Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: hate

Pacifism and My Violent Book

     I’m a pacifist. Not a passive-ist. A pacifist. I am against violence in all forms for any reasons. Strange, eh?

     I wrote a book that has a lot of violence in it. Bad guys killing and harming good guys. Good guys killing and harming bad guys. Alignment-unknown guys killing and harming … everyone. Blood and death and harm and stuff. It almost makes you wonder how I reconcile that with my beliefs.

     I also tend to enjoy media that has violence in it. Game of Thrones is probably my favourite show in TV right now. And if you’ve ever seen a more violence show, I’d be surprised. And I’d ask what kind of sick cable channel you are subscribing to. Most of the books I read have violence. Every video game I play involves blowing something up.

     So what gives, Matt? You some kind of ridiculous hypocrite or something?

     Probably. But not for that reason.

     I find violence reprehensible because of the suffering it causes and the damage it does to the violent’s soul. But I cannot deny that violence has been a part of the human experience ever since we crawled out of the goop. I’d be willing to bet that everyone has an ancestor who took lives through violence. It’s engrained in us. That’s one of the reasons most people find the idea of pacifism so repulsive.

     Art is not idealized life. It’s elevated life. Art (literature, paintings, performances, TV shows, etc) needs to show every true aspect of life. And one of the most basic and foundational truths about the lives we live, is violence and death. Like Hemingway said, “All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”

     A writer, or any other artist, has no right to keep from his or her reader those things he disagrees with. That’s one of the reasons why I find it very difficult to reader Christian novels. They are sterile. There is no shit, only poop. And it’s not poop that ever hits the fan.

     I hate violence in any situation. But it’s a part of life, so it needs to go in the stories I make. Just like I hate malice and conflict and suffering and sickness and cancer. These horrid things are all around us. The writer who leaves them out of his book had better have a good reason for it.

Dirty Words

There are some words that put my teeth on edge. I guess everyone has words that do that to them. My list is pretty unique, though. I hear these words nearly each day. I’d love to stamp them out.

  • Can’t. This is the f-bomb for Matt Cook. I would rather my kids use profanity than hear them say ‘I can’t do this.’ or ‘I can’t be that.’ Can’t is a cage. Can’t is a poison. Can’t is a lie. The dirtiest kind of lie. Can’t is the abuse disablers throw at the people who drop keys for beautiful, rowdy prisoners. Can’t says that the God-spark in us is weak. And that’s blasphemy, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Never. This is the slightly more subtle cousin of can’t. He’s a bastard, too. And arrogant. Never is a closed door that claims there is nothing on the other side. Never is the unjust hyperbole a man uses when arguing with his wife. How many conversations have turned toxic when one person says ‘You never help me. You never listen. You never…’ Never is a hammer. It’s useful in precious few situations. In most cases it just hurts people.
  • Hate. If never is a hammer, hate is a bomb. When you tell me that you hate olives or cheese or Justin Bieber, you are telling me that everything in your soul is set against that thing. You are telling me that, if you could work your will, you’d destroy that thing. And I would weep if you succeeded at getting rid of the world’s olives, even though I don’t care for them. Because some people do. Because Justin Bieber, despite whatever you think of his music, is a human soul, shining with the light of God. Because there is almost nothing in the world so vile that it is worthy of hate. In fact, one of the only things we have to hate, is hate itself.
  • Stupid. When a man refuses to use understanding when dealing with a difficult idea or person, he runs to this word. And he gets used to using it. Suddenly everyone is stupid. Trouble at work? Boss is stupid. Trouble in the government? Politicians are stupid. Trouble in the wide world? All those strange cultures and philosophies and religions are stupid. Suddenly everyone is stupid. Except me, of course. I’m clever as a fox.