Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hot Topic Tuesday: Violence and Hollywood

After last week's tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, it was only a matter of time before we heard pundits hop on CNN and MSNBC and tout the "Violence and Hollywood" angle as a possible motive.  A secondary thread to this is "Violence and Video Games" and that is also another factor in this case.  Many folks want to take a look at MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) ratings because PG-13 films have the same amount of violence, suggestive scenes, and language that a Rated R film did ten years ago.  Has violence in Hollywood movies escalated?  Sure.  I would hardly argue with that statement as torture porn movies like Saw came in vogue and sophomoric sex humor encouraged by the success of the Judd Apatow movies grew.  I think we have become accustomed to tolerating more in our PG-13 movies as trends and social mores have changed.

A movie studio often finds an R rating slapped on its film the kiss of death because it eliminates a younger moviegoing audience that would fuse a lot of cash into the box office.  They want that younger viewer to see the movie once and then love it so much that they pay the ten dollars (Or fourteen dollars if you are in a big city.) to see it again.  Can you imagine putting a rated R rating on The Avengers or Dark Knight?  Nope, it won't ever happen.  This is where it is up to parents to police what their kids are seeing and the games they are playing.  I imagine it is a constant struggle to figure out what is appropriate given that new movies and games are released each week.

However, the real question circles us back to what happened last week in Colorado:  Did the gunman's obsession with the Batman franchise inspire his violent acts?  Did his love for bloody video games take his role playing to another level?  While I know everyone loves to make Hollywood the scapegoat in these situations, I am actually going to have to defer to the fact that he clearly had massive psychological issues and while he wanted to recreate a scene from fiction and make it reality, the real issue is gun control.  While our Second Amendment to the Constitution allows us "to keep and bear arms", I think there has to be a limit.  Protecting your family with a handgun seems reasonable, especially after living in Hollywood with celebrities constantly dealing with stalkers.  If you are into hunting, I think owning a hunting rifle makes sense for your sport. (While I am not a fan, I get that some people want to participate in this centuries old pastime.) Yet, not one person has been able to answer this question for me:  Why does someone need a semiautomatic weapon/assault rifle in their gun collection?   Why are weapons like this even accessible to us in the United States?  In 2004, Congress allowed the Federal Assault Weapons ban to expire.  Well, Congress, I hope you enjoyed the fruits of your labor....twelve innocent lives were lost last week.

Your turn to chime in on this hot topic.  I realize that politics plays into this a bit.  I ask that you are respectful to people's views and let's calmly and rationally discuss gun control, violence, and Hollywood.


  1. I have this fantasy that all the violence that surrounds us is the "last gasp" of the old order of things, and that somehow there is going to be a collective raising of human consciousness. And, we are going to need a real peacemaker and leader in government to get the ball rolling.
    Well, I can dream, can't I?

    1. I'll dream along with you, Nancy. That would be pretty amazing........sigh.

  2. We as parents are responsible for our children, Hollywood has no responsibility in the action of this "Sociopath". Also: I don't think that parents should take their Young children and infants to a midnight showing, I think these showings should be for 18+. Kelly

    1. While I don't want to condemn any of the parents who brought little kids to the movies in Aurora that night.....they certainly have enough grief and trauma to deal with......I do think that 18+ for screening after 10PM isn't a bad idea. The Arclight in LA does 21+ screenings because they serve alcohol, but it is a fun way to keep a specific screening for adults only.

  3. Having two boys who creatively write and who have watched violence in movies and video games...as human beings they couldn't be more wonderful, caring, talented, good-hearted, and non-violent. So, they would never act on what they see or write. However, as a life-long educator I do know that not all children are balanced. Therefore, there absolutely needs to be ratings and regulation on violent/questionable content in movies and the age of people who see them.

  4. Yeah, that's a tough one to police to....what do you do when you have a child that is imbalanced? It's not a simple answer.


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