From: Jordan Stein In response to Tom Byers's posting from Friday 4/ 15/ 93, I would say that viewing violent films is one of the methods by which we deal with deep seated cultural fears. I wouldn't want to imagine a society where topics that are deemed as deviant, such as violence, are beyond the realm of cultural expression. However, I don't think it is wise to distinguish between average " Hollywood fare " and films such as Blue Velvet. First of all, even a film like Friday the 13th has enogh cultual ideology encoded in it to make it interesting for intellectuals, and someone who isn't familiar with the " deconstruction " probably wouldn't be more enlightened by Blue Velvet than they would be by the former film. Given that violent images are an important form of our cultural expression, it seems that the problem isn't the images themselves, but the fact that so many people are ill equipt to interpret these images as part of a symbolic framework. For someone who is media literate seeing Blue Velvet probably won't have a more negative impact than reading Edgar Allen Poe would. However, if someone thinks films represent reality, and will act on what they see in a film, then all violent films will be dangerous for these people. I think violence in films cqan potentially be helpful, because they encourage debate over issues that cause cultural fear. I think the major problem with recent debate over violence in the media, is the fact that the focus has been on violence per se, and not the underlying fears that the violence represents.