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>These cartoons that are being viewed
>> today by children are much more violent than they were some 15 to 18
>> years ago.
>
>This is surely a bit of a generalisation.
 
I agree with Leo.  The most popular cartoons among smaller kids today are
Nick's "Rugrats" and "Doug," anarchic and goofy, yes, but hardly as
"violent" as an old WB or MGM toon.  Even the superhero cartoons these days
(X-Men, Spiderman, Batman) seem to have less violence than their
counterparts I grew up with in the 70s.
 
Perhaps I'm not as concerned about the issue as others, but it seems that
blaming cartoons for violent kids is an incredible leap of logic.  While I'm
skeptical of any direct media "effects," (and I second whoever said we need
smarter viewers), I'll offer that if anything it's the violence of reality
programming and the paranoia of most TV news that drives people to build
domestic fortresses and take up arms.  Particularly in US suburbs.
 
To tweak the issue a bit:  while (qualitative) media studies has been
especially sensitive to representation issues concerning race, gender,
sexuality and class over the past 15 or so years, it has left this issue of
media violence to the more psychological/quantitative schools of traditional
communication studies.  Why?  Why are we more prone to get upset about, say,
the coverage of the OJ Simpson trial, or the depiction of homosexuality in
(insert any heterosexist Hollywood film here) than the celebration of
brutality in the "Cops" reailty-TV genre, or the fascination with crime and
psychopathic gun-toting anti-heroes in many critically-acclaimed films of
the last five years?  The most troubling thing with these Tarantino-clones
is that they've become banal signifiers of "alternative," (sic) quality
filmmaking among younger film buffs.  In other words, I'm not as upset about
their violence as I am that's there's simply too damn many of them around!
 
Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel on these issues, but I thought it may be
worth chewing on here.
 
--  DK
 
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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite 
http://www.sa.ua.edu/screensite