Every cop movie is about one guy or two partners breaking orders from their chief and the entire corrupt freakin' SYSTEM to get RESULTS. Air Force One is the story of a president who FINALLY gets s**t done, breaking Russian Gary Oldman's neck with his own parachute straps. At the end of The Untouchables, Elliot Ness is about to arrest Frank Nitti, then has second thoughts and triumphantly chucks him off a roof instead. All of this is way more satisfying and way more immediately gratifying than, say, a movie wherein some DA breaks down a line graph of the taxpayer cost per inmate of nonviolent offenders.
Making laws is boring. Seeing the effects of those laws is boring and abstract and takes forever, and it looks awful in widescreen. Big rooms of government officials talking about problems is always movie shorthand for "talkative cowards who are too afraid to take REAL action." Thus, it really is hard to imagine a group of politicians or UN ambassadors talking about reducing carbon emissions as "being tough" on anything ... even though in reality, they're standing up to some of the most powerful groups that have ever existed on earth.
At Some Point, The Cult Of Toughness Serves Only Itself
Maybe the weirdest and worst part of all this is that even if we offer hard evidence that you can, say, more effectively fight crime with better schools, jobs, and mental health services, that would still get rejected by a certain chunk of the population because that's not "getting tough." In other words, getting tough is its own goal. It's like the crime-free future of Demolition Man, which is treated as a dystopia because in the course of creating their peaceful Utopia, they'd lost their toughness. Who wants that?
It's a dumb, destructive, self-sustaining cycle in which we all congratulate each other for giving in to our most mindless impulses. This is a problem, because it turns out we live in a complex world in which it's actually common to encounter problems that cannot be resolved with a thrown brick. We need to untether ourselves from this inherent bias in our discourse whereby we've all collectively accepted that the only sign of political courage is a promise to do more of the same, but angrier this time.
If you think you're so tough, get a set of watercolors and prove it.
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