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Brent Bozell
L. Brent Bozell
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Tilting the Newtown 'Conversation'

Comment

It's too hard to try and make sense of a senseless event. Adam Lanza's merciless slaughter in Connecticut has forced everyone with a microphone to insist we have a "national conversation" about why this happens.

But this urgent need to talk is not an excuse for a reckless discussion. Sadly, that is where we're headed, with pundits hysterical, naive or both.

Predictably most in the media went straight to the Left's Alpha and Omega: blaming excessive "access" to guns. It was also an excuse to open fire on the National Rifle Association. For example, author Joyce Carol Oates spewed on Twitter, "If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun-victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms?" Actress Marg Helgenberger, semi-famous for playing a cop on "CSI," concurred, "One can only hope, but sadly I don't think anything would change."

One professor at the University of Rhode Island found violence as the answer to violence. Erik Loomis tweeted "I was heartbroken in the first 20 mass murders. Now I want [NRA VP] Wayne LaPierre's head on a stick." After an uproar, Loomis claimed, "I don't want to see Wayne LaPierre dead. I want to see him in prison for the rest of his life" for "NRA terrorism."

Let us agree that every liberal - such as Loomis, Helgenberger, and Oates — has cause for outrage. So too does every conservative. No one enjoys a monopoly and the jockeying must stop.

By the same token, let's be serious. Lanza did not get violent because of guns. He used guns because he was violent. The proper place for guns in a violent society is something we should discuss.

But if you want to solve the problem, you discuss the culture of violence in a nation enamored of death. Ours is a society imploding under an avalanche of violent video games, music, TV and movies. Surely, a serious "national conversation' should go there.

But so far, ABC and CBS and NBC aren't doing stories about the violent content on their TV shows. Nor are they discussing violent movies on ABC (Disney) and NBC (Universal), or viciously violent dramas on the pay cable channel Showtime (owned by CBS). Fox News isn't talking about Seth MacFarlane's shoot-em-up Sunday night cartoons on Fox, and Rupert Murdoch pushed Obama on Twitter for "bold leadership action" on guns, but hasn't tweeted a word about his own violent Hollywood sleaze.

In short, our news media can't really be trusted to evaluate all the cultural forces that the American people might blame.

They refuse to acknowledge the effect of violent content on impressionable young viewers. They're likely to cheer Big Gulp bans and the removal of soda machines from schools on behalf of the children, but they won't tolerate any restriction on children gulping down their company products.

That's not to say that the entertainment conglomerates didn't react to the Newtown shooting. Fox quickly announced it would pull new episodes of its Sunday night cartoons "Family Guy" and "American Dad," as well as a rerun of a "Die Hard" parody episode of "The Cleveland Show" that was scheduled. There were no plot specifics disclosed, but the canceled new shows that were suddenly now too violent for the times were "holiday-themed episodes."

Anyone who follows the sicko MacFarlane cartoons knows that bloody shooting deaths are part of their formula to deliver shocked laughs. That is, when they don't have a "funny" plot twist like a crazed horse stomping through an entire grandstand at the racetrack, killing a class of deaf second graders. Does that episode sound hilarious now, Fox Entertainment?

Other shows were pulled for sensitivity. The SyFy network show "Haven" was pulled because it contained violence in a high school setting. TLC pushed back the premiere of its show "Best Funeral Ever" into January.

Showtime decided to put disclaimers on the season finales of their violent shows — "Dexter," the heroic serial-killer show, and "Homeland," about terrorism. They announced, "in light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing."

Harvey Weinstein's company canceled the Los Angeles premiere for Quentin Tarantino's ultraviolent western "Django Unchained," scheduled for the Monday, after the massacre. Paramount toned down the gunplay in ads for their new Tom Cruise action movie, "Jack Reacher," which opens with a sniper shooting down five people. They also delayed a high-profile Pittsburgh premiere (where the movie was filmed) on Saturday and planned a quiet screening later.

Stop it, Hollywood. After every massacre, you do the same. Some show is edited, another one postponed, all with great fanfare, while the denizens of Tinseltown loudly voice their outrage at all this senseless violence.

And as soon as the massacre is off Page One, they get back to business, polluting the culture and spoon-feeding the next Adam Lanza.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

3 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... I am sure you are missing an essential element of movie violence as opposed to violence in fact... Much of what we see on screen or bug light is comedy, the evil individual driven from society so that society can then be re-united...Violence in reality is usually nothing short of tragedy, innocent or at least people of little guilt destroyed; which is an injury to society... I believe it is a sad fact that we have to much of tragedy in reality and far too little tragedy as entertainment...
The feeling behind tragedy is alive and well, and it is ancient... It is the belief that God judges whole societies, and not as separate individuals, and it is this belief behind the meddling moralizing of people little inclined to personal morality...If ancient people could not find some guilty person to drive out of society or execute, they would often select some one to scapegoat, and this practice, using shards or pottery to write the names of those elected to bear the indignity gives us the word: Ostracize...In the case of murder, the body of the executed was literally thrown over the border so the Gods might have no doubt about the desire of the people to be guilt free...
Your obvious inclination to scapegoat whole classes of people, in this case, for their hypocracy and sensitivity to violence in view of this great national tragedy- is misplaced...The problem here is not some isolated crime against society and sin against God... Our problem is an immorality, a demoralization so pervasive that it touches all, and especially those publicly commited to the service of God... Where is the call for medical and psychological help for the poor, homeless, and injured??? It is not coming from the right, from the religious, and the pius...Certainly, Asylums came with outrages and infringements of civil liberties, but turning people out of care with the excuse that they were injured by the process was only accepted because the price was prohibitive...
People do not care what pain and indignity the insane suffer so long as they are no threat to society...A near by schizophrenic was shot and killed not so many years ago after burning down his house; and his wife and children were outraged... They called the police for help, and feeling threatened, police did nothing while he torched the family home, but having a knife he would not drop, they killed him...
Another schizophrenic we knew; Gill, lived as nearly out of doors as any man might... Every penny he laid hands on went for bread to feed the sparrows, or cigarettes... He had a disease of the eyes that was gradually blinding him, and he died before totally blinded- with cardiovascular disease... Having seen him often and talked with him over the years, it was difficult for me to imagine this rawboned individual seeming to not have an ounce of spare fat on him could have a bad heart, and his heart was not in any sense cruel to people or god's creatures... I must ask why there is such an impediment to being treated, and why is there such stigma attached to it...
All of humanity is mad as a condition of love, children, and a continued existence for humanity... Shakespeare said in Love Labour's Lost, that Cuckoos mock married men, for thus he sings: Cuckoo, Cuckoo Cuckoo, oh word of fear, unpleasant to the married ear... What Nietzsche said of Madness, that individually rare and socially common, my paraphrase, is general and incorrect... We are all irrational and this alone does not make humanity insane... It is those people who are hyper rational, having not the anchor line of emotional connectedness who are the most extreme and dangerous threat... But society cultivates such people who can deny or deny naturally their emotions...
What would Christians be if capable of sympathy, but Christ in person...They made Mother Theresa a saint for being human... But to bring us back to the movies, only consider the next time you see some horrible person built up in character by the witness of his crimes, and then witness his destruction from six camera angles in bullets, explosions, and if possible, a fall... Look then at the faces of the audience and you see no release from the pain... What releases people- is tragedy because in that fashion people learn to forgive themselves, and it gives them peace as the comedies of hate we see- do not...
Do you think the insane do not hate the happy, the connected, and the loving???... Those incapable of feeling are incapable of human connection, and every smile and titter of laughter is a reminder to them of their loneliness and isolation...Our comedies so seldom funny, and never believable are no substitute for even the worst done tragedy... The less we have of tragedy in fiction the more we must suffer it in fact...Yet; those who are empathetic, even those able to feel their own pain need not apply... This isn't an artist colony... Business is business, and the mad had better look out for themselves...
Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:45 AM
Well said and thoughtful essay, Sir Sweeney. Merry Christmas and peace to you and yours and the best and happiest wishes for the New Year.
Comment: #2
Posted by: morgan
Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:35 AM
Re: morgan... Back atcha, Mr. Morgan; but I don't sir at you so don't be sir-ing at me!!! Thanks...
Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:27 AM
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