- A little hope perhaps? Steven Pinker — he was the guest on the Colbert Report a few weeks ago I believe — wrote this book called The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined and now PhysOrg is running an article on the book, Pinker, and the theories the book contains. The major being this:
“The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.“
The PhysOrg article mentions several statistics, I’d assume from the book, to support the hypothesis. It mentions “genocide deaths” (which was 14,000 times higher in 1942 than it was in 2008), “battle deaths” (which has dropped 1000X “over the centuries”), and even the number of democracies (from 20 in 1946 to 100-ish now). But these statistics don’t come without some obvious rebuttals.
First off, if we’re going to have a benchmark year for “genocidal deaths” I would think anytime between 1936 and 1942 would be a skewed benchmark due to what was happening in the world at the time. No? And I would wager that the “technological advancement” argument has or will be applied to Pinkman’s “battle death” statistics. With wealthier military forces opting for Drone strikes, precision bombing (“precision”…), etc. And then there’s more advanced techniques for insurgents also. I think it’s fairly easy and cheap now to create a high-powered IED or bomb than it used to be (not sure?). So my point is that war is less and less a face to face endeavor, the further our technology pushes. Sure, the side getting bombed isn’t dropping in number of casualties, but surely the ones on the offensive are putting less and less lives at risk.
Not that I’m trying to totally refute the books claims. Nor would I like to. I’d like to believe we’re becoming a more peaceful people. Maybe we are. But that might have more to do with circumstance than people themselves. Still though, it’s nice to see a little hope.
Again, THE ARTICLE.
- Onto the geeky side of things. After years of poorly recieved and performing Punisher motion pictures, Marvel has opted for the television route with the character. Recently they announced that Fox will be producing a TV adaptation in which Frank Castle will be a young NYPD detective who, during his off-duty hours, moonlights as the justice seeking “Punisher”. This is all, all wrong. I’m all for revamping characters, I think a ton of them could use it, but this isn’t right.
I’m not sure why NO ONE has thought that updating the character for modern times wouldn’t work. What I mean is turning Frank back into his twenties, and having him return from multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq (originally it was the Vietnam War) to a family that no longer recognizes him, a job he no longer has, and a city full of desperate people in desperate times. In Jason Aaron’s PunisherMAX series, he recently had Castle imprisoned for killing a cop. In his world, the NYPD only barely tolerated Castle’s brutal antics, and once he crossed the line by killing a cop (albiet a corrupt one) that tolerability ceased. It’s been one of the more interesting twists to the the run. I suppose one could write in a similar theme to this show; with certain cops knowing about Castle’s vigilantism and turning a blind eye to it. But there’s an uneasiness between the NYPD and the Punisher in the book that is as key as his war against crime.
But Frank Castle as an NYPD detective? I dunno…