This month’s topic for Rogues Rants is:
Do you feel that children who are exposed to violent films and video games will become violent themselves?
Danny Runion: In a few cases, violence in entertainment can
cause some kids to act violently. The question is should something be
done about it? Too many parents use the television as the perfect
babysitter. Some shows kids shouldn’t watch. Is that such a hard idea
to grasp? Violence in entertainment is the ultimate whipping boy. No
one can defend it when someone’s mother cries "what about the
children?" Personal responsibility is taking a backseat to the "It’s
not my fault blame everyone but me" generation. You can scarf down 4 or
5 quarter pounders get massively overweight and sue fast food places.
It is used more to try to assuage the guilt of the parents. If the
parents are too busy to realize little Johnny has an arsenal that
Charleston Heston would love to get his hands on, movies must be
blamed. Like in the lyrics of the song "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, ”We must blame them before someone thinks of blaming us…” Why should his parents actually spend any time with their kids?
However, the media loves to act like movies and television programs are
the downfall of everything. News reporters love to talk about how
twisted South Park or Beavis and Butthead
are but neglect how violence in sports is glorified. Parents beat and
even shoot coaches for not letting Little Johnny play on the team. I
must have forgotten that Josef Stalin watched anime which warped him
into ordering the murder of millions. Did the Aztecs watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre
until they were warped, too? Entertainment doesn’t convert people into
violent psychopaths. If it did, wouldn’t there be a lot more
For the past 10 years, we’ve had numerous school shootings across the
country. The country would rather not look at the reasons for the
violence. Entertainment is a far better target to blame. The unpopular
kids are mocked and ridiculed by the jocks, preps, or whatever the
popular twerps are called. School administrators don’t stand up to
defend the unpopular that unite amongst themselves. A lot of kids are
pushed, and they simply push back. I’m not saying open season on people
who torment you. However, are they to be allowed to walk over anyone
without a fear of being pushed back?
Japan is always mentioned about violent entertainment. The idea of
Japan having such a lower crime rate with such violent movies should
indicate there isn’t a very good connection between violence and
entertainment. If there were a direct connection between violence and
entertainment, wouldn’t Japan have a higher crime rate? Violence
doesn’t always require guns. If someone is going to get medieval on
you, they’ll find some way if just using a rock, club, etc…
The question is should all entertainment be controlled for a small
minority. It seems the country wants a morality police. Censoring
movies and television won’t work. Freedom of Speech has been attacked
if it is used by someone with a different perspective than you.
However, it is perfectly acceptable to fine stations for showing what
some consider being "indecent". Prohibition showed what happened when
alcohol was banned. While the idea of some sort of Michael Bay
moratorium can’t be a completely bad idea, where would it end? Would
violent entertainment becoming something like out of Videodrome be a good idea?
Dennis Grisbeck: My humble opinion: I think that violence in the
media has a definite effect on the developement of children. Note,
however, that there is a big difference between becoming violent and
becoming enured to violence. I don’t think that watching violence will
necessarily cause kids to become violent, but I believe 100% that it
numbs them to violence, and thus, they become more tolerent of violence
later in life. This acceptance of violence, whether or not a child
actually performs a violent act, certainly plays a part in the rising
crime rates and other social problems that we struggle with today.
Jonathon Pernisek: There is nothing more equally fun and
unsettling than seeing an activist group or one lone trailblazer
condemning the entertainment industry. For those with too much time on
their hands, making signs and picketing the films and television
programs we produce every year is a good exercise. But are there
attacks founded? Is Hollywood actually getting to the point where its
images are corrupting the minds of our society? This is a question on
many an inquisitive mind.
Of course, none of this outrage over violence, sexuality, and other
salaciousitems is new to the public. Harold Hill made Iowans gasp at
the idea of their children playing pool, for crying out loud. People
burned Beatles records after an offhand comment about being bigger than
Jesus was made by one of its members. So no matter what the period, no
matter how our collective values change, there has been a consistent
need to label entertainment as being somehow seedy.
As far as violence is concerned, I think Americans are much more
accepting of guns and explosions if they’re not accompanied by a couple
rolling around under the sheets. I grew up being allowed to rent such
films as Robocop 3 in elementary school (admittedly not a good idea in
hindsight), but for some reason sexuality was much more taboo. Maybe
parents give their kids enough credit to not imitate violent acts they
see in films and on television, but not enough to not be spurred by
sex? Even in our modern world, when we’re supposed to be beyond the
reserved and suppressed views of our ancestors, a silly thing like
Janet’s nip or a bare back in a Super Bowl commercial can somehow send
us into a scandalized tizzy.
I’m going to go out on a limb at this point and simply say it is the
parents’ job to monitor what their children watch. As an example , I
was once told a story by a theater employee about a complaint they
received. It seems a mother, bearing her toddler-aged moppets, stormed
the concession stand in a fit of rage. She apparently had not realized
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be so gory and graphic, and was
angered by the effect those elements might have on her offspring. What
would your reaction have been if you had been this theater employee?
Surely, to keep your job, you would have smiled and apologized for the
inconvenience, but really, what was this woman thinking? Can the film
be blamed for her complete lack of intuition?
Younger children sometimes have troubled discerning between fantasy and
reality, that’s for sure. This is why it’s imperative for the parents
to define those lines so their kids grow up with a stable view of the
world. When this doesn’t happen, we are met with kids who watch The
Matrix 20 times or break their sibling’s arm trying to be a
latex-sporting Power Ranger. I realize parents can’t monitor their kids
24/7, but that doesn’t mean we should limit Hollywood to certain areas
of entertainment. So stick in a Wiggles tape, put Bad Boys II on a
higher shelf (or in the garbage can) and stop complaining.
Jordan Garren: I can rant all day on this subject but I’ll try
and focus on the question itself. I, personally, do not believe that
violence in film and on T.V. causes children to become violent
themselves. Movies, television, video games and the like have all
become scapegoats for the real culprit: Bad Parenting! It’s up
to parents to teach their children the difference between right and
wrong; between fantasy and reality, but nowadays it seems like parents
have either lost that ability or rely too much on the media to teach
their offspring "valuable life lessons." When I was growing up, my
mother kept a close eye on everything I watched, but thanks to my
siblings, I still managed to watch a healthy dose of horror films. To
this day I watch dozens of insanely violent and gory films on a monthly
basis (for reviewing purposes or just for fun) and I think I turned out
just fine. I’m not violent, I don’t go out and rape women, rob banks,
do drugs, or commit any sort of crime. (Hell, I only have one traffic
ticket on my record and I should’ve been let go!) So for the sake of
your children, try actual parenting before you go out on a crusade to
have our nation’s movies, games, and T.V. programs censored more than
they already are!
Duane L. Martin: How do I feel about it? Well, to be perfectly
honest, it’s a load of crap. People are always looking for things to
put the blame elsewhere rather than looking at the real causes because it might expose
their own shortcomings as parents or educators or whatever, and they just can’t handle that truth. Frankly, as
Jordan said, I believe that it all comes down to bad parenting. When
you shuffle your kids off to daycare or to school, who’s raising them?
It’s not you that’s raising them, it’s other kids. So basically, your
children are learning their behavior from other kids rather than the
parents they should be learning it from.
I’m going to go out on a limb here though and say that rather than
being all upset over the violent behavior exhibited by children, it
should actually be encouraged in healthy ways. People nowadays aren’t
tough anymore. All they do is whine and bitch and complain about
anything and everything. I swear, if I hear one more person say they’re offended
by something, I’m gonna put the beatdown on them. See, I got in
fights when I was a kid. Getting in fights when you’re a kid is a good
thing because it teaches you who to mess with and who not to mess with.
It establishes a sense of a societal pecking order and your place in
it. Essentially, it teaches you good behavior and how to get along with
others, because once you’ve been beaten up a few times, you basically
learn how to behave so you don’t get beaten up again in the future. I guess the best way to put
it is that it teaches you respect, because you never know who’s gonna put a hurtin’ on you if you get out of line.
When you’re a kid is the best time to learn these lessons, and the best
time to fight and be violent, because kids are a lot more resillient
than grown ups. They can take a beating and get over it in a week or
so, and the beatings aren’t all that bad because kids don’t have the strength
or fighting ability that grown ups do.
Violence has it’s place in society, and those that don’t use it and
learn their lessons from it as children will end up being nothing more
than professional victims when they grow up, and who the hell does that
benefit? Certainly not the child, and certainly not anyone who
has to deal with their whiny ass all throughout his or her life.
One other benefit of showing kids a lot of violent movies is that it
desensitizes them to violence. Now some people would say, "That’s
horrible! How can you say that!" Well here’s how… When your kids are
desensitized to violence and they are presented with a violent
situation that they have to deal with, they’ll handle it calmly and
rationally rather than just falling apart and becoming another victim.
There’s also the added bonus that the lessons they learn in violent
movies could help them out if they’re ever abducted by someone. People
who raise their kids to be wusses would just cry or scream or whatever,
but if you raise your kid on violent movies, he’s gonna have a better
chance of fighting back and getting away.
That’s all I really got to say because I’m writing this as I’m putting
this month’s issue of the magazine together and I really need to get
back to work. I know it probably sounded rambling at times, but hey, if
you’ve ever read some of my full on older reviews, you know that’s what
I’m best at. Anyway, for all you whiny people out there who are turning
your kids into victims…STOP IT!