Why? is the simple, impulsive question we ask when confronted by horrible acts of hatred and violence. Why do students shoot fellow students or employees their coworkers? Why do mothers drown their children or husbands stalk and kill their wives? Love to Hate challenges us to turn this question upon ourselves at a deeper level. Why, as a culture, are we so fascinated by these acts? Why do we bestow celebrity on the perpetrators, while allowing the victims to fade into a second death of obscurity? Are we, as Pope John Paul II famously accused, "a culture of death"? And if so, how can we break free of this unacknowledged aspect of the cycle of violence? Unlike those who point solely to media imagery, splintered families, or lax gun control laws in search of the roots of America's endemic violence, Jody M. Roy suggests that we all must be held responsible. She argues that we reveal our love affair with hatred and violence in the ways we think and speak in our daily lives and in our popular culture. The very words we use function as building blocks of callousness and contempt, betraying our immersion in subtexts of violence and hatred. These subtexts are further revealed in our complex attitudes toward street gangs, school shooters, serial killers, and hate groups and the paroxysms of violence they unleash. As spectators, driven by our impulse to watch, we become an integral part of the equation of violence. In the book's final section, "Freeing Ourselves of Our Obsession with Hatred and Violence," Roy offers practical steps we can take -- as parents, consumers, and voters -- to free ourselves from linguistic and cultural complicity and to help create in America a culture of life.
Columbia University Press
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