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Laura Ciampa writes:
 
>Although I don't necessarily believe that television/film violence
>makes
>people more violent or inspires specific violent acts, I give a lot of
>credence to the theory that the high volume of violence in our
>entertainment media desensitizes us to real violence.
 
  What exactly does it mean to be 'desensitized to real violence?  I
know that I have probably seen thousands of representations of
violence on various screens in my almost 50 years, and I still get an
extremely painful, helpless feeling in the pit of my stomach on the
rare occasions when I see someone's house burned down, or someone else
seriously injured.  I almost wish I could be desensitized, if that
didn't inevitably make me a little less human.
 
>I also believe it
>promotes the ideology of violence as a means of "solving" problems.
 
  This ideology is much more effectively promoted by those who glorify
military values and advocate capital punishment.  Some of our media
reflect these ideologies, and can be used to promote them, but the
ideology is more effectively confronted where it really lives, and not
just in media representations.  States which exercise control over the
violence and sexual content of their media don't make the problems go
away, they just make them more invisible.
 
>Regarding the comments on "NYPD Blue," I also believe there is a big
>difference between "cartoonish" violence and realistic violence, in
>which the consequences are shown to the viewer.  I find it extremely
>disturbing
>to be in a movie theater and have people laugh when someone is killed
>(especially when there are children present and doing the laughing).
 
  I don't actually understand the import of this paragraph.
 
>Does anyone have an opinion on the studies which show that people who
>watch
>a lot of violent television believe that the crime rate is higher (and
>the
>world, in general, is a more dangerous place) than those who don't?
 
  My opinion, for what its worth, is that these people are ignorant,
in the sense of ignoring the 'real' world because the media
representation is so much more interesting.  We shouldn't make
censorship policy based on the prejudices of ignorant people.
                                                Stephen Brophy
                                                Cambridge, Mass.
 
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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite 
http://www.sa.ua.edu/screensite