Reflection or Fabrication?" Since the beginning of civilized society, man has been infatuated with entertainment. From the ancient Grecian Plays and bloody Roman gladiators to Hollywood productions and Broadway musicals, people have always loved to be entertained. The forms of entertainment have changed, but not the effects that they have on the spectators. Movies, Television, Musicals, and even Music itself, all have a profound effect on the people who loose themselves in the magical (and sometimes hypnotic) charm of the entertainment. It is a way to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of the sometimes chaotic "real world" and just get lost in the story. Here in lies the problem.
It seems as if society has forgotten about the story and has started to believe its own lies. Sex and violence are more popular on television than educational programing. Violence also occurs fifty-five times more often on television than it does in the real world (Medved). Is this a reflection of our society, or is it merely a fabrication; a distorted view of our reality that has been created by our own "storytellers"?
Violence in entertainment has become a major factor in the increase of violence in today's society, and something must be done about it. Violence is defined as the use of one's powers to physically or mentally inflict injury on another. It is spread throughout the world by many different medians. The main ones being: television, cinema, video games, and music. All of these have useful and very beneficial qualities. The potential for educational and informative programing is phenomenal, yet we still choose to poison our minds with useless information and meaningless trash.
Television programs have turned from entertainment and are now filled with worthless melodramas that supposedly "entertain". Instead, now all they do is annoy. The cinema used to attract one and all, now many wouldn't waste their time, let alone their money, to go and see a mindless work of "art". Violence has corrupted the entertainment industry like a virus infects a computers hard drive. The only answer to the problem is to remove the virus or scrap the old system and start again, hoping not to get another infection. The television, with it's far reaching influence, is the main contributor of violence to society.
The programs it presents almost always show human beings as animals. It shows the audience that humans are not able to be civil, instead they must first resort to a violent behavior and a reckless attitude with the consequences being left to worry about later. Since the introductory or the television in the 1950's, the homicide rate has doubled (CDC. gov). The violent shows also cater to children. A study done by the American Psychological Association concluded that the average child will have witnessed 8,000 murders and over 100,000 different acts of violence by the time he or she will have completed the 5th grade. It was also determined that a child will have spent over 22,000 hours watching television by the time he or she graduates from highschool.
That's twice as many hours than that child spent in school their entire life. (APA. org) A child exposed to such violent programs has been proven to be more aggressive than those not exposed, especially if that child goes un-punished (MSNBC. com). Another great contributor to the violence obtained by children are video games. Coming a long way since "Pong" and "Asteroids", today's games are full of real life scenarios and violent behavior. Violence that is so realistic, it's almost unreal. On November 9th 2004, stores across America were overflowing with customers who were waiting in line to buy the newest video game, Halo 2.
The game was created and distributed by the software giant, Microsoft. The company reported a total of 125 million dollars in the first twenty-four hours of sales, along with more than 500,000 copies of the game sold (MSNBC. com). The game has a rating of "M", which stands for Mature Audiences Only. This rating restricts the purchasing age to 17 and up, yet more than half of the consumers who own the game are under that age.
Children are the most easily influenced people on the planet. Their young minds are sponges, soaking up information at an alarming rate, yet we keep pumping in the wrong information for them to obtain. Doug Lowenstein, who is the president of the Entertainment Software Association stated, "The reality is that most of the time when kids get these games, they get them from an adult or a parent, and that is a failure of parenting". .
So who are we to blame? Do we punish the parents who allow their children to play such violent games, or the people who create them? This dilemma plagues us in almost every area of entertainment. The movies that are being produced today are very disappointing. Although some are great and stand out above the rest, there is a large percentage that have no substance or useful knowledge. You see them and then forget about them as if they were last weeks garbage.
The only thing that you retain is the feeling of being desensitized and shut off from the world around you. The violence and despair created by these fantasy worlds sticks with us whether we want it to or not. Violent movies, such as the "Terminator" series and the "Kill Bill" series, were both box office hits, yet they both condone the merciless killing of others. When a movie critic reviewed "Kill Bill" he was disgusted with it, even though he was a fan of Quentin Tarantino (the director of the film). He reported that, .".. (the director) makes virtually every scene a pretext for humiliating, brutalizing, or murdering his characters.
He's like a creepy kid torturing insects with a magnifying glass... ". (Businessweek. com). It has now become a point to make the goriest or most realistic killing movie. No longer are people content with swords underneath arms or pulled punches.
They all want to see be-headings and body parts scattered upon the floor. Which makes us ask yet another question. Should this violence be censored? Not completely of course, but should it be restricted or restrained to the point that it is used tastefully? It can be used not as a form of entertainment or something that others derive pleasure or satisfaction from, but something that can be used to learned from or to grieve over, instead of celebrated. There is still hope.
Especially in the music industry. The music industry has also begun using violence in their song lyrics. Although this has been going on for some time now, it has escalated in recent years. Artist such as Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and 50 cent, all promote graphic violence in their music. In one song, Eminem talks about killing his wife and throwing her corpse into a large body of water. He is allowed to do this because of the first amendment.
He is exercising his right to freedom of speech. If he would like to talk about hanging faggots up by there feet (which he does) then he can. But there are many people who say he should not be able to. They say that he should be silenced and he should not be able to say such horrible things. But we all share the same rights; and although we don't all use our rights in the same way, they still apply to all of us. But when one persons rights interfere with another persons, who is in the wrong?
Parents do not think they should have to worry about their children listening to such music. They believe it should be abolished in order for them to have an easier time getting to sleep at night. They want this violent music out of there house, but when the new Hannibal movie comes out, they are the first ones in line at the theaters to buy a ticket. So is violence a reflection or a fabrication?
Do we see a violent world around us filled with hate, or do we see a created world filled with created minds? It seems as if everyone has been given one brain and one choice. They believe that they made that choice but they didn't. It was fed to them on a silver spoon and they took it gladly without hesitation. The fact is that we have not fallen victim to some scheme or ill fated plan of violence. It is our own doing, our own mess that we have created.
We sit and blame others for the bad things that happen; for the violence in our communities, and then we just turn around and allow this so called "entertainment industry" to regurgitate it right back onto us. We have caught ourselves with our own hand in the cookie jar (Jack Johnson) We will deny it until we are blue in the face, but it will not change the facts: we can not blame anyone but ourselves for the violence of today's society. We pay for the violence to be created because it seems we can not get enough of it until it hits too close to home. When the violence in entertainment leaks into and causes violence in society, we suddenly become aware and want to point fingers, when all we have to do is look at ourselves. The great philosopher Plato once said, "It is our first job is to oversee the work of the story writers, and to accept any good stories they may write, but reject the others... ".
. We then have only two solutions to our problem. The first is to remove those who make the violent movies, music, video games, or television shows; shaming them into creating something with substance and meaning. The second way to fix the problem is easy. We can simply choose not to pay them for the violent entertainment. We can fix it on our own with just a push of a button or the closing of a wallet.