I’m a big fan of survival. I figure not matter how bad life is, it’s always at least a step better than being dead. As such, my self-preservation instinct is very high. While I’m not risk averse or danger shy, if I’m faced with a life or death situation, I’m choosing life and doing whatever it takes to come out on top.
I naturally assume that most people are like that. Living is pretty awesome. Why then, when faced with death do characters insist on opening their mouths? Many times in movies if you just keep your trap shut you’ll either slip by unnoticed or be allowed to leave. Not keeping your mouth shut is idiotic.
Case in point came in the previous episode of True Blood. If you haven’t watched it yet, bail now, because I’m going to go into some spoilers.
Go ahead. Leave.
Okay, now that we’re all friends on the same page here, the Magister recently met his end at the cane of the King of Mississippi. It was clear that Russell wasn’t a fan of the Magister and quite possibly was going to kill him anyways. Then again, Russell is an old vampire, meaning he does, at least some of the time, play by the rules and resist killing his own kind. He seemed poised to let the Magister, someone who represented a system he hated, survive.
Then the Magister opened his fat, stupid mouth. Such a stupid, stupid mouth. The look on his face moments before the blow showed fear – clearly he didn’t want to die. So why smart mouth a man fully capable of removing your head in one swipe? Like Butch said in Pulp Fiction: “You feel that sting, big boy, huh? That’s pride, fuckin with ya.”
How many times has someone been at the mercy of another, mere second away from being released or ignored, when a thought hits them – “Hey, this guy was about to kill me, but it looks like I’m cool now, so I’m going to call his mother a whore and probably spit at him.” OH SNAP. You just made him mad and now he made you dead. Guess you should have kept your mouth shut.
I’m not sure what this is supposed to show or tell us. It’s not really that the bad guy is more evil than we previously thought. I mean, we were expecting them to kill the victim. The fact that he cares so little about them is perhaps even more damning than death – they are literally not worth killing. Like the way divers can swim up to gigantic sharks (Shark Week!) and touch them without fear of being bitten. Great White’s just don’t give a shit about people in the water because that’s their world. We’re like kittens to them.
What does it teach us about the victim who dies? That they wanted to die? That they were stupid? I mean, from a writing standpoint I really don’t get what the deal is. Are we supposed to believe that the person believed so much in their ideals they wanted to die for them? I guess that works, but in the Magister’s case he had already sold out his beliefs. In countless other examples, the person isn’t fighting for their beliefs with their last breath, they’re calling some German criminal a c0ckf****cker.
All I’m saying is respect your life a little bit more. Learn to fight another day. Keep your mouth shut. I’ve long been told one day my mouth would get me in trouble, so perhaps it’s just a little bit more ingrained in my psyche that what you say must be monitored in the presence of those who would cut your head off. What I know for certain is when I see some character seconds away from living a long, happy life throw it away with a smart ass comment or insult, their stupidity pushes me past my boiling point.
Enjoy the sunny disposition of more Boiling Point.