I didn’t want to do this, but after the last couple weeks someone has to. A confluence of stupidity and insecurity in my town has bubbled over. If you follow professional golf, you are aware that a big tournament just wrapped up at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. The fact that I have to add the state is significant; Louisville ranks 28th in population in the U.S. but still has to be identified by state so people know where it is. It’s symptomatic of Louisville’s long-standing inferiority complex. Louisville is the home of one of the sports world’s biggest events but every year when famous people come to town the locals and the local media act like the shy kid when the cheerleader talks to him: “Gawrsh, me?” This year Louisville got to play the rube twice, marveling at starlets in designer gowns and singers with fancy see-gars during Derby and again when the hot story of the day was whether Tiger would sit or stand, ham or turkey, tea or coffee. Dear Louisvillians: if you don’t want to be seen as backward hicks, don’t act like them.
So then, some ambitious dropout decided to draw attention to the town by creating a poster advertising the Louisville Purge. Based on a poorly-conceived movie about a night of lawlessness, the idea was to encourage people to behave as if all law was suspended. Loot, rape, and pillage because we saw it a movie. Great. Just the way an aspiring world-class city wants to be represented to the world. “Look at us! We’re just like Californy! Even gots us our own Manson fam’ly!” Morons. Consider this, Purge fans: it’s a movie. Not real. Fiction. Someone dreamt it up, wrote it down, and paid people to act like they were killing and being killed. It wasn’t real, and it wasn’t a real good idea. Are the moviemakers to blame, or is it arguable that anyone weak-minded enough to use a movie as justification for random murder was far enough gone that the trigger didn’t matter? I’m not arguing because I suspect nothing will ever happen to the filmmakers regardless.
If there a bigger, deeper problem? Probably, if nominally responsible people have nothing better to do than roam around shooting and robbing strangers. Is there a fix–political, social, economic? Who knows. The cause is likely too slippery to track down and eliminate. Thanks to the possibilities offered by the internet and anonymity of living in a big city, this kind of occurrence is incredibly hard to prevent. Louisville doesn’t have a particularly good or bad track record on random violence, but having its very own purge is a lousy line to add to the city’s history.
For several years the city has been placing giant posters of notable natives of Louisville and Kentucky on its downtown buildings: Olympians, artists, business people. Louisville claims some impressive offspring: Hunter S. Thompson, Zachary Taylor, Wilson Pickett, Sue Grafton, Gus Van Sant, Muhammad Ali and dozens more. It can do better than adding a murder-mongerer to that list.