What is it about hitmen? (And apologies to all you feminist hitwomen out there, but "hitperson" lacks that je ne sais quoi, so I'm sticking to the masculine form.) They're all over the bloody place - and, pace Tom Cruise in Collateral, they're hardly ever villains. They're loveable and bumbling like Colin Farrell in In Bruges, loveable and inebriated like Ben Kingsley in You Kill Me, machinelike but principled like Timothy Olyphant in Hitman, or possessed of fabulous superpowers, like James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie in Wanted. How is it that characters who are, essentially, mercenary murderers are nowadays being offered up to us as heroes, whose killing skills we are expected to applaud and admire?
But far from being a romantic rule-breaker, ronin or rebel operating beyond the restraints of society, he is a mere tool of the system. The ultimate businessman, in fact. Isn't it about time we stopped treating him like one of the good guys?
The fascination with the dark side will always be there. Have you seen the tv series
Dexter, based on a book series by Jeff Lindsay? Forensic analyst by day - serial killer by night, and he's the protagonist.
Not always is it men. Lately there have been several books, as well as movies, where a woman is the hit"man". Probably for the surprise element.
Not all hitmen are mercenaries. We have hitmen in the military they are just called snipers.
In life there is always a reason. Whether good or bad, its the choice made by the person. if your a hit man your the "evil" of the sniper. If your a sniper you are a good guy because you are doing it for the just cause.
In some movies they are showing that the hit man or woman isn't usually all bad. No different then serial rapists, murderers, arsonists etc.
Everything nowadays is glorified for the idea of entertainment. They even have a play station game called hitman where you play as the hitman.
My son wanted to get it. I forbid him. Garbage in, garbage out.
I feel very strongly about the video game issue, perhaps because I've been playing them since the NES came out in the 80s, and I'm stick and tired of the media dogging on violence in video games they have no knowledge about.
One report recently, was about a game called Mass Effect. The media was talking about how it had all this explicit sex in it and your character actually had sex, and this woman who was saying all this admitted on air that she had not played the game. The fact is, the game does not have explicit sex in it. That's just one example.
Grand Theft Auto IV was blasted. Glenn Beck said it would turn your kids into murderers, or something crazy like that. But GTA IV is a crime story, a rather complex one. The story is not flawless, but it is far from mindless killing. There is one part in the game, where your character chases an enemy to the top of a building, to the edge, and you are given the choice of whether to let him live or kill him. It is actually beneficial to let him live, because he helps you out later if you do.
The point is, reading about murder and playing a game about it is the same thing. I think it is hypocritical to blast violence in video games, yet not have any qualms at all about books. Video games have a rating system, too. Books don't. What's the difference between a sex scene in a book or a sex scene in a movie? One medium is rated, and the other isn't. One has to be imagined, and one doesn't. But video games, or movies for that matter, don't glorify crime any more than books do.
It's a double standard, and if you ever get a chance to play or see someone play Metal Gear Solid 4 for PS3, take that chance. That game is an experience. It takes storytelling to a whole new level, and even though it is essentially a shooting game, it also tackles the issue of PMCs in modern warfare and the rise of fascism in modern society, complex issues that are handled as carefully as in any other medium.
I'm not saying 5 year olds should play GTA IV. There is a time and place for these things. But as long as the parent takes the time to make sure their kids know the difference between right and wrong and fiction and reality, no kind of media will corrupt them.
But I do think parents should learn more about video games before blindly condemning them, or assuming knowledge about them they got from the media, because the media is very biased against video games.
My only issue with video games is that they're addictive (and the conspiracy nut in me belives that game makers have worked to make them more addictive the same way cigarette manufacturers worked to make smokes more addictive - okay, I'm mostly kidding ;)
Also, I think you're right, people have too much of a knee-jerk reaction that says, "books=good, TV/video games=bad."
I've let my son play grand theft auto, God of War, and several others. The hitman one, I do have a problem with, in letting him own it and play it until he defeats it. I am sure he has played a trial version here, which is where I decided I didn't like the theme. The other games didn't seem that bad to me. Some games seem like the "M" rating is over doing it some.
I agree. I've never watched Dexter--and won't--for that reason. Having a hitman as a villain is one thing; showing other aspects of his personality to humanize him makes the book or movie better by more fully developing the character. (Armand in Elmore Leonard's KILLSHOT comes to mind.) But to make him the protagonist, to encourage the audience to identify with him to the point of cheering for his success, is, to me, distasteful. Lawrence Block is a hell of a writer, and Keller is a great character, but I can't stomach another of those stories.
Also, nothing personal, but I find equating a military sniper with a contract killer to be equally distasteful.
I don't see why. They are both killing people. Whether its to better governments and for the welfare of our country or the price of Money. Granted the sniper is a much more moral and honorable way to go. But the personality of the person who can do that work whether for good or for evil is the same, its just the reason for which they do it that makes it honorable or dishonorable.