The PJ Tatler

L.A. Times: Violent Movies Don’t Cause Violence, but Guns Do

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times penned an op/ed claiming that violent movies don’t make people violent, but instead are a “positive force.” Her diatribe highlights the mental disturbance that’s the result of hoplophobia. Here’s some analysis of her points.

“A good deal of movie violence is designed as a way for us to experience it vicariously.”

Why does she need to “vicariously” experience violence? If she were writing about XXX-rated movies, we would call it pornography, which purportedly offers viewers vicarious stimulation, too. According to a Psychology Today author: “pornography not only arouses, it tutors our imagination.” In this way, pornography “shapes male expectations” and “splits men’s consciousness,” destroying their ability to relate to real women.

Now we’re supposed to believe that violence-pornography doesn’t affect people’s minds, while sex-pornography does. Welcome to the split consciousness at the LA Times.

Here’s more evidence of a “split consciousness.” Sharkey acknowledges violence “has been with us since the dawn of mankind.” Violence preceded guns, too. Imagine a woman with a stick facing off with a large male. Now replace that stick with a pistol. It’s no wonder that rape increased in Britain and Australia after they enacted massive gun bans.

Another point of Sharkey’s is just as revealing: The thought of filmmakers making their movies “less gruesome” is, to her, “the scariest proposition of all.”

Why shouldn’t this be considered addiction? Addicts live in fear of losing access to their drug(s) of choice, upon which they’ve come to depend. The Medical Dictionary notes: “Using drugs repeatedly over time changes brain structure and function in fundamental and long-lasting ways.” [emphasis added]

Evidence suggests that those long-lasting brain changes are responsible for the distortions of cognitive and emotional functioning that characterize addicts, particularly the compulsion to use drugs.

Why shouldn’t watching violent movies cause similar results? This concept is widely accepted by researchers. Here’s the conclusion from a group of authors representing the Universities of Arizona, California, Iowa State, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin:

Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts.

I’m not a psychologist, nor am I diagnosing anybody here. But responsible journalists should always reflect on how to best serve society, considering the power we’ve been given to influence public discourse.

In that vein, we must ponder: If an author is addicted to the vicarious thrills she experiences from watching violence-pornography, then her brain function may have altered to the point that whatever she avers as truth must be examined. Furthermore, if such mental illness exists, then it’s socially irresponsible for the Times to continue allowing her to publicly praise violence-pornography as a “positive force,” because such enabling behavior not only damages the author’s chances of recovery, but it fosters an environment wherein more get led into addiction. If a major media organization says it’s okay, such rationalization can convince an impressionable person balanced between conscience and social pressure.

The comment by “fhk22553” was particularly noteworthy:

“Isn’t it amazing that we are asked to believe that a stationary billboard with simply a picture of an ugly (Joe) Camel on it , will make a young adult want to run out and buy a carton of cigarettes , yet , somehow that same young adult will be totally un-affected by watching a 90 minute film with a dozen people either blown-up , shot , or sliced and diced …. How does that work ? ….Is it magic , or just another case of Liberal Logic-101 …. What’s your best guess ?” [sic]

This highlights another compelling point: The LA Times has no problem reciting the fictional “gun violence” meme, implying that guns cause violence. A search on “LA Times gun violence” returned this opinion piece under their “Mental Illness” subheading:

The national effort to crack down on gun violence being led by President Obama is generating encouraging discussion in Congress, where until recently the subject of gun control had been largely taboo. That’s good news.

The author noted California ranked Number 1 according to the Brady Campaign — leading the way with the most gun control of any state — but claims they still need “some degree” more of gun control.

Another column labeled a Sacramento demonstration by pro-rights advocates as “some people celebrated their love of guns,” concluding that Obama’s gun control proposals are a “step in the right direction.” (Purists may claim the author quoted an interviewee, but remember that the closing paragraph contains the author’s overarching message.)

So the Times has no problem making guns a love object for supporters of the civil right of self-defense. Nor does the Times have a problem making guns a magical object that stimulates violence in those who possess one.

But after imbuing an inanimate object with the power to cause mental illness and turn us into violent monsters, the Times turns around and tells us that another inanimate object — violent movies — has no impact on our mental health.

This is what happens when we let the narrative be controlled by those for whom the agenda is more important than the truth.