Men Kill

Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouse. Wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002 but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. Girlfriends were more likely than boyfriends to be victims of murder.

Girlfriends were about 50% of all boyfriend-girlfriend relationships but 71% of all victims who were a boyfriend
or girlfriend of the murderer.

Bureau of Justice report on Family Violence, 2002

Do not be misled by folks who rattle off statistics about how women initiate more domestic violence than men, or that men under-report domestic violence against themselves. True as that may be, these figures above are the end of the argument: more women die at the hands of a loved one, and more loved ones in these incidents are men.

Do not trust anybody who says that domestic violence is a “human” problem rather than a man problem. Everyone should practice non-violence and, a step further, reacting non-violently in the face of violence. As it is, men must be taught this vigorously and constantly, moreso than women. Men are the ones who kill, whether they trigger the conflict or not. Men kill.

“It’s an attitude mirrored on the other side of the screen as well. Binge-watchers care little for how their meal is coursed out; all they want is to dig in. And Game of Thrones is particularly delicious when devoured in bulk. There’s little tonal variance between the hourly installments; everything is equally good. In fact, it’s the rare show that’s probably better served by such gluttony: Less time away makes it harder to mistake your Sansas from your Sandors, your Lothars from your Lorases. Game of Thrones is proof that more and more people are coming around to David Simon’s way of thinking: Individual episodes aren’t works unto themselves but rather chapters in a carefully crafted novel. More than sex pirates and smoke babies, imp slaps or jokes about Littlefingers, this may be Game of Thrones‘s most enduring legacy. What we thought was an exercise in transforming a book into television may actually have helped turn television into a book.”

– Andy Greenwald in this article on Grantland.

Written a year ago, I didn’t see this piece until now. I hope my friends who don’t tune out when I start going on about the future of TV will notice that this talk about Game of Thrones turning television into a book and episodes as chapters in a novel is practically verbatim out of my own mouth.

I’m currently writing a grand space-epic animated sitcom with Ethan. I hope I sound more frightened than deluded when I say that the two of us have gotta change TV fast, before somebody beats us to it. The geyser is ready to blow and some youngblood series is gonna be the triggering tremor. The good news is that everyone’s gonna stick with drama pilots for now because comedy is for jesters and pigs (e.g. me, a pig-jester. oink)

This was a real job. This was a big boy job. And this threw me for a loop: “Should I take this job? Is this my destiny? Am I the next great financial genius? Should I come up with a Plan B? Should I work in Boston for a few years and make enough money to have a cozy transition to New York?” Well, I have always had a half-baked philosophy that having a Plan B can muddy up your Plan A. I didn’t take the job. I moved to the city. I bussed tables. I lived in a basement apartment next to a garbage chute that was filled with cockroaches. And I could not have made a better decision.

Charlie Day, professional wild card, offers some advice to this year’s graduating class at his alma mater, Merrimack College. He also conveniently affirms my own Plan A. I’m not putting all my trust in Charlie. (C’mon, you’ve seen It’s Always Sunny, when has that ever been a wise plan?) But it’s always nice to hear that the darkened staircase I’ve chucked my future down also broke the bones of others along their way to success.

As a member of a zippier generation, with sparkle in its eyes and a snap in its stride, let me tell you what kept us as high as kites a lot of the time: hatred. All my life I’ve had people to hate — from Hitler to Nixon, not that those two are at all comparable in their villainy. It is a tragedy, perhaps, that human beings can get so much energy and enthusiasm from hate. If you want to feel ten feet tall and as though you could run a hundred miles without stopping, hate beats pure cocaine any day. Hitler resurrected a beaten, bankrupt, half-starved nation with hatred and nothing more. Imagine that.

[…]

The members of your graduating class are not sleepy, are not listless, are not apathetic. They are simply performing the experiment of doing without hate. Hate is the missing vitamin or mineral or whatever in their diet, they have sensed correctly that hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide.

Kurt Vonnegut, god damn, wow, damn. In the past I’ve wondered if I should be angrier in my comedy, if it’s a more honest representation of me, because I do feel passionate about certain topics and I get upset at how obvious the “solutions” are even though nobody sees them but me. Each time I cut myself short because it actually doesn’t feel real— it’s too much effort to stay angry for long, and the more I think about a problem, the closer my thoughts circle around the typical conclusion of “nothing matters, just do you.”

I’m not saying I’m good or bad for it; just that Vonnegut acknowledging the invigorating power of hatred is remarkable and counter-intuitive.

No matter what age any of us is now, we are going to be bored and lonely during what remains of our lives.

We are so lonely because we don’t have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

Your class spokesperson mourned the collapse of the institution of marriage in this country. Marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman, and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man. We try, but it is scarcely surprising that so many of us go to pieces.

So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.

Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address to Fredonia College, May 20th 1978

I don’t ever feel acutely lonely cause I can mostly entertain myself flying solo and reach out to anyone whenever, not to mention that my friends are magical legends of support and care and interest in my life. But I often think about how unfair it is that we don’t all live in a village together.

Okay so maybe I’ll move onto those British sitcoms after reading Vonnegut’s bibliography. BUSY DAY

If you want to know the God’s honest truth, part of my “eh” was coming from the unsettling thought of your passion for campaigns being once again exploited by this rather unfair, somewhat backward system, one that now treats you like it’s your responsibility to keep a show alive, like a corporation is doing you a favor by feeding you low grade opiate through a regulated tube. Like you owe them an apology when they can’t measure or monetize you to their satisfaction. You deserve better. I love you guys, and at its best, Community is me saying that over and over again, saying let’s get less mad at ourselves and each other and more mad at the inhuman systems that keep us down and divided. “Maybe it should have said less of that and more jokes.” Shut up, voice of my grade school principal that also coached and umpired softball because shrieking “steeeeeeerike” at children was his sole recourse to virility.

Dan Harmon tells the fans why he’s not as fired-up at the possibility of resurrecting Community as they are. The second half of this paragraph is channeling Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce.

Dan: you get it. And this sums up why I’ve loved Community from first watch. There’s care in between the jokes. There’s understanding. It’s not just shoveling cynicism and bitterness down audience’s throats like so many multi-cam sitcoms. You gave us comedic characters that we wanted to identify with, rather than hold at arms length as an example of society’s worst. The conflict was rarely (if ever) about some angry main character fucking up and setting in motion a chain of events that fucked with everyone’s lives and made them yell at each other before they finally hugged at the end. It was usually about miscommunication, and how we can be overeager to defend ourselves thanks to a general fear of others and their opinions, and how that fear is a result of how much we’re told to fear; the reasons told to us by, say, sitcoms about angry people getting angry.

What I’ve found in the real world is that people don’t want to do the wrong thing, and if it feels like someone’s wronged you, it’s usually possible to figure out how they were trying to right you (or themselves, or others). And Community was about that process.