Movies and Suffering

February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

I was sitting on the red sofa in the kitchen, alone with my thoughts. Somehow my brain starting thinking about suffering, human nature and love ( a word with such a broad meaning I don’t actually know what it is). My thoughts moved on to how these things are shown, and movies and TV shows popped into my mind. Of course everything is exaggerated in TV life, unbelievable and simplified, but just enough that us humans believe it is tangible for us.

My mind went back to a conversion about a TV show that I heard my family talking about. Or a programme rather, of people suffering and the audience actually enjoying it. Maybe an extreme version of us laughing if someone falls over in a hilarious way. It is quite disturbing to think we actually enjoy to watch people suffer. Maybe you won’t admit it, or perhaps you do not find people’s afflictions funny  but  somehow their embarrassment, their troubles, their insecurities are at our amusement. I wondered if it makes us feel better about ourselves? (Oh thank God I’m that clumsy, or that stupid as that fellow in the prank!) You may not enjoy it at an entertainment level, but deep down people take pleasure from others’ suffering.

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. ~Anne Frank

As humans we also like to see people that deserve to suffer, suffer. People want to see the murderer or the pedophile hung. Yes I’ve read the comments sections on articles in the Daily Mail that talk about murders or abused children. It seems the public really want capital punishment. In fact some articles on mutated animals fester more anger than those on human harm. Why should criminals sit enjoying life in jail?

What about the lioness chasing the baby gazelle? You don’t want the sweet newly born baby gazelle to be eaten. Oh but turn it around. The lioness’s newly born cubs, so adorable, eyes barely open, will starve if she can’t find something for them to eat. Suddenly you want the mother to get that baby gazelle. Strange.

I don’t watch soaps, I don’t watch reality TV shows. Honestly I find it a waste of time, why do we, who already have so many problems in our already troubled lives want to sit and watch other people’s troubles? Perhaps it’s the same reason I love to watch epic movies. The same reason we read novels on war, pain and suffering . Some people may say that is a waste of time. I think we watch these things because we wait for the love. Or the perfect ending.

Verily, with hardship there is relief Al Quran 94:6

If you’ve been brought up in a house that when the girl and the guy lean in too close on the screen you cover you eyes or look away embarrassed ( I have) then it’s really awkward. Yes, they aren’t married (that’s the norm today, just look how insensitive the Ummah has become) but don’t you feel happy? Happy that at last, there is something there that isn’t pain an suffering. It’s a moment where people aren’t enjoying the suffering of others. I admit, that yeah, sometimes that romance stuff is really unnecessary to the point that it makes me sick. It actually makes me sick when I see guys topless in movies. ‘Pull up those trousers a bit more Man! Use a belt or something!’

Just as we like to see people suffer we also like to see people overcome their difficulties. We want there to be a happily ever after, as much as we sit there and say ‘That movie was so unrealistic, life hardly gives happily ever afters!’ we love the Happily Ever Afters. So maybe, despite the stereotypes in Disney, that’s the reason we still watch it. That’s why that one kiss at the end of The Return of the King is acceptable to me (even though I still cover my eyes- plus it was their wedding day).

So my dear reader, I think that perhaps we all appreciate that small bit of romance in a movie, as much as we may find it ridiculous or immoral.


I would love to read your opinions on this. Please comment.

Please do not use the image without permission.



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