The world today has a variety of problems and violence is one of the mostprominent. It is seen on the front page of the newspaper and as the Top Storyon the eleven oclock news.
Unfortunately, it is also widely used forentertainment purposes. In the New York Times a 1998 article by Faye Fiorestated: “On average last year, one act of serious brutality was found for everyfour minutes of entertainment.” Today, violence is a major part of electronicgames, television, and the film industry. Violence becomes such an everydayscene for us that many believe it desensitizes us to the real world. That is whythe majority of the time violence is perceived as the cause of many of societysills.One individual who feels this way is the author John Grisham. John Grisham hada friend who was killed by two young lovers whom he believed were influenced bythe Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers.
This belief was notunsubstantiated. The young female said that the two lovers watched the filmshortly before embarking on their journey. She said that her boyfriend wasgreatly influenced by the film. Grisham was extremely angry at the way thekillers, Micky and Mallory, violent lifestyles were glamorized in the film.Grisham felt that this type of glamorization leads the youth of America toapprove of this type of lifestyle.
Oliver Stone disagreed with Grisham. Stone believes that violence is in someinstances necessary for an artist to get the point of his work across. Hebelieves that an artists freedom of speech allows him to do whatever he wantsto in his work regardless of the social implications.
Stone condones violence inthe media.Another area of the media where violence is perceived as entertainment is theelectronic gaming industry. There is a game called Soldier of Fortune which wasis scheduled to be released soon in the US. This game is designed along the samelines as games such as DOOM and Quake; but it has one important difference it isoften advertised as one of the most violently realistic games ever. Shots to thehead result in a variety of results such as caved in faces, heads split in half,heads with the top removed exposing the brain, and complete removal of the headall together. Needless to say this is one of the most highly anticipated gamesever.
The attention to gory details and the use of excessive violence as aselling point shows how much violence is perceived as entertaining.Whether we admit it to ourselves consciously or not, violence is and has alwaysbeen entertaining. In ancient Rome, citizens filled the coliseum to seegladiators fight to the death. In medieval times castle courtyards were packedwith people trying to witness the public executions. Today we are able towitness violent acts in the comfort of our own homes. If we want to see somegladiators fight to the death we can just go find one of our favorite movies orPlaystation games. This shows that main perception of violence in society isthat it is entertaining and accepted for its entertaining qualities.Not all representations of the media perceive violence as entertainment.
Onerepresentation is in the film Full Metal Jacket. Violence is shown to be asomewhat necessary evil that society can not escape. In one specific scenecontaining violence, the squad comes upon an apparently deserted city only tofind out that it is occupied by a hidden sniper who quickly disables one squadmember to the horror of the rest of the squad.
They want to help the fallensoldier but they would be putting themselves in danger of being sniped. Thesniper, who realizes this, continues to shoot the fallen soldier to try and lurehis squad in to help him. This torture is to much for one member of the squad tohandle. This soldier then attempts to rescue his fallen comrade. Unfortunatelyhe is sniped and receives the same torture that his friend did.
All to thehorror of the rest of the squad who is torn between saving their friend andrisking the loss more soldiers. Everytime that the fallen soldiers is shot, itis shown in slow motion with the agonizing scream of the soldier echoing in thebackground. The scream and the gunshot are the only sounds heard.
The purpose ofthis was to show the viewer of the film that this war and the violence in itwere very real. There was no groovy music playing whenever a gun fired. This isreal life and real death and it is not a pretty picture.In a recent issue of the Boston Globe there was an article about H. Rap Brownon the front cover. This article received a very visible headline and wascontinued deeper in the paper along with many other Brown articles.
In contrastthere was an small unnoticeable article, on the murder of a poor Russianimmigrant and her son, buried in the Metro section. These examples show thediscrepancy in perceptions of violence among different groups. The middle classpredominately white makers of the paper felt that the arrest of a former blackmilitant who killed two police officers was much more important than animmigrant and her son being murdered. This shows that people perceive violentacts differently depending on how they feel about the people involved.Another representation of violence is the movie Lethal Weapon 4. In aparticular scene in this movie the two main characters, Riggs and Murtaugh,along with an acquaintance are in a small personal boat when the see a largecommercial which almost hits them.
When the two officers attempt to identifythemselves to the crew on the commercial boat, they begin firing with largeautomatic weapons. This prompts the two cops two strike back. The wild one ofthe bunch decides to go on the ship to take care of things. Upon exiting thesmall boat he says Cover Me.
Immediately after he says this one of the Chinesecrewmembers emerges at the aft the commercial boat and fires with his automaticweapon. The level-headed member of the group fires one shot at this man scoringa direct hit. Needless to say, the two (one?) men are able to take over the shipand rescue the hostages kept below deck. This movie gives a very unrealisticview of violence where the good guys always win and where they can commit anyviolent act they want and they do not have to face any consequences. The twomain characters commit a ridiculous amount of murders yet they walk off into thesunset with little if anything said to them. This movie only portrays violenceas bad when committed by the bad guys.In general, violence is mainly perceived as entertainment. But as statedearlier the perception of the violence depends greatly on the viewer, reader, orlistener.
Although the use of violence for entertainment can have harmfuleffects on the youth who experience it, it is up to the parents to regulate andmoderate what their children watch. They cant use the television for ababysitter and then complain about how the violence on TV affects them. Theymust be active in raising their own kids, because good parenting starts with theparent.Words/ Pages : 1,140 / 24