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American gun films - out of control ?

by Ted Welch Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 02:47:58 PM EST

The issue of violence, with obvious reference to the US, was raised in December 2012 by a French magazine - this is a poster for it on display in Nice (English text added by me).

books-mag-girl-gun-lucky-02445 copy

Since then, these have been the main American films advertised in Nice:


america-gun-poster-nice-2013-0518

alex-cross-text2-gun-poster-nice-2012-02484 copy

The famous line "when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun", often associated with Nazi leaders, derives from this play (Schlageter, by Hanns Johst). The actual original line from the play is slightly different: "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!" "Whenever I hear of culture... I release the safety catch of my Browning!" (Act 1, Scene 1).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanns_Johst

arnie-gun-text-poster-jan-2013-02869 copy

jack-reacher-s-poster-gun

django-poster-guns-nice-jan-2013-0612

Ian Jack in the Guardian:

The school shootings at Newton, Connecticut, had happened only three weeks before Guru-Murthy began to ask Tarantino about the possible links between cinematic and real violence, which perhaps explained the director's thrilling loss of control: "I refuse your question ... I'm here to sell my movie ... I'm shutting your butt down." His view is that no link exists, that movie violence is a fantasy lacking any effect on real-world behaviour - unlike, say, the banned TV adverts for cigarettes that were also a kind of fantasy on their maker's part, though one the consumer could easily satisfy at any tobacconist's. The question may be complicated, but to deny any link absolutely is surely to protest too much, unless your reputation and the multi-billion-dollar industry you're a part of depend on it.
...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/25/bloody-mayhem-tarantino-django-seriously

Tarantino interviewed on Ch 4:

Ian Jack:


Certain film critics also leave me at a loss. Insightful, sympathetic writers, such as this paper's Peter Bradshaw or the Observer's Philip French, accord Tarantino what, to me, is a mysterious degree of respect. "A powerful film, its dramatic brush strokes broad and colourful, its psychological points made with considerable subtlety and wit," French wrote of Django Unchained, " ... it places Tarantino among the most impressive film-makers at work today."

How can that be? In its first two hours there are some good things, not least the script, and Waltz is thoroughly engaging as the film's wittiest and most humane character. But the subjects Tarantino finds consistently exciting are people being murdered, people screaming in pain, people begging for mercy. Boring might be the wrong word for these events, but their profusion takes away meaning. So much cruelty, so much noise, rehearsed and repeated until it satisfies the man-child in the director's chair.

In the comments some people take the line that it's just entertainment - but of course this does not mean that entertainment has no effects; much advertising is entertaining and some of it works.

As the posters above indicate, it's far from being just a problem of Tarantino's films. The uniformity of the message, in a set of films from such a short time-span, in the context of so many killings in the US, is appalling.

Well, there is also:

a-lincoln-poster-nice-jan-2013-0625

But then it is about a president who was shot and who presided over an extremely bloody civil war, which saw the introduction of weapons like the Gatling gun.

It's good that in Europe a film like Amour gets EU support:

Michael Haneke’s Amour (Love), starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, has won has the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film. This accolade follows its recent string of nominations for Academy and BAFTA awards.

The film is distributed in over 20 European countries with MEDIA grants totalling €920,000, including €125,000 for the Artificial Eye's UK release.

A masterly and moving portrait of love and of elderly couple's relationship in the face of age and a debilitating stroke, the film has already accumulated a number of awards including the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2012 and European Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director and both Best Actor and Best Actress for the lead pair for their portrayal of Georges (Trintignant) and Anne (Riva).

http://www.mediadeskuk.eu/latest-news/general-news/2013/january/amour-receives-golden-globe-for-best -foreign-language-film/

The MEDIA Programme helps the European Union film and audiovisual industries with financial support in the development, distribution and promotion of their work.

http://ec.europa.eu/culture/media/index_en.htm

But then it wouldn't appeal to 15 year-old boys.

Display:
Art imitating life? Life imitating Art?

If gun-toting tough guys are your heroes, are you going to want to tote a gun? If the ubiquitous violence on television and in the cinema (and on the news) make you feel there's much to fear all around you, are you going to want to "weapon up"?

I think enough people answer "yes" to these questions to make the USA, because of the ease of access to weaponry, a dangerous, trigger-happy place. Also, life there is quite disempowering for many, and the fact of it reaches the whole population because of media saturation, and getting a gun is the quick (though delusional) fix for a feeling of powerlessness/impotence/vulnerability.

(Just my quick, off-the-cuff take on the topic.)

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 01:07:10 AM EST
Wife of Bath:
the ubiquitous violence on television and in the cinema (and on the news) make you feel there's much to fear all around you

I think there is a point to seperate between different types of violence and fear here. On one hand, the fantasies of power and redemptive violence in most of the examples listed, on the other hand the scary violence in the news, tv and films where someone is out to get you or your kids. All of those american series with deranged psycho sadists hunted by the cops and news reports of kidnapped babies I think is much more likely to induce fear then a violence festival signed Tarantino.

Wife of Bath:

Art imitating life? Life imitating Art?

USA has compared to other countries a really high amount of gun violence. American movies are seen in USA and lots of other countries. So the first one fits better.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 10:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm. Do people watch American gun films differently perhaps, depending on whether they are American or not?

Just speculating : an American might identify with the situations and with the gunman; for a European, it might be pure escapist fantasy, no different from sci-fi.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 10:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"American movies are seen in USA and lots of other countries. So the first one fits better."

But one has to take into account the context in which they are shown, lighting a flare in an open football stadium is different from the tragic case in Brazil of doing it in a nightclub (even if it had had better exits).

Showing a film encouraging the use of guns to resolve problems in the US with its levels of gun ownership (and the widepspread positive attitude about this) is different from showing it in Japan:

In October 1992, in Louisiana, a Japanese exchange student named Yoshihiro Hattori went into the wrong house on the way to a Halloween party. The homeowner's wife screamed for help and the homeowner drew his .44 pistol and yelled for the student to 'freeze!' Not understanding the American idiom that 'freeze!' means 'Don't move or I'll shoot', the student continued advancing towards the homeowner. The homeowner pulled the trigger and shot him dead.[1] While the incident initially attracted only brief attention in the national American press, the shooting horrified Japan; hundreds of thousands of Japanese have signed petitions calling for the United States to implement gun prohibition, and Hattori's parents have announced plans to begin working with the American lobby, Handgun Control Inc.[2]

To many Japanese, and to many Americans, it is simply incomprehensible that the United States has not implemented strict gun controls or prohibitions along the Japanese model. Gun control in Japan is the most stringent in the democratic world. The weapons law begins by stating 'No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords', and very few exceptions are allowed.[3] Gun ownership is minuscule, and so is gun crime. As gun crime in other nations increases, many advocates of gun control urge that Japan's gun control policy be imitated.

http://www.guncite.com/journals/dkjgc.html



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The interesting thing is that Japanese society still carries a strong cultural memory of the absolute horror of arbitrary killing by the sword-bearing class.

One can only hope that a similar epiphany will happen one day in the USA, and that it won't take a military defeat accompanied by nuclear strikes to bring it about.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea permeating American gun-ownership is to avoid enabling a ruling class which controls all weapons...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 at 05:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swords were actually banned in the Meiji period- 1876. Nothing to do with WWII.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 at 06:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was around at the time. Local exchange student rep said "if someone tells you to 'freeze,' please please stand still."


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:29:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'68 I was in Houston. A long-haired BBC cameraman. Friend from LA  told me that if the cops pull you over, don't try the immediately-out-of-the-car, claim the neutral space - "Officer, is this really necessary? gambit."

"Keep your frickin' hands on the wheel, do not turn your head, do not speak unless spoken to, and follow orders immediately." It was excellent advice.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:40:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Newborn babies, the elderly and the infirm are believed to comprise the non-feared 2 percent.


But watch out for those two-year olds ! - in a house where even the mother has assault weapons.

And the elderly need to be really old - those old varmits can still pull a trigger :-)


But there remains a group of elderly inmates who committed violent crimes during their golden years, proving the point that many victims worry about.

Research has shown that arrests of elderly offenders have risen.

http://www.correctionsone.com/products/medical-supplies/articles/1965383-The-aging-inmate-issue-Can- we-afford-elderly-incarceration/



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 04:23:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty good advice if stopped in any State in the USA.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 at 12:26:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good advice if you're stopped by Swedish police as well.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 at 05:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of those american series with deranged psycho sadists hunted by the cops and news reports of kidnapped babies I think is much more likely to induce fear then a violence festival signed Tarantino.

I don't think they're unrelated.

Kindness and basic humanity are the new taboos in Hollywood. You can show all the sadism and gore you want, but if you show people acting humanely, audiences and critics will want your blood.

Hollywood is just a reboot of gladiatorial Rome without the free bread. The idiot-obsession with guns and gangsta machismo is a symptom, not a cause.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 07:24:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. When I said "and the news" I was thinking about my grandmother, who was sure she was going to be robbed, raped and murdered every time she left the house. She watched and pored over every crime story there was. I tended to ignore them, and though I had several brushes with danger in my lifetime, I didn't suffer the "effects of crime" that she did.

As people pointed out during the 9-11 incident, little children whose parents didn't prevent them from seeing it over and over on television were made terribly afraid because they couldn't quite understand that it was not a continuing thing.  When I was a young adult, the news didn't report every "juicy" crime that occurred in the world over and over and over like they do today. One gets the feeling that violent crime is just around every corner 24/7, but it isn't, and I refuse to listen to stories about crimes that weren't committed on my street in order to avoid "becoming" my grandmother.

I have liked some films that were violent, though, but not in an enjoyment-of-violence kind of way; it was more in spite of the violence. And "Dexter" is a guilty pleasure.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The effect of pornography seems to be to switch off interest in the "real thing".
Not sure violence works the same way.

"Just entertainment" is a cop out.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 07:30:13 AM EST

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

American children watch an average of four hours of television daily.  Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior.  Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent.  Hundreds of studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may:

become "immune" or numb to the horror of violence
gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems
imitate the violence they observe on television; and
identify with certain characters, victims and/or victimizers

Extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness.  Sometimes, watching a single violent program can increase aggressiveness.

Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see.

 Children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse control problems may be more easily influenced by TV violence.

The impact of TV violence may be immediately evident in the child's behavior or may surface years later.

Young people can even be affected when the family atmosphere shows no tendency toward violence.

http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_tv_violence




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. Seems conclusive enough.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Infantry are shown gore films to dull their future reaction to a mate's head getting shot off next to them. Soldiers need to continue to obey orders. But if film gore is effective in this military context - which I presume - does it follow that there is suppression of compassion/sympathy in non-military viewing of gore?

In any case, how compassionate is shooting a bullet at someone?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 30th, 2013 at 01:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
S.L.A. Marshall's work famously stated that three quarters of allied soldiers in WWII never shot to kill.

Training was improved for Vietnam. NCOs were brought in after WWII to keep the troops in line, a bit like the Optio of the Roman army. The Centurion would say "this way, men" and the Optio would say "stay in formation and keep killing people".

Current military trainers are saying outright that video games make their job easier. (See Grossman.)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 05:14:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The latest cultural meme that reinforces these tendencies is the zombie genre.

It effectively dehumanises the adversary -- pretty hard to feel empathy for a zombie.

In a future situation where one has to defend one's gated community from starving poor people, that could be helpful.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lucas notably went with robots for the prequels.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 04:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't the point that the adversary isn't human?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 05:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
those posters for the flicks say it all really...

it's about breaking taboos. it's as if they were saying "we know this is ridiculously tasteless, playing exclusively to the lowest common cultural denominator, but admit it, you are fascinated, in a guiltily confused way, in seeing how far we will go to titillate you and inviting you to see if you are still 99% feral, with a 1% veneer of 'civilisation' and will feel the power rush as the victims writhe and the infrastructure explodes in flames, you little walter mitty you, go on, for 90 minutes you will feel like attila the hun on coke"

just another kind of porn, at the end of the day.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:55:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We drift towards censorship, as has been the norm forever...
by asdf on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 01:56:36 PM EST


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 02:13:46 PM EST
Well, advertisers keep the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of such ads a hidden secret. The super Bowl is watched mainly by people who want to buy beer and ride in pickup trucks, so those ads are effective. no one knows why GoDaddy does what it does. I know someone high up Madison Ave. advertising who commented to me that they regularly refer to such ads as Blue Serge suits, after the indestructibly tough suits that men wore day after day in the 1950s. They were so thick that you could pee in them if you had to during a meeting. The joke is that, like the ads, no one else really sees it, but it gives the client a warm feeling.
by Upstate NY on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 04:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
surely they do see sales rise after these um, efforts?

or are they white elephants?

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry it took so long to respond.

Sales rise but not nearly as much to justify the cost.

In other words, there's very little bang for the buck.

Only about 20% of the campaigns are effective (in terms of impact on the consumer).

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 17th, 2013 at 12:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Xbox games, anyone?! I enjoy shooting zombies on the xbox but have zero interest in actual guns and don't like them being anywhere near me.  

Games like Call of Duty are filled with subliminal prompts to persuade young boys that being in the army would be just as cool and exciting as playing COD. It is seriously sinister.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 09:35:28 AM EST
Huh, hadn't heard about that.
I'm behind the times I see:
The game lingers upon the face of a bloodied victim and with the push of a few buttons you insert a piece of broken glass into his mouth and punch him in the face (watch here).
[...]
In the controversial mission entitled "No Russian," you walk through an airport armed with a set of machine guns, slaughtering hundreds of terrified and screaming civilians. [...] , this mission is central to the storyline of Modern Warfare 2 and gamers aiming to enjoy the full experience of the game are likely to play it anyway (certainly most reviewers opted to play the full game).
[...]
Call of Duty supports the myth that America needs to defend itself against the perpetual threat of foreign tyranny and spontaneous terrorism, and that it is pulled into wars rather than creating them. As Modern Warfare 3 approaches, poised to become the next best-selling game of all time, we can expect a similar, propagandist appeal to warfare: you fight in New York, London, Paris, and Berlin - you are fighting for nothing less than the preservation of the First World way of life.

Things have moved on since I played Wizball.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:40:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's truly sick. My nephews were allowed to play that game where it's okay to shoot prostitutes (Armed Robbery, or something like that) many years ago when they were kids and when I saw it for a few seconds on the screen, I had to wonder about my brother's emotional intelligence (he's a genius in lots of areas.)

Oh, Grand Theft Auto (which should have WHAT to do with prostitutes?)

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:53:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan president: Prince Harry is young and should be forgiven mistakes | UK news | guardian.co.uk

When Prince Harry compared fighting in Afghanistan to playing a video game, the Taliban were quick to accuse him of mental illness and cowardice, joining a chorus of criticism from all sides.

But in Afghanistan's highest reaches of government he has found at least one ally. President Hamid Karzai, usually quick to condemn western mis-steps in his country, told the Guardian that the young royal's comments may have been a mistake, but he should be let off the hook because of his age.

"Prince Harry is a young man, we do give exits to young men when they make mistakes," said Karzai, who is visiting the UK for a high-level conference, and also expects to meet Prince Charles before flying home.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:06:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh. If you actualy read the interview with prince Harry, it certainly doesn't seem very outrageous.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet again - this time "incorruptible and pitiless" - America's latest cultural contribution in Nice:

a-gangsters-gun-poster-nice-Feb1-2013-0636

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:10:02 PM EST

There is also this: "When Hollywood turns to psychosis"

a-hitchcock-nice-jan-2013-02927

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 12:17:29 PM EST
Over at Eschaton, when they were talking about having women in combat, everyone was "yes, women should be in combat.  They can carry 60 lbs of equipment" (which is b.s. but let's get back to the argument in question).  My reaction was "Neither women nor men should be in combat" which is a point that nobody in that "progressive" blog brought up.

Nobody.  Not one single person.

Americans are so used to the idea of violence that they don't even question it, is my point.

by stevesim on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 01:19:56 PM EST

Well, I'm sure that a lot of progressives would agree with you - in an ideal world, but we're not in an ideal world. Of course a lot of violence is started by the US, the new imperialists; but there is the possibility of a new Hitler - or do you think we shouldn't have fought the Nazis ? A lot of Brits tried to avoid it, which undoubtedly made it so much more difficult later and a "damned close-run thing" (Wellington on Waterloo), even with the Soviets and the Americans.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 04:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm.  Let me see.  We were on the side of Stalin, the guy who murdered more people than Hitler, right?

That doesn't really make a lot of sense, does it, if you want to argue moral imperatives?

by stevesim on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 05:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The UK and US had been doing what they could to destroy the Soviet regime since its birth:

The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched during the Russian Civil War in 1918. ... After winning the war in Europe, the Allied powers militarily backed the pro-Tsarist, anti-Bolshevik White forces in Russia.

wikipedia

In fact, of course, the Brits went to war with the Nazis in 1939, while Stalin made a pact with Hitler, but then Hitler invaded the SU and Stalin was forced into war.

When you're in a life and death struggle you welcome ANY help you can get and in fact the Soviets were mainly responsible for defeating the Nazis.

Very soon after that the US and UK returned to their previous stance and the Cold War ensued.

The point remains that the Nazis needed to be resisted, by combat and that there remains possibility of a similar situation, hence the need to be prepared for combat. This is not, of course, to justify all combat, nor to endorse the actions of any who become temporary allies in a desperate situation.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 06:08:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler was partly funded by the US - specifically by one of George Bush's ancestors. It's unlikely he'd have amounted to much without that handout.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 07:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i have noticed this with n. american guests, a particularly silly giggle when seeing gratuitous violence on the screen.

just as important as the film and videogame industries is the war toy syndrome, kids are encouraged to simulate violence from such an early age, it becomes as natural as breathing to expect it everywhere, all the time.

when will we realise how small the window of childhood is, with its brief, unique opportunity to shape character for good?

instead we gleefully raise the odds against it!

i would expect casual violence to continue to grow exponentially as new generations grow up with even more OTT celluloid heroes to emulate.

yet, to put it in perspective, i saw an afghan girl saying how she wanted to go to america, where people don't shoot each other, there is peace.

i wish her luck.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 01:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beyond the insidious culture shaping, which is overrated in my opinion (symptom and not a cause as TBG said), a lot of this comes from inertia by way of Hollywood's own faith based belief system about what makes money. In their "too risky to take risks" world guns and tits sell, or at least this is their belief system, and like all dominant belief systems it will be their belief system until isn't.

The video game industry is in the same boat - game production became expensive (and therefore entirely corporate) in the mid 90s, and by the late 90s first person shooters (like Call of Duty) had taken probably half the market. Today FPSs probably account for 75% of game releases. Like the movie industry it will be this way until it isn't.

And as with any oligopoly industry it's easy to get lazy make the mistake of assuming that their output is a reflection of what the public connects to emotionally and intellectually. This assumes a free market is present and that the market maps to human emotions and intellect. Both are false in this case, or at least there is no remotely straight line to be drawn from point A to point B. I'll skip the rant on how queasy I get when leftists of all people use this as a rhetorical technique.

I like porn as an example. In the early to mid 90's it was "common knowledge" that all porn had the same vibe because straight men were the target audience and they all had identical desires (this was actually taken seriously and still is). By 2005 production and distribution costs for porn could be as low as effectively zero dollars (utilizing the youtube derivative porn sites). Now with something almost resembling a free market you could find pretty much whatever you wanted. Not only do straight male desires run the gamut, it turns out all humans across the gender spectrum have some and varied interest in porn as well.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 at 09:27:36 PM EST
What! I go away for a few years and you people get lazy and make silly, unsubstantiated claims, and these are then accepted and rec'd. Scandalous! ;)

Ok, I know, you said releases. But, let's look at sales instead. (Because they can be found. And do we really care about games released if no one buys them?)

Shooters are between 20 and 25 %. For some other potentially violent games, add Action, another 12 to 20 %. It probably depends on how the genres are defined. For example, Portal 2 is defined as shooter in the data used for the chart below. Which is kinda weird. The shooter games also seem to include 3rd person shooters. But maybe they should count too if they are violent? Action games include some violent things like Grand Theft Auto IV. This category also includes Skylanders, which is a cartoonish game for kids. So, maybe 25% total for violent games?

I am pretty sure that these are sales in shops, which ignores a huge part of the market that is on-line sales. However, I don't see 75% being even remotely reached.


Numbers are aggregated from here
Slightly different numbers here, but only in aggregate, so we can say nothing about how they have categorized things.

And, finally, an important quote that proves everything:
"It cannot possible be the case that we are influenced by the games we play. Otherwise my whole generation would have spent time running around dark rooms, listening to repetitive music, and eating magic pills."   (source: The Internet)

(Apparently it was a joke by Marcus Brigstocke, it was said slightly differently, and he is annoyed at not getting credited. So lets credit him. Bravo Marcus! Well said!)

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:27:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow! Glad to know you're back here! :)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Game releases matter because it shows where the development studios are putting their efforts. That would be interesting to find - I will google around later.

And fair enough, I didn't bother looking up numbers. It doesn't change my view in this case.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:55:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Role-playing and adventure appears to be mostly medieval/fantasy violence so they cold be added too. Role-playing also contains Pokemon which is strange childish japanese fantasy violence. Then again chess is strange persian warfare violence, but lately it has not been assumed to trigger violent responses, so I guess it all depends on what you find violent.

And good to see you back.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 04:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the past it has:
Perhaps the oldest anecdote of violence and chess is the case of al Walid I (668-715) who was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 705-715.  He was playing chess (shatranj) with one of his courtiers, who was a much stronger player than the Caliph, but was purposely making bad moves in order for the Caliph to win.  One day, the Caliph observed this and was highly offended.  He seized one of the heaviest chess pieces and hurled it at the courtier's head saying, `May evil befall thee, base sycophant!  Art thou in thy senses to play chess with me in this foolish manner?'  An Arabic manuscript says that the caliph broke his opponent's head with a blow with his firzan (equivalent to the modern Queen).
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 04:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of the past, I believe American films really changed when Reagan came into office.  I remember how the movie Rambo was received.  People were shocked at the level of violence, and it was really a herald to a new epoch in American culture -  perhaps as a fantasy to help deal with the US' loss in Vietnam...

remember Reagan's rhetoric as well?  about a new day in America was it?

by stevesim on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 03:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reagan was the start of a terrible cycle in america, indeed every time i heard him say 'it's morning in america', i always heard it as 'it's mourning in america'.

bin going downhill ever since...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 05:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Off the top of my head:
  • Straw Dogs - 1971
  • Last House on the Left - 1972
  • Death Wish - 1974
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 1974
and then
* Rambo: First Blood - 1982
I guess Rambo brought it into the mainstream. The previous ones on the list could be considered vaguely Arty.

Ruthless Reviews has some good analysis of what makes an 80s action film

Big sweaty men! Big noisy guns! Dozens of people getting beaten and slaughtered-per scene! Entire cities razed to the ground! Liberal wimps beware as simple handguns become judge, jury and executioner!

The first Rambo is arguably liberal/progressive. The rest are conservative propaganda/fantasy.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 06:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Clockwork Orange (1971) was not an American production, but made by an American director.

There were people back then to complain loudly about violence in the movies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 07:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were there any guns in it?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 10:16:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting point.
Don't recall any, with the possible exception of the cines used in the technique.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's always been a streak of genocide in harder SF.

It's difficult to take modern SF novels seriously unless at least a couple of planets are sterilised, and Space Marines™ are stomping everywhere.

Point being, the macho fantasy crap has deep roots.

I keep meaning to write a diary about the persistence of feudal cultures in 'modern' SF.

There are progressive alternatives, mostly written by feminists. But in the mainstream there's a constant stream of traders/gun monkeys/mercenaries/princelings and the like.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:10:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sense of the sf genre has changed over time.

It used to be for people who liked science (that was my case anyway, in the 60s and 70s). But that's gone and forgotten (I date it from Starwars, in which there is no science whatsoever). Now, I suspect, it's a refuge for people who want politically-incorrect stories.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was always Heinlein doing libertarian SF. And a lot of older space opera was pretty much just 'America in Space - fuck yeah!'

I hear Star Trek is immensely popular with the US military - perhaps because all that noble humanitarianism in the TV shows is how they like to see themselves.

But it's interesting how much 50s SF was about telepathy, precognition, and other mental superpowers. That's almost gone now.

Star Wars was the cross-over point between speculative-imagination SF and blowing-shit-up-in-space SF. It had military elements, and mental superpowers, and princes and princesses, and a mercenary or two. But basically it was hatin-on-the-government made widescreen.

Then there was Aliens, and that was that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
it's interesting how much 50s SF was about telepathy, precognition, and other mental superpowers

it was also the era when the west took on the concept of brainwashing, due to techniques used by asian and communistic states on prisoners of war.

segueing prettily into the mad men of the 60's, and its usefulness in mass persuasion.

it's a very low, dishonorable abuse of energy, to use sheer repetition to numb brain receptors into battered submission, where even negative response still ensures brand recognition and pavlovian urges to buy, buy, buy.

yet we sucked it up, and still do...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I blame it on HG Wells. Blatantly political all of his novels, and not at all the same level of science geekery as Jules Verne.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, not really science fiction:
He was a rotten scientist anyway, remarking among other things that a small, bolted-down square of Cavorite could rapidly squirt away the Earth's entire atmosphere. The student is invited to estimate what percentage of our planet's mass would be gravitationally screened off from the viewpoint of an oxygen molecule two miles up.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 8th, 2013 at 05:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

There are progressive alternatives, mostly written by feminists.

Lois McMaster Bujold
Nancy Kress
Marge Piercy

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 05:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
someone is back! much missed, and h/t'd everytime i use trib ex, the niftiest of software, take a bow.

as to your comment, aren't they pirated, making sales figures a tad unrevealing?

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 01:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 05:29:11 AM EST
US Conservatives vehemently agree seeing one single solitary naked female boob will scar a child for the rest of their life.

US Conservatives vehemently agree seeing 10,000 hours of acts of violence has no affect.

Life in America.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Had forgot that one.

Luckily the penance for not remembering your Calvin and Hobbes is reading more Calving and Hobbes.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 06:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
quite the trenchant comment over on clusterfuck nation about this, sums it up tidily...

Going To the Movies - Clusterfuck Nation

Someone mentioned that Tarantino would have ended up in porn if he hadn't gotten lucky in "legitimate" film. Someone else mentioned he's a pornmeister in any case. I'd go a step further: most popular entertainment is porn.

Pop porn doesn't necessarily involve sex. What it does, and what Tarantino is masterful at, is cloud the difference between empathy and vicariousness. It continually turns us to what it wants us to see--the "good stuff"--usually at the expense, if not the outright mockery, of coherence and insight.

The plot, the characters, the setting, the "content" are all just a premise, a scrim, an aspic in which to embed the things that will shock and titillate. The whole purpose of pop porn is to breed the "cool" reaction noted above--to challenge people to rise above the assault on their senses or, more accurately, suppress their natural reactions to the verisimilitude of the action, the better to disparage those who cannot. Oh, it's just a movie. Chill out.

After a while, you do get numb. You don't care. You separate. News, entertainment, ads, truth, fiction, games--meh, who cares? It's all porn. It's all got a base agenda. It's all a goof. It all keeps us simultaneously bottled up inside our own sensory experience and watching ourselves, where we play with it like an infant plays with its pee-pee. It's all designed to infantilize, to reduce us to narcissists, all the better to erode our capacity to discern the many shell games, quackeries, and outright frauds that Jim so piquantly writes about.

And it works.




"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 17th, 2013 at 08:03:41 PM EST


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