The Road- are you a good guy or a bad guy?

23 Feb

Spoiler alert- while this isn’t directly about the content of the movie The Road, that content is mentioned.

Last night, spur of the moment I went to go see the movie The Road with the Wingnuts (members of the radical collective I live in) and two other awesome friends. I had not heard much about the movie ahead of time except that it was post apocalyptic. And being a punk and anarchist I freaking love post apocalyptic and apocalyptic movies and books.
We went to the Byrd Theater in Richmond, which is the local two dollar theater.
The movie was much more dark and scary than I had expected.
One of my friends who came was my new Christian friend and we were kind of whispering commentary to each other about the film.
Some of the issues that really hit home for me included ideas about what one might do to survive, cannibalism, sharing, suicide, and who is a good guy and who is a bad guy and what that means.

In the movie, the little boy keeps returning to the question of whether or not he and his father are the good guys still. And who the bad guys are. And while that terminology is clearly a simplification of the multitude of issues in the world, it is also useful. Sometimes I fear I overcomplicate my thinking. I think a lot of us do too.

Thinking about moral issues in black and white may not be that helpful in certain circumstances. But maybe thats because we are too caught up in the idea of morality. Maybe morality is too complicated or just wrong of an idea to be very helpful. I’ve been doing some reading (Brad Warner) and thinking (Stephen Ogburn) recently that makes me challenge my view of morality. If we just think about how we can live our lives to reduce the suffering of others, to share love, and to show we care about other people, we will be doing good things. Or trying to do good things, which is a huge first step.

If we get too caught up in the concept of morality we are likely to spend more time condemning people than acting positively on what we think will have the most positive result for the most people. One example: instead of condemning abortion and harassing women who get abortion, maybe folks who don’t like the concept could spend their time and money doing things like making birth control accessible, educating folks about birth control, adopting children, helping single mothers and just struggling families in general. Imagine how awesome our world could be if we used tactics like these to approach problems, instead of using our perceived moral high ground to try and feel better than other people and shove change down their throats.

So are we the good guys? I want desperately to be the good guys. Doesn’t mean you won’t fuck up. And doesn’t mean it will be easy. But I think that knowing that you are the good guys can be one of the only things that can give folks the strength to deal with adversity.

Cannibalism is one of the main aspects of this film. The world is being destroyed, plants and animals are basically gone, and there is little food around. So a lot of people have turned to cannibalism. Eating other humans. This may not seem relevant to our lives now, but I really believe it is. Cannibalism is a constant- capitalism and materialism have turned man humans into cannibals. Many people consume other humans. Not their literal flesh, but their hopes and dreams and health and futures. We live in a world where many people live lifestyles that only function because of the human suffering that supports them. People die, get sick, get sold, get raped, get tortured to maintain the cannibalistic lifestyles of most rich consumer 1st world people.

I think we have a choice. We can choose to share and build community and take care of eachother. Or we can choose to be cannibals who use other humans, the earth, and animals, regardless of the suffering in our wake.

I believe that to be truly happy and loved and loving and content we have to share and build community and learn not to be so selfish. I believe that materialism and consumerism and greed leave people empty and spiritually dead. They aren’t happy. And they aren’t creating happiness. We need a change in how we live. Start now. Start yesterday.

I’m currently trying to work on a couple things- trust, faith, hope, and patience. I think the better I get at these things the better my life will be.

I am practicing caring for people. And struggling, and trying to be aware of what I am doing and if my actions come close to meeting my goals.

I want to be a good guy. I want you to be a good guy too.

P.S.- definitely gonna be stocking up ammo too, cause in my world even the good guys need to be prepared

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4 Responses to “The Road- are you a good guy or a bad guy?”

  1. lexa February 28, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    you are Mo’st definitely a Good Guy!!!

  2. cowardly lioness =) March 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Hey Mo,

    I decided to read your blog after we wrote to each other on Style Weekly’s page. In the article discussing the Battery Park community, I am the first “Anonymous” poster. I didn’t write any of the other posts. I apologize for the patronizing tone; it was a mistake for me to defend my friends (and here I mean some of the new white people to BP) by being snide. I, too, felt defensive and should have responded by inviting you to get to know us, instead of challenging how you approach a group of people.

    I really appreciate this posting (above) and shows great analysis. I will confess that I was once an absolutist, both about how I viewed the world morally and my own ethics. Now, I see that my own ethics are the only thing I should absolutely improve because, with education, my worldviews changed. It is simply my hope that for every step mankind takes, it will be one closer to a world where we are all considerate of each other (including being respectful of each others’ right to have differences).

    You have made me want to see this movie. I especially appreciate your description of how the main character begins to question who is “good” and who is “bad.” My favorite sentence you used “Imagine how awesome our world could be if we used tactics like these to approach problems, instead of using our perceived moral high ground to try and feel better than other people and shove change down their throats” is a wonderful challenge to throw out to every person on this planet. The self-introspection also made me think twice about what I had perceived to be your absolutist demands, and what prompted me to respond to you.

  3. anarchymo March 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Hey Lauren
    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’m glad that we can come to some sort of common ground. I hate feeling like people are all misunderstanding each other. It is super frustrating, and the internet lends itself to such misunderstandings.
    Feel free to let me know what you think of the movie, or come to an event we have at The Wingnut sometime : )

  4. The Red Son March 6, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Just watched it… I want to be a good guy too! and continue with the munitions stockpile.

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