Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Violence in media

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Sunday Screams
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Every time something bad happens people want to pick a scapegoat, a simple cause to all problems. How can a parent come to terms with his/her guilt for not raising his/her child correctly? It’s much easier to blame violent media, whether it be games, movies, news, music or any other pop culture trend. And we the fans of the attacked medium tend to have a knee-jerk reaction and accuse something else, guns, lack of mental health care, bad parents, etc. This is especially true when attacking something or someone serves the attackers own personal interests like the NRA attacking everyone else to divert the attention from the fact that guns do (help) kill people or horror movie makers saying that guns and proper mental health care are the problem. This doesn’t help anyone.

Now, so you know where this is coming from let me interrupt my ramblings and tell you where I come from. I’m an European male reaching 30 who has enjoyed watching horror from his early teenage years. I’ve lived around violent movies, violent games and violent books for as long as I can remember. And my opinion is that as long as no one is harmed in the process, film makers and other entertainment creators should be free to approach any topic they desire. It’s then up to the audience to decide whether it’s safe for them to see it or not. I’ll give you an example, I’ve made the conscious choice not to see A Serbian Film because it features some scenes that I know I’m not comfortable with, but I think that it’s creators had every right to do it and I won’t judge anyone for watching it.

The problem with horror and violence in media is that it explores depths of the human mind that aren’t usually visible and explicit. But human beings are violent creatures, towards ourselves and others. I admit sometimes I have violent thoughts, sometimes I even think about torturing people, what I would do and how. Why? Simple. I’m watching the news and a rape story comes up. Someone kidnapped a woman and raped and left her for dead somewhere. My mind then starts to imagine what I would do if someone did this to my wife. It’s not pretty. I’m not proud of it. But it does that. Do I really think I would do that if that were to ever happen? No, no I don’t. Because the correct response would be to be with my wife and help her and not to chase someone for revenge. I know this because that’s what I learned while growing up. Sane people know the difference between right and wrong and they can choose the right thing to do. We all go crazy in traffic when someone cuts us off but most of us calm down and go on with our lives. Some people don’t.

Imagine you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. Now imagine you see a movie like Mientras Duermas (Sleep Tight), a movie that tells the story from a psychopaths point of view. Now imagine you find yourself thinking that what he did was ok, not right or wrong, just ok. Or maybe you’re bullied in school and have nothing going for you in life, and you see in the news a story about a kid just like you who took revenge upon his bullies (and a few other school kids). It’s impossible to ignore that violent media can have this effect, and we as fans, have the responsibility to at the very least be aware of this. But violent media is not the  only one to blame here. Guns availability is a problem. In my country if a kid decides to kill a lot of kids in school it’s not easy for him to find a gun. It’s difficult enough that maybe in the process he just gives up. Also, parents, teachers, doctors, brothers, neighbors,  etc., the whole society needs to stop ignoring these issues. And I don’t mean demonize them I mean talk about them in a sensible way. Take constructive action towards it. Help children learn the difference between right and wrong, fiction and reality, teach them common sense, monitor them and control what they’re exposed to based on their maturity not age. Be on the constant look out for weird behavior and I don’t mean enjoying zombie movies, watching porn or listening to death metal, I mean depression, keeping to themselves, not being able to empathize, violence towards parents, etc..

My final thoughts on this subject are that violent media if properly consumed (which can greatly vary from person to person) can help deal with our dark passengers, by knowing them and their desires we can control them and subdue them but it can also feed them, make them stronger and help them grow until they consume us and we’re no longer the driver.

Guns? Guns are just tools, tools that can turn one poor kid’s suicide into a school slaughter.