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Being in a movie

When the most horrible and atrocious things happen, people are unable to comprehend it, literally, as something REAL. It’s a mechanism of shock, of self-preservation.
When trying to find words to describe the unexplainable, a common phrase to resort to seems to be: it’s like being in a movie.
A situation so appalling, that it can’t be compared to anything previously experienced, except – maybe – it could possibly have happened in a [horror] movie. Is this analogy appropriate?

Language can facilitate the expression of emotions, help sharing information, thoughts, sympathy. Language itself can be very revealing, but it also has grave limitations. In the darkest moments, when the pain is suffocating, when absolutely nothing can explain how a single [twisted] mind can decide he has the right to mass murder defenseless teenagers in cold blood. It is so nauseating, and the details so grim, that any word feels inadequate, pathetic.

Similarly, no movie could ever accurately portray something like this, from the perspective of each of the individuals that are either victims or survivors. The premise of “being in a movie”, is actually flawed: it is of course impossible to be in a movie, the way the “reality of the movie” is perceived in the [unreal] time frame it is presented (to state the obvious). A “movie”, by definition, is an antonym of “real life”.

So what if you find yourself in a situation which your brain can’t interpret as “reality”, is it not understandable to want to describe it as a “movie”? Except this movie has no crew, no trailers, no snacks, no lights or cables. Instead of actors brushing off the dirt from their clothes, and the fake blood from their faces – in this “movie” – if you’re on the ground, you are not getting up. The director is not saying “cut”, he just keeps on shooting.

This is not a “movie”. It feels unreal, but it is reality. No matter how useful the phrase might be as a first description to grasp for, it won’t do after the shock dissipates. It would be to give the script writer/director too much satisfaction.

This real situation will make even clearer the support and love for a free, open and accepting society. And let’s hope that all the tears that it is causing will dissolve the digital ink of the piece-of-crap script into an illegible smear.

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