Before heading to work tonight, I was watching TV while noodling around on my computer. I had the extreme displeasure of seeing Austin Powers on syndicated television.

Don't get me wrong - Austin Powers is a funny movie. But it was censored eight ways to Sunday, and badly, at that. A few examples:

  • Austin's Swedish Penis Enlarger Pump was changed to Swedish-made Enlarger Pump. Somehow, "penis" was declared to be taboo... yet the word was used no less than three times on the Drew Carey Show, less than an hour earlier, on the same station.
  • The villainess Alotta Fagina had her name changed to "Allota Cleavage" (Pronounced "Clee-VAH-jay"), which totally destroyed the crudely witty reference to the James Bond villainess, Pussy Galore.
By the time I got this far into the movie, I was disgusted, and turned the TV off. How is it that our society has gotten so twisted that any reference to sex (an act of creation, or at least pleasure) is declared to be more offensive than violence (an act of destruction)? Is our society so ass-backwards that we're now EMBRACING entropy, even unconsciously?

Then we get to the incident at Santana High School yesterday, where Charles Andrew Williams, a scrawny kid who was picked on by classmates, went on a shooting rampage, killing two students (Bryan Zuckor, 14, and Randy Gordon, 17) and injuring 13 others, including two teachers. Yet, unlike Klebold and Harris, the murderers in the Columbine massacre on April 20, 1999, Williams didn't commit suicide at the end of his shooting spree, and even surrendered peacefully to the police. I look back at my own high school days, and think, "There but for the grace of God go I." But I don't think such a dramatic, drastic solution would ever occur to me. At worst, I wished that my tormentors would vanish, but I never had fantasies about killing them.

This incident is bad enough, granted - another example of a society that's decaying rapidly - but the principal of Santana made matters worse by blaming Williams' friends, telling them publicly, "Those of you who knew about this, don't bother coming back to school." (Paraphrased). How is this going to help matters? How can ANYONE believe that someone who is a friend is actually serious about wanting to commit murder? Not just murder, but a near-indiscriminate shooting spree? It's far easier to believe that he was joking - especially since he was known as a joker - than to believe he was serious. They carry enough guilt on their own, you don't need to compound matters. The fact that somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty people had been told what he planned to do, and none of them took him seriously enough to mention it to a parent or teacher suggests that nobody truly believed that he would ever do that. Society asks us all to make judgment calls every day of our lives. Second-guessing the judgment of these individuals after the fact won't solve anything.