I realize now that I was guilty of exactly what I blame people for today.
It was a constant mental battle with my ego; an effort to compensate for those scraps of carnal knowledge, like many uncomfortable splinters incrementally digging deeper into my skin, that told me what I was working on and therefore condoning as “just a job” was morally and ethically wrong.
You see, I was a professional Hollywood sound designer – the guy who made war scenes and civil war reenactments sound so incredibly real. I was the guy who used “foley” recordings of squeezed fruit and veggies to produce realistic blood and guts for total aural stimulation in the entertainment experience. I was the guy who made monsters and dragons come to life, designing the roars and squeals that hopefully made the audience recoil with excitement; accepting for just that brief interactive experience the death and dismemberment, murder and rape, torture and sadism that goes into the making of many of Hollywood’s movies and games; Jewish torture porn as I now know it to be called. I knew, for instance, that some of the best screams and squeals of shear terror, pain, and agony emanating out from my massive sound library at Soundelux studios was that of the castration of pigs in slaughter yards. And yet the sincerity of these sounds are what made such evil creatures, created through some sick, twisted, and perverted artist somewhere, come to life and make my audiences skin crawl.
And I quite enjoyed my work. For I was an artist myself, unaware of my own dissonance and denial that what I was doing may very well be harming others and myself.
I had listened to the arguments. I had even considered them briefly; like a starving man considers a day old uneaten hamburger, weighing the dangers and consequences of the very sustenance that would end the pangs of his hunger. But with me it was my ego that was hungry. I strived to be the best at what I did, and received acknowledgements and awards for my work and work ethic. I considered the horror that I was promoting and creating, and my ego only wanted more – more notoriety, more respect, more money, and more credits for my now worthless resume’.
A demon’s hiss? No problem.
The Devil’s vocals? Ok. I can do it.
Zombies, gremlins, dragons, goblins, and just pure evil? Great. Bring it on!!!
One day, as I had increasingly been listening to internet radio and talk shows in my windowless and soundproof studio, I heard an interview with a United States soldier. This young man, barely out of high school, was in charge of flying the drones that were dropping bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and wherever else the United States government asked him to. For him, this was just a job – dropping bombs on men, women, and children. He referred to the flight controls as being very similar to a video game booth. And for some reason, this boy struck a nerve with me.
As he explained the details of each mission, sitting comfortably in an underground bunker with joystick in hand and an approximately three-second delay between the drone camera and his digital reconstruction of that feed thousands of miles away in the deserts of New Mexico, he proceeded to explain that the kill ratio was not very accurate. He explained that for every suspected “terrorist” that he would attempt to kill by dropping bombs from a pilotless drone across the world, the collateral damage was expected and accepted to be around 95% in civilian casualties.
In other words, 95 innocent men, women, and children would needlessly die for every actual target that was hit by these drone attacks.
Perhaps this would have been enough to set things into motion for me; to squash my ego and realize what later became so loud and clear… but there was more to this story.
As this boy soldier, a corporal, went on with his daily routine, he commented that his wife and children also lived on the military base with him. And like any 9-5 job in any corporation in America, this boy went home to his family each night as if all was right in the world; as if what he was doing was perfectly normal.
But it was his final clutches into my ego that were the most haunting…
As a young kid, he continued in that interview, this deliverer of unmanned death and destruction was a video game fanatic. Thus, comparing this weapons and flight simulator to an arcade video game booth was just a forgone conclusion in his head. This was literally just like his favorite games. This really was “Modern Warfare”.
For whatever reason, it was this one event in my short-lived career as a Hollywood sound editor that shattered my ego into many pieces. It made all of those Christian fundamentalist’s and concerned parent’s incessant ranting about violence in video games and movies become a reality. It was right in front of my face; for the first time spoken to me by an eye-witness of his own self-subversion and social media conditioning. Perhaps it was the singularly disturbing lack of empathy in his voice as he referred to flesh and blood people, including children, as targets, assets, and collateral. Or perhaps it was his lack of conscious in the contradiction of his own disposition – coming home to his wife and children after a day of killing real wives and children for a living, without the irony or absolute mental illness of that situation being readily apparent through his confident and militarily trained responses.
This was a turning point in my life – one of those defining moments that either makes or breaks a man; instilling an undoubting and permanent morality that can not be shaken or washed away by the tides of time. It was the destruction of a large chunk of my own cognitive dissonance.
Over the next year or so, I went room to room and asked my fellow and more experienced co-workers if the years of design of demonic images and bloody sound effects had yet created a sense of dread in them. The answers were sporadic, mostly depending upon their age. However, overwhelmingly those answers were of the opinion that with the advent of newer and better technologies to create more terrifying and graphically superior and disgusting monsters, the more the constant visualization of these images were effecting the well-being of these designers. Some wished to quit but had families and so couldn’t. Some prayed every night in the hopes that this would somehow make their involvement in this gross promotion of gore and violence more acceptable to God, for which I was equally disturbed. And yet the youngest of these people; those who had grown up in the modern advanced video game generation, seemed to assess my questions as ridiculous – as if I was one of those crazy fundamentalists or parent groups out there trying to take away their fun. This delicious irony only further solidified my distaste for what I was doing as a job. I was literally helping to disassociate whole generations of children and adults from reality – creating dissonance in promotion of ego, destroying empathy, and causing what would otherwise be shunned as perverse and morally wrong to be accepted as perfectly normal and in fact wonderful.
I was the media. I was the bad guy. And yet, until the end, I could not see this job as anything but cool… with my name 2×10 feet in brightly lit movie credits.
And sadly, when I left, my naturally Jewish boss made no illusions. There were 1,000’s of people out there that wanted my job. And I gave him no delusions that I wanted to come back some day. For I made the conscious decision to quit Hollywood and to move far away. As he was interviewing a young and impressionable kid to take my place, he insincerely wished me luck.
As I finished up with my work on the ultimate zombie-gore-fest entitled “Resident Evil 5”, I vowed to never participate in this type of media again. I quit Hollywood!!!
I have told this story many times on various radio interviews, attempting to instill in people not only the crisis of conscious that I myself went through, but also the fact that there is life outside of the established guidelines of what is considered “normal”. My job was normal. And yet, normal is a sickening participation in debauchery.
This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
–Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe–
I believe that no truer words have ever been spoken, than those of this quote. In one complexly simple sentence, this quote defines exactly the truth of this life and this consciousness. And yet everything out there, including my former profession, is designed to disassociate people from that consciousness; to numb the mind and excite the body, and to absolutely adjust whole generations to a profoundly sick society.
Take it from someone who’s been there…
Finally, as you likely did not get the opportunity to hear what I did, I was recently sent this video that has the same type of situation. Here, a group of soldiers shows you the video game booths and their controls for which they use to fly these unmanned drones and kill families in distant foreign lands.
“The U.S. Air Force is in the midst of radical change, now training more drone pilots than fighter pilots.”
This, you see, with the help of the video game, movie, and other digital entertainment media, is now becoming normal. And before you know it, these soldiers will be flying over your home. And somebody in camouflage fatigues will be making the decision for that drone pilot as to wether or not your family is acceptable collateral damage or not while texting his wife to cook a steak that night. Expect to see predictive programming reality television shows about these domestic drones and how normal they are, and more “toys” that can be flown through your so-called “smart-phones” – you know, the surveillance device carried around by most not-so-smart people who have been conditioned to believe that these smart-grid technologies placed into their phones and pads are for fun, entertainment, and for making a simple phone call.
At around 6:30 in this video, we see these military drone pilots acting normally:
“So, I have the opportunity to go to work, fly a mission, ah- no matter where it is, do the job, and then I put on a different hat and I come home to my wife and kids.”
–Unknown soldier in video, coming to a town near you,
“no matter where it is”.
–Clint Richardson (Realitybloger.wordpress.com)
–Saturday, January 5th, 2013