In response to my last blog post, my friend posted this comment on my Facebook.
It made me think: Is the act of creating something inherently an act of responsibility?
We certainly treat it as such. We all stare at the parent in the grocery store whose kid is having a fit, and when the child breaks the sauce jars, the parent is not quite exempt from picking up the tab. They can’t just say, “Well, I’m letting her exercise her free will at the moment. Don’t worry, she’ll be punished at home.”
Creation as Culpability
People feel comfortable blaming hip hop and rap for a host of problems in urban and impoverished communities.
Consider Eminem’s self-reflective words in “Sing For The Moment”:
They say music can alter moods and talk to you
Well, can it load a gun up for you and cock it to?
Well, if it can, then the next time you assault a dude
Just tell the judge it was my fault, and I’ll get sued…
Or this excerpt from “The Way I Am”:
And all of this controversy circles me
And it seems like the media immediately
Points a finger at me (finger at me)…
When a dude’s getting bullied and shoots up his school
And they blame it on Marilyn (on Marilyn)… and the heroin
Where were the parents at? And look where it’s at…
The way the media reacts to the music that Eminem or Marilyn Manson create suggests that we believe that they’re in some way responsible for their creations and the influence they have, whether or not they’re aware of it, present for the incident, or connected in any way other than the act of having created it.
If we’ve learned anything from watching a bucket of Law and Order throughout the centuries (it really has been on TV that long), it’s that intent matters. It’s how we judge a lot of actions, and the consequences/punishments that follow.
Take a gun filled with blanks. Someone brings in your best friend and tells him to shoot you with it. He picks up the gun and pulls the trigger.
Do you know why your friendship changes at that point?
It changes because the fact of the blank cartridges, the inefficacy of the gun, and the result of you not being dead is irrelevant, or at the very least secondary, to what your friend thought the gun was going to do. His intent mattered, and it changed everything about the action.
In Defense of Creators
There is one thing that all the creators you’ve ever seen have on God, and it’s their fallibility. Every time a movie general decides to covertly “create the perfect soldier” and then it ends up going off the fucking rails and killing thousands, we think that person’s behavior is reckless to the point of criminal.
But they’ve got one solid response:
We made Frankenstein, but that shit went rogue in a hurry.”
“We made Dominus Rex, but we had no idea it was gonna rip its own flesh and then murder everyone.”
“Welp, looks like that robot we made just attacked Will Smith. Oops.”
“I wished Pinocchio would come to life, but had no idea that motherfucker would gamble away all my rent money.
Undergirding all of these explanations is the making of a reasonable answer: “I didn’t know” or “I lost control.” They can claim that while their actions had devastating consequences, they were not aware of either the extent or the number of those consequences at the time of the decision. Either way, there was something they didn’t know.
What they don’t get to claim is that everything is fucked up, but everything’s under control. Nobody accepts that.
The Grand Conclusion
So to recap:
- We believe that beings are responsible for the things they create.
- We believe that intent matters. What an individual believes or understands about an action or the consequences thereof changes the way we view that action.
- Things being completely fucked up is direct evidence against things being under control. Fallibility on some level must be invoked for a proper explanation.
So the next time somebody says that an infallible, omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving Creator God made the same world in which Friday by Rebecca Black exists and Donald Trump is running for president, and that He’s not responsible for a damn bit of that, give that a second thought.
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