Sunday, June 03, 2007

Prone to violence

On a recent survey of my movie collection, it came to my attention that over 90% of my movies involve violence as a main theme. From A History of Violence to Full Metal Jacket, the sheer unabashed aggression on display in these movies is stark and unavoidable. But does a collection that encompasses three decades worth of some of the most violent movies indicate a violence personality?

Now I don't consider myself a very violent person. Save for the occasional brawl in elementary school, my youth was untarnished by physical encounters. Road rage led me on occasion to vent my anger at my fellow drivers through pointless screaming in the comfort of my own car but it never went beyond that. City life has taken some getting used to what with the constant crowds but again, it's never gotten to the point where I've actually attempted to knock another guy's block off.

Some would take this opportunity to suggest that watching violent movies might be alleviating that pent up aggression, thus saving me from a stint in jail or worse. But history shows us that engaging in violence often leads to more of the same. Witness the Roman gladiatorial contests which started small yet by the third century was consuming more than a third of the year in the form of state-sponsored holidays to view these bloody spectacles.

Yet a violent movie collection does not a violent person make. Hype in the media about violence in movies causing increased rates of murder and mayhem are just that, hype. The roots of violence are numerous and range from well understood causes like child abuse to lesser known factors such as brain damage. Movies however are not one of them.

1 comment:

Aj said...

While I agree with you, we would have violent tendancies whether or not movies continued to shove these types of actions in our faces; I do think they add to the fire. Movies and the media have desensitized us so much that we think violence is a part of everyday life; we have forgotten it doesn't have to be. So movies don't create violent people, but they do create indifference in nonviolent people. Which, I think, is worse.

~Aj (blog hopper)