OPINION: Too numb to speak up

Let’s recognize what we feel, or don’t feel


Cartoon by Josie Furst

Netflix’s hit show “Squid Game” was watched a total of 1.6 billion hours in the first 28 days of its release, according to Variety. Everyone with a Netflix account, from first graders to middle-aged women, was hooked on the show.
I hate the show. Not because of the acting, or the plot, but because it enforces a concept that has been evident across members of Gen Z since we were born.
Its name is desensitization.
Just thinking about it makes my thoughts drift to when I first watched the graphic final scene in the first episode. The piles of dead blocking the door from anyone who tries to escape. The characters’ glazed eyes staring towards the ceiling and blood dripping from their lips into the coarse sand. The bodies bent in unnatural ways as if already in a mass grave.
According to Metro News, “[In Squid Game there are] a total of 454 deaths. That’s not just more than the first season of ‘Game Of Thrones’–but more than the first three seasons combined.”
I was shaken by the violence. I would never watch the show again. That was the end of it.
So I thought.
My sister and I made a bet the next day. Would my dad, who is a big fan of “Game of Thrones,” like “Squid Game”? We shook on it and watched the first episode again with my dad.
This time, I had a different reaction.
I noticed how fake the blood looked. The dramatic deaths. I thought to myself “this isn’t so bad.” Yet, it was the same gory scene. This time I wasn’t scared of the show but of my reaction. How come after only watching it two times, I became numb?
This is the problem.
We watch so many movies with graphic violence starting at a young age that by the time we are teens, police violence doesn’t shock us. We struggle to feel something.
We’ve all heard about people feeling insecure because of social media, but it never crossed my mind to think that what I see numbs the idea of violence in my head. Swiping past clips of school shootings or watching videos where Tiktokers recreate death. All that senseless scrolling has done nothing but hurt us more.
We can do something. The first step is awareness. There’s no way to go back to feeling something for violence, but we can prevent others from being this way.
We can say something about content like this being made or brought to our doorsteps. Our voice matters. We should also acknowledge the insane amount of small children getting access to this like we did as kids. Children’s restrictions should be revisited.
We can catch ourselves when we go to watch something with a number of mature topics. While we may not feel anything for it anymore, we shouldn’t further the damage we made to our numb nerves.
This has future consequences if we do nothing. We won’t recognize the injustices around us unless they go beyond the extreme. Situations like assault will become commonplace because we’re numb to their effects if they don’t happen to us directly.
We can’t be remembered as the generation who was too numb to speak up.