vicious cycle

Sidenote: I've been busy with schoolwork lately and hadn't had time to finish processing my photos and such, so those will have to wait!

Had these afterthoughts having caught up with the latest chapter of a Japanese psychological horror manga, 彼岸花の咲く夜に / Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni. About the story of a girl named Marie who's constantly being victimized by her classmates and sexually abused by her teacher, Marie turns to seek help from one of the seven youkai of the seven mysteries of her school.

It's a very ethically uncomfortable plot to be following, especially since it covers the topics of pedophilia and necrophilia. Granted, I have a self-proclaimed above average tolerance for such heavy storylines, but even I felt a little sick whenever I picked up the manga to read. So I was really unpleasantly surprised by the amount of 'positive' feedback given in the discussion forum of the manga.

One of the topics asked the readers how they'd react should they be in Marie's situation, and the replies... bearing in mind the fact that Marie's bullies were also grade schoolers like herself, there were people giving all sorts of suggestions that made me somewhat question their humanity. One of the replies considered the possibility of impregnating the female bullies and locking them up with a single rat a day for the prisoners to fight over, with the ultimate survivor executed by 'Marie'.

Many of the other commonly seen threads in the forum were also angry rants about how Marie wasn't exacting vengeance already, and the desire to see even more violence dished out in the manga.

I've been reading the analysis of the popular YA series Hunger Games on my iPhone lately, and one of the essays mentioned the human fascination with violence and pain. The impact of the reality of the essay was very strong on me, and I once again recalled the author's words when I was scrolling through the forum threads.

Truth be told, I myself enjoy horror and scary stuff in a watch-the-train-wreck-in-sickening-interest kind of way. Perhaps it's also because it's very personal, that I was very disturbed by the idea of just how much human beings are so unhealthily intrigued by violence and pain. Hunger Games, for example, takes on the concept of survivor-reality entertainment - not unlike the famous Battle Royale, or our very own LOST TV series. From the ancient time of gladiator arenas to the egging on of WWE shows of today, people have always been fascinated and worse - entertained by the very idea of seeing people suffer.

On some levels, isn't this also a driving force behind the increasing cases of bullying and violent strikeouts against the minority we see nowadays? Animal crush videos, videos of students ganging up on a single girl, and even cheers of "Jump! Jump!" heard in a video of a girl who was committing suicide - all these have the same factor of cruelty in them.

And the idea of countering cruelty with its own poison - while on the surface it seems like a variable method to get the antagonist to receive what his just desserts, truth be told, are we not simply contributing to the cycle? When reading news of sick acts like incestual fathers locking his own daughter up as a sex slave, I do feel the surge of fury and wish all sorts of unpleasant scenarios upon the monster - but when it passes and when I really do think about it, how would it help? It doesn't lessen the girl's pain or her years of agony, nor does it help the culprit see the err of what he has done. Punishment through pain strikes fear, and in turn keeps people in line through tolerance, but it doesn't help to break the cycle or give the sick the help they truly need.

And after a long lengthy rant, it makes me sad to realise how helpless I am to really do anything to break such a cycle. Expecting positivity to bring light to negativity seems like a naive thought, but one day, perhaps.

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