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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A Dark Night

I meant to write a review of “The Dark Knight Rises.” As I practically floated out of the theater, I didn’t know how I would marshal a coherent thought to write something intelligent about it. It was great, the ending was perfect and you should go see it.

That’s all I’m going to say about the movie. Although it left me reeling from giddy amazement, so much so that even the ridiculous deadlock in the parking lot didn’t faze me, I was brought up short when I read about the shooting in Colorado once I got home. Newscasters claimed 14 dead and 50 wounded when I first saw the news. I read quotations from eyewitnesses, who were still in shock, talking about watching bloodied victims streaming from the theater. I imagined what it must have been like to be there. I lay awake in bed for a while thinking about it, but it was as if I almost wasn’t particularly affected by the event.

I’m not going to talk about the shooting in particular any more than I will discuss the movie. Facts and conjecture about what happened in Aurora, Colo., are widely available elsewhere, and there is nothing I can say about it that hasn’t been said better already. However, I am going to say something I realized about myself, in light of the movie and these tragic events.

As a young American male, I am inured to the idea of death, insulated from the emotional impact of horrors like those that occurred in Colorado yesterday. Atrocities have become mere abstractions to me, and this morning, it took Michael Caine crying onscreen for me to actually be affected by more than a dozen people dying. A Christopher Nolan film is an emotional experience in itself, but it took that, in combination with a media experience engineered to heighten emotional response, in order to make me actually feel something about the deaths of 14 people.

That in itself is a tragedy.

When I left the theater at 3 a.m. on Friday I thought “The Dark Knight Rises” was something that mattered, and that telling people what I felt about it was something that mattered. Hearing about a man who opened fire on a theater full of people — people watching the same movie I had been watching, people dying just one state away — made me realize that my amateur review of a comic book movie didn’t matter in the slightest. And what’s more, it helped me realize that we, as Americans, have become desensitized to tragedy and death, especially since we see it every day in blockbuster hits like “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Though there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good flick, it’s important for us to allow ourselves to be emotionally affected by tragic events like that in Colorado. Maybe if we connected ourselves more to the impacts of such violent tragedies, we would be more successful at preventing similar atrocities in the future.

Brenton Woodward is a junior majoring in creative writing. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatArts

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