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Violence In Entertainment Monday June 24, 2013


I was watching this movie called Parker, with Jason Statham. The protagonist in the movie is a thief who ends up killing a whole bunch of people , and this is the guy we are supposed to be rooting for. This guy is no Robin Hood type, who became a thief only to right a wrong, and who robs only the rich and gives to the poor. He is a thief and sometime murderer.

Is anyone else a bit put off about what we're calling "entertainment"? I know it's sort of old-fashioned, but I wish there were more genuine heroes. The real good guys, with genuine character, who EARN our respect and only resort to violence when there are no other options.

I've read a ton about the TV series "Sons of Anarchy". It's about a biker gang who sell illegal guns to other criminals, transport large quantities of heroin and cocaine across the country and who have no qualms about assaulting and killing people, including their own brother gang members. And yet, we're apparently supposed to empathize with these guys, and feel some level of sadness when one of our protagonists is killed.

The media and marketplace is stocked with programs like "Sons of Anarchy", video games like "Grand Theft Auto", and gangsta rap, and it's extremely difficult to find entertainment that doesn't glorify crime and violence.

Is it any wonder so many young people think that gang life is somehow noble, and barely understand the difference between right and wrong? And even if they understand the difference, it doesn't really matter, because wrong still gets you money and respect - or, at least the illusion of respect.

It's not just street thugs, either. The amorality crosses all demographic borders. Really, the difference between drug dealing in the inner city and peddling bad Asset-Backed Securities on Wall Street is pretty small. Both represent someone who will do anything to make money, morality and legality be damned.

It's clear that society and entertainment have both gotten more and more violent, and less and less ethical. The question is whether the media influences society, or is just a mirror to it. Personally, I think it's a cycle. Or, more accurately, a spiral.

Our grandparents and great grandparents, in that postwar golden era of the "Greatest Generation" could never have imagined a day when we would sit down and cheer for a serial killer, or cry at the death of a gang member.

But that is what our society has come to. Or should I say, reverted to. After all, how far are we, really, from the days of the Roman Coliseum, where people cheered as gladiators battled to the death, or lions devoured people as spectacle? And we all know what happened to Rome.