Saturday, 2 April 2011

' society drunk with the fascination of bloodshed."

When you think about it we will all have had some experience of violence; no doubt some personalised accumulation or knowledge in regard to violence, we may read about violent crime and hear about in the news, and possibly every other day as it seems, or we may have (and havens above) been on the receiving end.

It has always intrigued and interested me, curiosity killed the cat they say, but for years I have often wondered why it was and still is that the media and the entertainment industry promote violence and gave it a covering of honourableness and in a great many respects, well not just a covering but a grate big dollop of honorificabilitudinitatibus (there is nothing like a big word).  

The debate over media violence has circumvented definitive answers for more than three decades. At first, the debate is dominated by one call into question —whether or not media violence in reality causes real-life violence. But closer examination reveals a political battle. On the one hand, there are those who blame media violence for social violence and want to censor violent content to protect children. On the other hand there are those who see regulation as the slippery slope to censorship or a smokescreen hiding the root causes of violence in society.  

One thing is certain: the issue of media violence is not going away. Increasingly the debate is focusing on the "culture of violence," and on the normalization of aggression and lack of empathy in our society.

This is a subject that should really be tackled not only by society but by socialists and in the progressive tense. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on domestic violence. However I don’t think, and for weeks after felt that I was not able to convey what I really felt about this matter, which is I believe still a gray area in which many, especially men who would rather not visit it and for all the obvious reasons, men just don’t like the general inference and the finger pointed at them, that’s not to say that all men are women-beaters far from it, but a great many still are, that’s a simple fact sustained by statistics in equilibrium and without any doubt.

So let me come back to that in time, but for now let’s explore media violence, and by the way I intend to cover this whole subject in two or possibly three posts.

The ancient Egyptians entertained themselves with plays re-enacting the murder of their god Osiris -- and the spectacle, history tells us, led to a number of copycat killings. The ancient Romans were given to lethal spectator sports as well, and in 380 B.C. Saint Augustine lamented that his society was addicted to gladiator games and "drunk with the fascination of bloodshed."

Violence has always played a role in entertainment. But there's a growing consensus that, in recent years, something about media violence has changed.

For one thing, there's more of it. A study found that between 1993 and 2001, incidents of physical violence increased by 378 per cent. TV shows in 2001 averaged 40 acts of violence per hour.

Other research indicates that media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become much more graphic, much more sexual, and much more sadistic.
Explicit and leaving nothing to the imagination, pictures of slow-motion bullets exploding from people's chests, dead bodies surrounded by pools of blood, are now commonplace fare. Millions of viewers worldwide, many of them children, watch female World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers try to tear out each other's hair and rip off each other's clothing. And one of the top-selling video games in the world, Grand Theft Auto, is programmed so players can beat prostitutes to death with baseball bats after having sex with them.

Whether or not exposure to media violence causes increased levels of aggression and violence in young people is the perennial question. Some experts argue that fifty years of evidence show "that exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively and affects them as adult’s years later." Others maintain that "the scientific evidence simply does not show that watching violence either produces violence in people, or desensitizes them to it."

What is however evident is that violent crime has not only intensified but has become more awful and ghastly this blog will argue that capitalism the system that we are all forced to live under, has sole responsibility – what do you think?”

To Be Continued…  


Chris H said...

Certainly the graphical level of violence in our media and entertainment has increased. Due in parts to more media available (remember when we had 3 channels on tv?), more technology to add realism, the introduction of video games etc. Personally I don't think that the 'make-believe' stuff we see has much of an affect upon children. As a foster carer I see much more damage done by real life violence inflicted upon or witnessed by children in their life.

One thing I don't like however, and you've mentioned it in an example is the mix of sexualisation and violence, especially upon women.

Capitalism has it's part to play. violence in media is marketable and profitable. I also think that there is something within man that sees violence as entertaining.

'Violence' will always be with us with capitalism. Capitalism needs soldiers to fight it's wars, to seize and secure resources, and to play off nations against nations.

Socialism free of the remnants of capitalism should give us a more egalitarian and humanitarian world.

Norbert said...

Thank you comrade Chris H,

A really good comment and I will touch on that in the next post.

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