Monday, December 9, 2013
Purple State of John
Thoughts of a wordslinger…
by JOHN MARKS
Have you ever asked yourself what you might do when faced with a terrible choice? What might happen if you had to act against your own conscience in order to follow a direct order or please a superior? It’s much easier to answer the question if it’s a matter of life and death or a question of saving a loved one, but what about those times when authority alone puts you in the box? This Sunday, horror film director Eli Roth, who gave us Cabin Fever and the Hostel movies, doesn’t just pose these questions, he runs a test to try and answer them.
As writer and producer of this hour of television, I’m biased, but the results are fascinating.
Roth, the Discovery Channel and a team of producers, editors, cinematographers, psychologists and actors have attempted a version of the fifty-year-old Milgram experiments, the brainchild of social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who scandalized the scientific community in the 1960’s by demonstrating with the help of a device called a shock generator that a majority of Americans, when prodded by authority, might be capable of committing horrendous acts against complete strangers.
The test results raise troubling questions about our own era and suggest at the same time unexpected solutions to an age-old moral problem. If you want to know what I’m talking about, tune in this Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST to the Discovery Channel series Curiosity.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how evil you can potentially be, this one’s for you.
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