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Can movies still cause a moral panic?

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Mark Kermode | 13:30 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

Horror movies Child's Play, Severance, the Evil Dead, video games such as Grand Theft Auto, and even old action movies like Die Hard and the Towering Inferno can be identified as potential triggers for properly anti-social behaviour and worse... at least according to your blogs this week they all can.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    re the 9/11 attacks, don't forget that a book may have set the primary template for the attacks. Debt Of Honour, by Tom Clancy, ended with a disgruntled Japanese airline pilot flying his 747 in to the Capitol in Washington DC, killing the President and most of Congress. This catapulted the newly-appointed Vice-President (Jack Ryan) in to the top job.

    If anything, the book was a warning that high-profile buildings were a risk of such an attack - but since it was fiction, few people took it seriously.

  • Comment number 2.

    The 9/11 thing is unlikely let's face it. Terrorists have a history of hijacking planes and suicide attacks, it wasn't a massive intellectual leap from there to the idea of combining the two. Then there's Japanese Kamikaze pilots of course.

    I take the point about video games being the new media nasties but there's a generational element here too. Baby boomers and the generation after grew up with cinema but not video games and don't understand them as well. But still the media furore doesn't reach the same level as in the 80s and early 90s, with Home Secretarys getting involved and so on. The CofE got upset with one of its churches being used as a backdrop but the focus seemed more on that than the violence. I doubt the CofE would have made any comment on the game if its church wasn't featured. Video games don't really reach non-playing adults, however. They don't really have that many trailers, you don't see them reviewed as much as movies. Some of the lack of hysteria might be due to the fact that those that might complain about them remain largely oblivious to them. After all, to check out a video game you have to buy a console as well as the game instead of spending a few quid at the cinema.

    That being said, like with movies, the influence of video games on behaviour shouldn't be dismissed as hysteria or fear-peddling. There's some really twisted stuff out there and of course there's an interactive element that movies lack. This is an interesting article by a professor at Stanford University (generally considered a liberal-leaning university) about the subject.

    http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb-anderson.html

  • Comment number 3.

    Funk le Monk - That's interesting because I would have thought that people being oblivious to them (tabloid readers I assume we're talking about) would actually increase the level of hysteria. What usually happens when there's a furore surrounding a video nasty or a controversial video game is that the people kicking up a fuss haven't seen the film or played the game. This is great news for journalists who wish to hype up the story by describing things in such a way to make them sound worse than they really are. See how papers recently described scenes from The Dark Knight for example - the Joker supposedly being 'beaten to a pulp' in the interrogation scene, or 'tormenting his victims with knives' etc. It becomes much easier to do this with video games when your readers don't even have a clue and can't just go down to the local cinema to see the film for themselves (rather, as you say, they have to fork out £300 or so for an Xbox and the game and spend a few hours actively playing it). Hence there are plenty of examples of people describing, say, GTA3 as a game in which the player is 'rewarded for murdering prostitutes', which is not really accurate. Ok the GTA series is still pretty anti-social, but to describe it to an ignorant reader is to make it sound far worse than it is.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yeah I agree with the Batman comment. They make it sound far worse than it actually was (the scenes were played off screen for starters and its a 12A).
    I agreed with Manhunt though,which is the most recent one. As the game showed detailed scenes/moves/cut scenes on how to kill people. In most films you would cut away for a few seconds like in the Dark Knight or in Irreversible where its a dark enviorment(or Street Fighter with X-Ray vision)
    I know the game is an 18 but most parents,just think they are like films.
    But games like Manhunt wouldn't be released(Or would have serious big cuts)if it was a film.
    The impression I get from the BBFC is that games still look fake and that could be considered as "cutting away".


    I didn't see the papers go mental over Superman Returns mind.
    Where he's perving on Lois Lane outside her house.
    I think Superman Returns was a follow up to Superman 2 as well.
    So how does Lois not get wound up,when she finds out Superman is the dad at the end. Because she has her memory wiped in Superman 2.

    "When did you rape me Superman"

    That film was made for kids?????

    It could rival Terminator Salvation for plot holes for starters.

  • Comment number 5.

    P.S

    I just read this article on the BBC website.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8100579.stm

    "Science fiction drama series Primeval has been axed after "three very successful series", ITV has confirmed."

    Maybe ITV are reading these boards.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's the newspapers job to sell papers, with the internet and 24/7 rolling news delivering us the news for free, and within our own homes newspapers have to find a new way to sell there papers.
    Thats why when a murder happens that looks a little like something from film or tv the newspaper have a field day with crazy eye catching head lines that help them sell paper but also they crate a fake hysteria that helps them drag out the story over many days.

  • Comment number 7.

    Personally I get very stressed out when I start to think too hard about the 'life imitating art or vice versa' question. It's like the edge of the universe or the concept of financial profit, it's too big to think about all at once and it makes my brain fizz. And now we've got this extra layer of the press, complicating it all up till we can't see straight.

    So what I like to do is make a nice soothing metaphor out of it all. I have done, and it goes thusly:

    If entertainment media are the clouds and the general public are the soil, the rain is the transmission of broadcasts or whatever to the earth. This rain can collect in pools upon the soil, or even penetrate within it, making it change its consistency or appearance. It cannot however, change the nature of the soil. Dirt is essentially the same, whether it's wet or dry. Occasionally though, a shaft of lightning (representing the press in this scenario) appears to draw a connecting line from the clouds to the soil. It makes a smoking crater, and everyone thinks the sky must have DONE something to the mud chemistry, and consequently that the ground deserves to get struck by lightning, because it's always been grubby and dirty at heart, and had it coming. This of course is a fiction cooked up by weather enthusiasts, and an unnecessary complication. Lightning is flashy and entertaining, but ultimately has no permanence. Likewise we can't expect all surface water to run in predictable directions, that's what chaos is all about.

    God I think I've made my headache worse!

    PS geographers, don't get after me if I've got any of the science wrong. It's a sloppy analogy that I came up with on the fly, we mustn't expect miracles.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes,movies and video games and music can still cause moral panic.It is proven every day by the media and by conservatives that haven't learn yet how to prioritize their effort.

    When you wanna look for the reason why someone murdered someone else,you don't have to demonize the "Grand theft auto" that was found in his apartment,the "Slayer" album in his cd-player,the "Catcher in the rye" on his desk or the "American psycho" dvd in his living room.He did it because of many other reasons,too many to name them now but not because of the above.

    Choosing to blame movies and games is just dump,pathetic and simply not looking at the big picture.Why doesn't anyone blame the family,the parents,abuse,passion,religion and so on and so forth.
    In case of a borderline insanity,it might be possible that a movie or a game gave a little push to the murderer's actions,but then again a guy almost insane or with psychological problems will crack any moment and by any stimulus if left unattended or is not taken care of.
    Movies and games do not bring antisocial or violent behavior to the common logic person with the right level of maturity to be able to recognize right from wrong.

    -stereoroid wrote :
    "If anything, the book was a warning that high-profile buildings were a risk of such an attack - but since it was fiction, few people took it seriously."


    So i suppose you take seriously every fictional movie or book?I assume you know 90% of movies are entirely fiction.Because a book might have similarities with real life events it's because...it was written by humans.I thought that was pretty obvious.

    ...and it's always better to kill someone in GTA rather than doing it in real life isn't it?..

  • Comment number 9.

    I think we often miss the point with these discussions - we keep trying to defend films where no defence is necessary.

    The question is raised - "Can films make people do bad things, or at least tip them over the edge?"

    And we run around trying to support the point of view that says No they can't.

    The truth is that we haven't got much of a clue. But the important point is that we haven't got much of a clue as to what else tips people over, either.

    We have some (ahem) 'evidence' from Peter Sutcliffe that he heard God telling him to kill from a statue of an angel in a graveyard. Are we going to ban statues? Graveyards?

    We live in a society where we assume that everyone who is sane cannot be forced to behave against their will. But we also believe that anyone who is insane can be tipped over the edge by just about anything.

    So what's to defend?

    Steve W

  • Comment number 10.

    YorkshireMouth - Yes the question that seems to be raised is, as you say, "Can films make people do bad things, or at least tip them over the edge?", though it also seems to be "Would this crime have happened if this or that film didn't exist?".

    I'm not pro censorship, but for me the usual line of defence that people give of 'well I watch loads of violent films and I've never killed anyone' doesn't quite cut it. I'm not saying that anyone has committed murder as a result of seeing a film, and I do think the answer to that second question is most likely "yes", but I think it is naive to suggest that films have absolutely no effect on people whatsoever. The BBFC clearly think the same as their policies these days are mostly about not what is depicted, but the way it is presented (i.e. whether violence is glamourised). Not that I think the BBFC reckon that people are going to immediately start killing each other if they play the uncensored version of Manhunt 2, it's more to do with the way films can, over time, shape young people's attitudes towards sex, drugs, and violence.

    You have to ask yourself, why do we watch films? If films have no effect on our lives, then it's surely pointless to watch them. And if we believe that films can have a positive effect on people, then it must follow that they can also have a negative effect. The question is simply how much of a positive or negative effect can they have, and how much are we willing to put up with the negative for the sake of the positive?

  • Comment number 11.

    @liquidcow

    I take your point and you may be right, I just have this feeling somehow that video games are low enough under the radar to avoid even the attention to make it to a news story, unless they're completely off the wall like the baby shaker game. Plus a lot of people don't really have a frame of reference for games. Most will have seen films they don't like on TV or at the cinema and formed opinions based on that...The marketing budgets aren't as big either and moviemakers have sometimes courted controversy to sell their stuff. I'm not sure, just thinking out loud really. Probably you're right...maybe it's simply that we're seeing people being less convinced by the media nasties stories...

    The article that I linked to claims that the science suggests that watching cartoonish or fantasy violence has the same kind of behavioural effects as watching realistic violence so the BBFC shouldn't really treat them differently. I also thought that The Dark Knight felt pretty grisly for a 12A...why can't they have a 14 or 13 rating too? A year makes quite a bit of difference at that age.

    Personally I think films like Kindergarten Cop are as subversive as some of the horror flicks mentioned here. Arnie shoots the boy's Dad in front of him (apparently because being an ex drug dealer and kidnapping your own child deserves death), next minute much cheering of little children and Arnie rides into the sunset with the boy's mother to start a new happy family. There's something a bit primal, unpleasant and totally nuts about all that.

    What do you do? Just tell people the facts. If parents know that too much exposure to violence might make their kids more hard work its in their interests to do something about it and find a balance. And adults should know that when they are sat enjoying some violent or horrifying form of entertainment it may be arousing some of the less noble aspects of their nature...Ultimately beyond classification there's not a lot the state can or should do...

  • Comment number 12.

    Only a fool would consider film and video games morally poisonous to the general public.

    Violence, in particular, is something we have to face, not shun; shielding our eyes against it won't help. Better understanding is required, and some films certainly aid this noble goal. Through the depiction of violence onscreen and by analysing our reaction to it, we learn something more about an essential part of ourselves and, by extension, humanity.

    That is unless you are watching Transformers 2, in which case: all bets are off.

  • Comment number 13.

    @bowlby

    That's not backed up by science I'm afraid. The degree to which they are morally poisonous is open to debate but there is an effect. I'm not sure how many people watch a violent film and analyse their reaction to it in order to better know themselves. I've a feeling not many :) Most violent films aren't an intelligent examination of violence. And about the only thing it tells us about humanity is that people like to watch other people dress up and pretend to be somebody else while blowing things up. It seems more about vicarious wish fulfillment than anything else, we're just all a bit repressed...

    This is also interesting and slightly related

    http://www.apa.org/releases/catharsis.html

  • Comment number 14.

    you have to take a look at the past and realise that our society is built upon violence, for example there were massive conflicts like the crusades, ww1 and ww2 where tens of thousands of people were killed. Even today, with the war on terror, we see shocking footage on the six oclock news as well as extremely in-depth reports about brutal murders. The media need to look at the bigger picture rather than blame a subpar danny dyer movie in my opinion

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm an agnostic as to whether movies cause folks to pick up weapons themselves and commit acts of horrendous violence.

    I'm completely convinced that movie and TV cause folks to feel better when their leaders pick up weapons and commit horrendous acts. The show "24" makes Dick Cheney fans feel much better about torture.

  • Comment number 16.

    I put in the 9/11 comment, and whilst I am firmly okay with anyone disagreeing with me, I thought Mark was a bit too dismissive of it.

    Robert Altman agreed and made the same point. And Steve de Souza (writer of Die Hard) has told of his regret that he may have helped plant seeds for the attack.

    You cannot dismiss the fact that thousands of people said 'it was just like it was from a movie', or that it was 'eerily reminiscent' of one. That's no coincidence.

    On a side note, it works the other way too. Remember Bush's 'victory' speech for Iraq on the aircraft carrier, where he was jetted in....you can't tell me some 'bright' (used loosely) spark aide somewhere wasn't watching Topgun the week before. That stunt was a true 'video nasty'


  • Comment number 17.

    Talking about Dick Cheney, The Dark Knight is another Cheney film. In it, like most Batman films, the public are a kind of irrational, easily-led, hedonistic rabble that can't take care of themselves. At least in The Dark Knight they have the boat moment but that's about it. Batman operates in a kind of symbiotic way with the police but does the illegal dirty work the police can't. At the end of the film the public is told a lie about Harvey Dent in order to maintain social stability because they wouldn't be able to handle the truth. (the last bit I got from Slavoj Zizek).

    By the way I'm not so bothered by the voice thing. At first I thought it was ridiculous but then I figured that he would need to disguise his voice to hide his identity so I went with it.

  • Comment number 18.

    This all makes me laugh. Sometimes with disgust and sometimes just at how stupendously blind it all seems.
    If someone is capable of being influenced by a film or videogame alone to commit such horrific crimes, well then the chances are there is a high possibility its going to happen at some point anyway. End of topic.. now let the media search for new and more popular things and/or people to blame like it has been doing since its purpose became to scare-mong. Cinema is untouchable enough for my liking these days anyway (along the said terms).

  • Comment number 19.

    I quote from Wes Craven's Scream;

    "Horror movies don't create psychos, horror movies make psychos creative"

    I think this backs up my previous point.

  • Comment number 20.

    Bowlby says:

    "Only a fool would consider film and video games morally poisonous to the general public."

    For me, that's the level of rhetoric I'd rather leave to the tabloids.

    One driver pulls in front of another without indicating and we have a road rage incident - does that mean changing lanes without indicating is 'morally poisonous'? Of course not. We just accept that it might sometimes happen, and in extremely rare instances it might have some sort of impact with a close-to-the-edge driver who has a screw loose.

    As might the Nolan Sisters, if they're the next song on the radio.

    So are the Nolans 'morally poisonous'? Actually, don't answer that.

    But I hope that you take the point. Using extreme language to over-simplify the case doesn't get us anywhere.

    As a society we legislate sensibly against things that pose a real danger; not against something which might bizarrely have an unforeseeable negative impact.

    We win the argument over The Daily Mail by being logical and rational - not by reducing our level of discourse to their gutter level.

    Steve W

  • Comment number 21.

    YorkshireMouth - I quite agree. I think people get on the defensive when they feel that someone might try and tell them what they can and can't watch, or that something they do is wrong. If it's ridiculous to claim that films or video games can directly cause people to do horrible things then it's equally ridiculous to claim the opposite, that they have no effect on people whatsoever. The reality is clearly going to be far more complex.

    I note however, that the comments here have (predictably I suppose) moved on to the subject of whether films cause violence, rather than the original question of whether they can still cause a moral panic.

    Mark, are you aware of the recent minor 'panic' over the film Wishbaby? That one was interesting as it was the director himself who started it when he said that he thought the original 15 certificate was too low and that it should be an 18. He actually cited the reason that he thought teenagers might copy scenes from the film. Of course one could find all sorts of ulterior motives for this (horror fans would be less interested in a 15 rated movie, the director wanted some publicity out of the controversy), but the tabloids (and I think The One Show) did briefly lap it up. It was also another classic example of the papers describing a scene from a film to make it sound far nastier than it really is if you read the articles. Anyway, the controversy failed to really ignite, which seems to be what happens nowdays with all these attempts to create a panic.

  • Comment number 22.

    I take onboard everyone's comments regarding my own. I was a little hasty when I wrote that post, and I knew I was probably going to get myself into trouble when I started to feel that little tingling sensation the one that says, "You're going to regret this."

    I'll leave the debate as to what kind of negative effect onscreen violence or video game violence has on the people participating to where it belongs: with the clinical psychologists.

    In the question over whether movies can still cause moral panics, I think we have already proven in this very thread how pertinent a topic this is to us. I think that films certainly have the *potential* to cause moral panics, but the media has been milking that one dry for quite a while now. As long as the issue remains open and ambigious, moral panics are still possible.

    Anyways, the papes have got to have something lined up for when Parliament's out of session.

  • Comment number 23.

    Its a tough one isnt it? theres a huge differnce between the words inspired and compelled when trying to understand someones actions in relation to films or video games, should be left to psychologists. All directors try and influence the people watching there films even if its only to go and buy the toys (transformers for example) if a film dosent influence or produce an emotional reponse then whats the point of making it? Can anyone find a film that had no emotional influence on them not even inspiring a kermodean rant like marley and me or rock n rolla? At least they inspired a response and wernt completly dead!

  • Comment number 24.

    Bowlby, no worries - I largely agree with your points, and I'm equally passionate.

    Best wishes as always.

    Steve W

  • Comment number 25.

    Hey Dr. K, here is another example of how the new media is blamed for violence within society. The game Halo has been cited as a reason for a 17 year old killing his mother and shooting his father. He has even been dubbed the Halo Killer.

    http://uk.gamespot.com/news/blogs/sidebar/909182374/26922137/so-called-halo-killer-gets-23-to-life.html?tag=latestheadlines;title;6

    Maybe, just maybe, there are bigger underlying psychological and sociological problems with a child like this that play a more important role within his development than the various forms of media he consumes

  • Comment number 26.

    I've heard about the halo killer,too much trouble for a bad game :)
    But still i am pretty sure it wasn't because of halo.Take the word "halo" and replace it with anything you want."his favorite toy","parents didn't let him go to a party","they didn't buy him the motorbike he wanted" ect...this kid was probably going to do something bad anyway,given the chance.

    Games and movies as i said before CAN cause moral panic but then again..what CAN'T cause moral panic?It's our job to prioritize the dangers.Movies and games are not one of those dangers.Family is and society is.

  • Comment number 27.

    When i was younger (i am still a fairly young 22) I used to play with guns but nowadays lots of parents seem to ban guns from kids because they fear it breeds gun crime. All i can say is i have not yet been near a real gun nor do i emulate films i watch so if people had slight self control then it wouldnt matter what people watch.

    Fact is, 300 years ago people got raped, hung, decapitated etc.. what did they copy when there was little to no media influences especially in remote civilisations?? its the law of nature that some in each species will try to kill and been general bad people, dont stop good films coming out because of these losers.


    hht

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't know if anyone's already said this, I didn't read all the comments, but I'd like to offer my opinion. The reason newspapers and politicians go on about these films has very little to do with the content, and more to do with selling themselves by presenting themselves as moral crusaders. There are many examples of this; for example, the incident with 'Crash' likely would not have happened under a more liberal government, or the situation where the mayor of the town of Batman in Turkey threatened to sue Warner Brothers over the release of Dark Knight causing a crime wave in his town probably wouldn't have happened had they been able to deal with the crime wave.

    However, the idea that a film or computer game influences people to do something they wouldn't have done otherwise is always going to be a popular argument because it cannot be proven one way or the other without some kind of quantum device for creating parallel worlds where all the possible variables and outcomes are played out so we can create some probability ratio. Maybe that's what they plan to do with the Large Hadron Collider after they're finished with it, determine how effective video-nasties are at corrupting innocent minds. ;-)

    Anyway, the case for stating that these films and games and music actually effect people is based on syncronicities, rather than direct links. Take the case of the West Memphis 3, where this hysteria based on the music they listened to and how they dressed saw three boys spend the last nearly-twenty years in prison when all evidence points to their innocence. Or the constant suggestion that Marilyn Manson, attempting to reflect the disaffected, disconnected renunciating youth of America encouraged them to take shotguns and start shouting people. (An interesting point needs to be made here about the comic book Hellblazer, which was adapted in the film 'Constantine' (and I use the word adapted loosely). Post-Columbine, D.C. comics refused to put out an issue entitled 'Shoot', in which an FBI agent tries to figure out what influenced a high school massacre in America. She looks at the violent media's role in it, and notices that the first victim appeared to say something to the shooter. Eventually, Constantine shows up and explains that rather than the media being to blame, it was the kids socio-economic situation - they lived in tired, dusty old towns, dying on their feet, with no job prospects and no real chance to pursue any dreams they may have. So much so, that when the gun was point at the first victim, what he said was, "Shoot." The issue was subsequently banned and has never been released, but can be found online. Why wasn't it released? I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions.)

    The case against the idea that the media influences people to kill is a stunningly simple one: We have been killing people forever. Humans occasionally kill. It happens. It's horrible when it does, but get rid of all the violent media and violence will still happen. Many great minds throughout history have said it time and time again the natural state of things is not order, but chaos. The only thing that can be conceded is that violent media may influence the means by which violence is carried out. As well as that, suggesting that one thing in a persons life is totally to blame for their actions is ludicrous. It suggests that a person would walk into a cinema thinking, "I fancy a good film. What this? A Clockwork Orange/Straw Dogs/Evil Dead/Last House on the Left/Etc? Sounds like rollicking good fun." But after watching the film they think, "My God, I have wasted my entire life. I see it now. I see it. The answer to all of lifes problems is to re-enact that scene I just saw in real-life, and I am absolutely one-hundred percent certain that I will face absolutely no consequences what-so-ever."

    Because this is an important argument when considering whether violent media would cause a person to commit a violent and potentially illegal act - No-one ever just turns round to these politicians and newspapers and scare-mongers and moral crusaders and asks, "Are you honestly telling me that watching a film, or playing computer games, reinforces a world-view of a consequence free environment?" In Grand Theft Auto, when you shoot people, the police try to arrest you. In most of the films mentioned, there is morality at the heart of the story that you eventually get what you deserve. Clockwork Orange was banned for years, yet the second half of the film is the slow torture of a Alex on many levels for the horrible acts he commited. In Reservoir Dogs, after Mr. Blond's infamous ear-cutting scene, he's shot dead. The list goes on and on.

    Perhaps the most damning evidence against this was shown explicitly on Charlie Brooker's Newswipe earlier this year, when the high school shooting in Germany made all the news. The montage of footage showed a psychologist explaining what the media should not do when reporting this story, cut together with footage showing the media completely disregarding this advice. The psychologist then pointed out that the people reporting the story in this way would be far more likely to inspire copycats by doing it this way.

    It should also be noted that when India (I think, not one-hundred percent sure) finally got a proper news-channel that reported what was going on rather than the 'official', state-and-religion version of events, that it caused massive riots. This was media causing violence, they said, and they were having none of it.

    Of course, I also feel it necessary to point out that there is another huge danger in this and that is that these moral crusades are not targeting video games next, but rather it is the Internet that they are determined to reign in. The Internet is the primary reason there is so little moral panic over films these days, as you can find anything you want in the privacy of your own home, to enjoy at your leisure and in secret. There is certainly little point saying that 'Hostel' cannot get a release when curious and bloodthirsty teenage boys can probably find websites of executions fairly easily. However, it also presents a huge dilemma, because granting the government the powers to control this would essentially put them less than one-step away from creating a world where vid-screens from 1984 actually exist. Anyone who has seen HBO's 'The Wire' is aware of law enforcements continual invasion of privacy through electronic devices, and if the expenses scandal in this country has taught us anything it's that a system that gives the government the right to check your computer to see what you are looking at would be abused frequently.

    So, in answer to the question the good Doctor posed, "No, movies cannot cause a moral panic, anymore. They never did. The press, politicians, crazy people creating sick Internet sites, a willing and deviant audience, and genuine psychopaths looking for inspiration can cause a moral panic. But none of them want to admit it."

  • Comment number 29.

    YorkshireMouth - I watched the Doctor Who episode 'Blink' again recently, and after that I am all for banning statues.

    rbevanx - Superman didn't rape Lois. The had consensual sex, and then he violated her mind with a magical kiss. Unless he wasn't aware that kissing people wiped their minds. In which case that presents a weird scenario, where they had sex but never kissed until then... Hmm, is spending this much time thinking about 'Superman Returns' worth it? ...No.

  • Comment number 30.

    I know I'm very late to this party, but I thought it interesting that a handful of the experts spoken to regarding the most recent school shootings tended to bring up the same point as the last comment - that news media are responsible for the kind of copycat behaviour we see in these attacks.

    Loren Coleman wrote a book about how it's the notoriety these murderers attain, and the lonely, afflicted lives they lead that pair up to make them think it an appropriate act. And after the most recent attacks, there were a number of people on the news strongyl suggesting that essentially no mention should be made of the attackers - that it would be reckless to do so. That we should see just a report that the event took place. Instead, we see long, drawn out views into the journal postings by the shooters, interviews with classmates and old friends, airing their every motive and giving them exactly the attention they sought to begin with. When someone else broken, lonely and hurt by their peers sees the attention the last murderer gained, they have reason to go to school with a gun.

    Considering the last DLC for Grand Theft Auto managed to artistically explore the violence inherent in ganglife, and the difficulties in escaping that lifestyle once one starts to gain a conscience, to then blindly (as no one who complains has ever explored the medium they rant about) state that it's a murder simulator and responsible for all the ills of the world is hateful behaviour, and nothing different can be said of film, which bar a very few video games is a wholly more artistic medium. Add to that the fact that teenage crime has halved since the 90s, and that if anything kids seem to gain perspective on the issues by exploring them in a safe environment it's arguably a great gain for society.

    And as Penn Jillette pointed out on the subject recently - kids learn the difference between fantasy and reality at a very young age, for necessary reasons. If they don't - something else is wrong.

  • Comment number 31.

    It's far easier to blame violent video games and horror movies than to take a deeper look into our society, education, and parenting.

    For a long time now violent video games have long been hitting the headlines cited as cues for violent and appalling real life incidents.

    Such outcry has caused a few recent video games to be banned in this country (Manhunt 2 being one of them - luckily i've managed to get a copy thanks to the miracle of online dvd rental), and i'm sure it'll always been brought up in the future.

    I think it all boils down to a fundamental problem with the individual, i mean they're capable of being influenced by a film or videogame alone to commit such horrific crimes, then surely the chances are there is a high possibility its going to happen at some point anyway.

 

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