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July 1996, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Ulf Dalquist <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 09:08:10 +0200
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Simone L. Fary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>        I too am bothered by the escalation of violence in
>popular culture.  The other day we say a low budget "comedy"
>called "Bound and Gagged", which like the Coen brother's
>Fargo, showed scenes of violence, and then comedy.  I found
>it impossible to giggle at a joke after seeing a rape,
>cold blooded slaying etc., but apparently alot of people
>don't have this problem.
>        The movie also contained fairly explicit scenes of
>sex.  The group I saw it with didn't find any of it erotic,
>and some even said the sex scenes were "boring" - more
>"mechanical" and "acrobatic" then titilating.  It's sad that
>we are so exposed to sex and violence that it becomes boring
>to us.
>        However, while it seemed sad that we were becoming
>numb to screen violence by being over-exposed to it, I was
>used to dismissing its possible consequences.  Recently,
>however I heard a radio interview with a professor who
>specializes in military
>history and psychology.  He felt that what we are doing to
>our children as a culture by exposing them to violence was
>the equivalent to what a modern military does in wearaing
>down the natural resistance of its recruits to engaging
>in killing and other acts of violence.  He was really
>disturbed by the situation, which made me also wonder
>about it with a different perspective.
>Simone Fary, who always has to end quickly in order not
>to have her computer turned off by her toddler
Not claiming that there isn't such a thing as an escalation of violence, se=
heresy, immoral behaviour, perversion or whatever we chose to call things t=
bother us in contemporary cinema, one must be aware that people has *always=
been concerned by this escalation. Nowadays we laugh at what people found=20
bothering as late as 25-30 years ago and find it almost "cute" that Mae Wes=
t was=20
considered a great threat to yesteryears moral standards. But, the question=
how will *our* reactions to the different offending phenomena be viewed 25 =
on? Probably just the same way: "Oh, that's nothing to get upset with".
When it comes to "numbing" from screen violence, I can only add that media=
violence only works de-sensitizing when it comes to... screen violence. No=
research whatsoever has proved an effect of media violence (neither fictito=
nor non- fictitiuos) on the perceptions of real-life violence. And Simone, =
this considers my PhD thesis work, I'd really to know the name of that=20
professor. Do you remember it?
Ulf Dalquist                Phone:  +46 46 2224266
Dept. of Sociology          Fax:    +46 46 2224794
Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN  E-mail: [log in to unmask]        =20
"You hear about 'constitutional rights', 'free speech', and the 'free press=
'. Every time I hear these words I say to myself, 'That man is a Red!!...' =
You never hear a real American talk like that!"
                                                                                                                                                                               Mayor Frank Hague, Jersey City
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