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March 1995, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Leo Bankersen <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Mar 1995 14:55:09 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Ulf Dalquist wrote:
>Well, I actually DO think that the 2nd amendement and NRA's
>mindless interpretation of it has something to do with it. This
>might be considered conservative, but it is my firm belief that
>fiction mirrors reality rather than the other way around.
and Kristine Butler:
>Secondly, yes, violence continues to spread unchecked.  But in
>indicting violence in film, are we getting at the real heart of
>the matter, or just pointing at symptoms?  These discussions of
>violence seem to be very polarized, either very moralistic or
>very concerned with the aesthetic, and never the twain shall
>meet.  The above exchange seems to encapsulate the outrage of
>one perspective when faced with the other.
I hesitate to reply on this subject, because I doubt I can add
more than the very obvious, but nevertheless...
In general, I would agree with the view that fiction mirrors
reality, though I am also aware that someone who wants to counter
this statement would probably have no great difficulty finding
examples that 'prove' the opposite. To (partly) avoid this kind
of controversy and/or polarization, it could be useful to
recognize that fiction (or film, or media) and reality (or
society) are not isolated entities, with only a one way traffic
between them.
In the first place, fiction is a part of that reality, and
second, influences can always go both ways simultaneously. The
result is a dynamic equilibrium, the net result depending on very
many circumstances.
In the study of this very broad and complex issue, it seems
useful though not to direct the attention to the whole, but to
concentrate on specific aspects. Therefore, we can examine the
influence of film (or film-violence) on the behavior of people
*and* study the parallel process of society influencing certain
topics of fiction. It's not a matter of choosing between them,
but rather to see how these processes can contribute to the
overall picture. Everything, of course IMHO.
By the way, wouldn't it be interesting to cast a glance at the
Japanese situation? As far as I understand (but my information
is very secondhand), this is a case where a popular cinema with a
high level of violence exists in a society with a relatively low
crime rate.
Leo Bankersen
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