Kill Bills

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Not that I want to see them, or encourage others to see them, but allow just a few brief comments on the Kill Bill movies. The extreme violence they contain are sometimes defended as being too cartoonish or ritualistic to be taken seriously, and so we can go and just enjoy the “over the top” portrayals of various forms of dismemberment. We don’t get our skivvies in a twist over Road Runner and Wil E. Coyote, do we? Well, I would actually dispute whether such movies are actually approaching cartoon level — what is happening is that the cartoon mindset is acquiring ever-more realistic garb. Not that it is really realistic, but it is becoming realistic enough to confuse the simple, which is to say, the bulk of the audience at such movies. In all the years of the Road Runner cartoons, I doubt if any kid thought he was a coyote who could therefore swallow an anvil.

With regard to the dismissal of the violence because of the ritualistic form it takes, the only response I would make is that it is very American to dismiss rituals as unimportant. I don’t dispute at all that this is what is happening. However, when Paul told the Corinthians to avoid the table of demons, he was telling them to stay away from a ritual. And it was not “just” a ritual — it never is. The Incarnation teaches us that the content of ritual is crucial, and we cannot say that the mere presence of ritual somehow makes the content unimportant or irrelevant.

So should our young people be permitted to sit through such highly stylized, ritualistic dismemberments? Lex ritus, lex credendi. The law of ritual is the law of faith, so you tell me.

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