Is television preparing us for the violence that lies ahead?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
It would be hard not to notice that modern television "programming" (I've always been leery of that term) has become increasingly more graphic in the last year or two. A new breed of "guns&gore" program has just about replaced the "situation comedy", although not that most of them were worth a crap. The Fox network has been a leader in this, with big hits like "Cops", "When Animals/Machines/People Attack", "World's Scariest Police Chases" and realistic shoot-em-up dramas that no longer scrimp on blood & guts. Other channels are following suit, like TLC's docu-drama series "Trauma: Life in the ER". Hollywood also seems to be getting in on the action, with a resurgence of disaster flicks and films with even more disturbing scripts such as "Siege" and "Y2K".
Most conservatives would have you believe that as long as actual sex is not depicted, the effect is innocuous, and this has been the subject of wide ranging debate that is usually centered on the question "are violent TV shows harming our children?" But my question here is, is television and cinema somehow preparing us for the violence that lies ahead? If so, is it just because the collective viewer consciousness is craving it, or is it something more sinister, like a deliberate bias by the people that control the media? Or maybe its just synchronicity? (or maybe I just think to much...)
-- a (email@example.com), January 08, 1999
As Jack Nicholson said about film (TV) violence, "You cut a tit off and it's PG-13, you suck the same tit and it's X".
Look for more "Dirty Laundry" on the set in the future. Even anti-TV people plead "KILL your TV" on the bumbers of their cars. Elvis used to shoot them with a 45, when he didn't like what he was watching. No TV may be one of Y2K's only blessings.
-- Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999.
Is television and cinema preparing us for the violence that lies ahead?
Television. Television. Is this just television?
-- Critt Jarvis (Wilmington, NC) (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
What's a television? Who's Jack Nicholson and Elvis?
-- Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.
I second your points. plus who has time to prepare *and* watch television, even if there was anything on worth watching?
-- Arlin H. Adams (email@example.com), January 09, 1999.
There's "Touched By An Angel." Quite a following.
There are "balancing" programs out there too. Also, gott'a love the power that comes with remote control switches.
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.
Bad news -- it already has prepared us. Television answers the need human beings have for drama. Drama (the acting out of imaginary or past scenarios), like song, has traditionally served to teach us those things which we cannot easily experience ourselves, in order to prepare us. Just think about traditional hunting dances, or songs and plays about life experiences yet to come (love, death, danger).
Now consider the most common theme in movies and T.V. over the last two decades: disaster, and group and individual response to that disaster.
We have been overwhelmingly taught by our media that individual response should fall into one of two categories: individual heroic and individual violent/irrational. Neither of these will help us much, but it's easy to find instances of both going on right now. The other major response we have been taught is a group response. It is invariably panic. Screaming. Running. Etc.
What is really amazing to me is that so many folks out there have been able to hold an ideal for group cooperation so strongly in their minds. It seems like a long shot to me, but it sure would be cool if these folks' vision were powerful enough to overwhelm the conditioned response.
Maybe it's time we produced some movies about cooperation, eh?
-- dpg (email@example.com), January 09, 1999.
This is a teeny bit off the topic.....but this morning I saw what I believe is the first example of "propaganda" on TV re Y2K.
It was a commercial/public service msg about the National Guard. Considering the news which came out the other day about a nationwide excercise by the National Guard on May 1-2nd, I found this rather interesting. It was NOT a "we need you, come join the Guard" type of spot. Rather, it was a "the National Guard is your friend, they help people, they will maintain order..."
Am I reading too much into this? Did anyone else see it? Comments??
-- Sheila (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.
I'm a conservative kinda guy and I think that blood and gore movies etc are x (should be). Have heard that some get a big "o" out of watching people hurt, dismembered etc. Glad you said, "Most conservatives..." That "programming" word has always bothered me. One day I asked my brother why he talked back to the TV. He said it was his way of fighting their "programming".
-- Mark Hillyard (email@example.com), January 09, 1999.
Bicycled through Yugoslavia for 2 weeks before the war. It was illegal to stay anywhere but official campgrounds or hotels, only where we were there weren't any. So we asked locals for suggestions of where best to avoid getting hassled by the local police. Somebody invariably invited us to camp in their backyards and invited us in for coffee (a very expensive and generous treat) and conversation, with the TV on in the background. Invariably movies of heroic Partisan fighting (WWII under Tito). Only once was there anything else on (the news). No comment.
-- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.