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Friday, March 31, 2006

atrocious entertainment

Pieter Friedrich has a great article up on LRC today about the rampant sadism that's all the rage in our world of well as in real life.
Horror movies like Saw II, which was infamously advertised by a movie poster representing the "II" as a pair of severed fingers, dominate theaters. With the public lust for blood snowballing, horror films have increasingly abandoned suspense in favor of no-holds-barred gore. As documented by Screen It, scenes focusing on every cut and delighting in every agony have become the norm...

...In what I believe is a direct result of a cinematic glorification of torture, American war crimes have literally become a laughing matter. Several months ago, I overheard one young airman telling his sergeant about the hilarious cadences he learned during his training, including the notorious "Napalm Sticks to Kids" chant. The sergeant, entertained, requested the airman serenade him with some of these cadences. "See those kids over by the lake? Drop some napalm, watch them bake," crooned the airman, amusing the sergeant to no end. After Saw II, which netted 29 times its four million dollar production cost, featured a favorably portrayed maniac offing a houseful of men and women, it's hardly startling that nobody cares that fifteen Marines are currently accused of a My Lai style mini-massacre.
I'm a big horror movie fan, of the old-school style from Hitchcock to Carpenter, where suspense and creepy atmosphere rule the day, not mindless gore for its own sake. I absolutely refuse to spend money and time watching this new breed of horror "film". I totally agree that the ultra violence that pours into young minds from this type of "entertainment", whether movies or video games, has a direct effect on behavior. As Friedrich points out, nobody even cares that American troops may have committed a massacre.


Blogger Ross said...

I think it's wrong to argue that our current brutality overseas is in any way the result of violent entertainment. I just don't see the connection at all.

Also, I've played Grand Theft Auto and, contrary to the referenced article, it is completely false to say that the "game mainly focuses on the painstakingly detailed killing of cops". It is, as the title suggests, mostly about stealing cars.

2:59 PM  
Blogger jmc said...

It's called desensitization. It may have nothing to do with those calling the shots, but I think it has a lot to do with the troops gleefully carrying out the orders, and the vast majority of Americans obliviously ignoring it and not giving a shit.

I've never played GTA so I'll take your word for it.

3:16 PM  

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