And looking back into the bad guy’s life you feel bad for him in his victim hood childhood, while simultaneously understanding the bad guy who did this to him.
When you think about it like that it feels very, it feels like there’s nothing you can do, that the cycle is endless, that we just have to go around understanding and feeling bad for all these fucked up people forever. It feels like we just have to sympathize with everyone ‘cause everyone has their reasons.
Writers write that shit. They think we want to watch it– and we do watch it. But here’s the deal: we watch it because that conflict in our chests is addictive, feeling things in a powerful way is addicting, and we want to feel things is a powerful way.
But we don’t really want to watch kids being hurt anymore, and we don’t want to hear any more psychological excuses as to why a man would hurt a child. Just Stop.
Fill our chests with something else.