( Okay, so little message before the article: just wanted to say that I worked so hard on this, and I'm trying to get a feel for journalism, and I need all constructive criticism I can get, so bring it, please ;) And, this isn't focusing on anything in particular, and all article posts I make will vary subject-wise so there'll hopefully be something you take an interest to when I work my way through! Hope you like it, and fingers crossed it's okay - I've debated even uploading it, seeing as it'll be my first one! Here goes!)
What has violence done to our Media Industry ?
My grandmother always used to tell me many of her various life stories, ranging from the days when she spent her childhood weekends climbing trees, and running along unknown secluded dirt paths in the countryside, to the time she got completely drunk and ended up dressed as a clown face down on a gutter. One account she shared one day did truly stick with me, one that showed a true allegory to our lifestyle today. It was when she described seeing The God Father in the theatre with my late Grandfather.
‘In that time, it was the most violent film that had been produced.’ She’d remarked, and then contemplated the memory. ‘Especially the scene near the end, when one of the men get shot through the eye. The blood that followed completely shocked the audience and made me feel faint. It was definitely the most hard-hitting content that I’d ever seen at that point.’
Even though the Godfather is remembered as an iconic movie in history, with one of the most legendary casts of its time, scenes such as those would now be considered by the younger generation as sympathetic attempts at ensanguine violence. This would be a fair comment, seeing as, in recent years, technology has contributed a considerable quantity to the film industry, making it accessible to much more realistic violent portrayals onscreen. However, is the fact that the shock from films of a few decades ago have become a laughing stock in today’s society a worrying issue, showing that our constant ability to surpass realistic shocking images is quite concerning?
Films have explored and depicted countless storylines that continue to exceed the exaggeration of past plots, which began as a small scale ‘shock factor’ to attract an audience. This has since been embroidered to maximise profit, and has gradually become more shocking. Now audiences have been conditioned to find scenes like these usual, as the use of violence in films is constantly recaptured and explored, time and time again.
The extremity of movies has made a major alteration in global views. A few decades ago, murders and other serious crimes would be received with horror, but film’s manipulation of using this has resulted in consumers not feeling raw shock about such terrible occasions, causing films to exaggerate scripts to attempt to keep this factor.
The World Wide Web and television has heavily fuelled this issue too. Internet sites such as Youtube has made film advertising widely known, and many videos promote humorous angles on incidents and violence. This causes similar issues not to be taken seriously, which television reflects in its contents. A study in 2001 showed 4o acts of violence per hour took place on television, depicting a ridiculous amount of times a family with a TV set have to sit through brutal endorsement, influencing aggression constantly. It would certainly shock anyone to find how much sadism exists on television, and the frequency of it, yet we still sit through it, not realising the ridiculous amount of time of our lives are filled, watching onscreen violence, everyday.
Even though media and entertainment are certainly at a peak of causing negative effects currently, this influence of violence can also be traced back many centuries. For example, in between 2000 B.C. and 44 A.D., ancient Egyptians exhibited re-enactments of their God’s murder, Osiris, which led to various imitated killings, showing that violence has always had a role in entertainment. However, in recent decades, the sadistic inclusion in entertainment has changed.
The study that revealed how much our contemporary media violence concurred, depicts how, from a factual-based play on a God’s murder, it is now corrupted by hundreds of many violent portrayals in one day, depicted on-screen.
The influence that acted murders had many centuries ago is reflected in modern society. There are now many more imitated killings, proven to be have copied from TV storylines. However, compared to issues similar from a throng of centuries, the difference is that today, these shocking killings are much more frequent.
A well-known example is the James Bugler case, in which two boys, at the tender age of 10 years old, murdered a young 3 year old. The perpetrators allegedly admitted they had seen a violent film that their dad was watching, and they copied it.
This is a case of many, and should make us consider what the real role media and entertainment play in our lives. Promotions are all over TV, advertising violent games, such as ‘Fallout’ and ‘Call of Duty’, which are all restricted with an age limit. However, even if there are limitations for such things being bought, many young children own copies of such violence, whether having been mistaken for being older, having parents purchase them, or asking an older friend or sibling. All these issues aren’t taken into account, and many younger people have an easy route to owning these games, which hasn’t been considered or faced by governments or game producers.
One of the most famous games amongst these would be ‘Grand Theft Auto’, in which you can massacre people, set fire to buildings, and even decaptitate police officers. It seems too shocking to even consider buying, however ‘Grand Theft Auto’ has sold over 35 million copies, and has raked in sales, reaching a ridiculous $2 billion.
The influence this must have on anyone underage playing such a game would be overwhelming. Steal things you like, kill people you don’t, and simply blow away any police officers that are in your way. Reality is nothing like this game depicts, and letting a young person play on it would and will have an awful effect, especially on their view of how the actual world works.
Even games this violent have provoked controversy regarding how it has been able to be produced in the first place. Even those old enough to purchase it would be consumed by the destructive nature of the plot, which has been the case many times.
‘Grand Theft Auto’ has had a fair share of being the basis of many lawsuits, one most recently about an 18 year old who gunned down, and killed, three men in America, after playing the game for days and nights for months. When being in the position to end someone’s life is a terrifying thought, why should it easily be allowed virtually?
And, as this case clearly presents, letting a game completely consume you trains you to act in reality how you would within a video game. This repeated exposure to violence can only make matters in the actual world worse. Worryingly, case after case, nothing has been done to limit the violent distributed in video gaming, and also in filming and TV.
Storylines within everything material can alter our views of reality. Glamorous lifestyles portrayed on Hollywood scenes make us believe everything can easily be full of designer clothes and riches, and our lives can all be like ‘socialites’ in Malibu. Most plots depicted in the media have a happy ending, which, whilst watching, is what you want from the end, but it twists our realistic thoughts, making us believe everything can work out for us, and we don’t need to work at things. It’ll all come together. All genres in film, TV and gaming can change our views to a less realistic one, but violence is the one that, when exposed to, can cause the most damage.
So, should we be asking what should change to lower viewings and accessibility to the younger generation on violence? There should be restrictions when such aggressive plots are produced, so why aren’t there? Many violent acts don’t portray a reality we need to wake up to; it just indoctrinates us to believe that it is the reality.
Hopefully, many of us are starting to realise the lethal, negative effects of such media and entertainment, and it can be stopped being so extremely accessible in the near future. Otherwise, it is feared it will become a slow ascent into more violence, more terror, more brain washing.
The question of this shouldn’t be ‘What has Violence Done to Our Media Industry?’; it should be ‘What has Our Media Industry Done to Violence?’.
So, that's my first article! I think my next one will be along the lines of 'The It-Girls of the Centuries' because I'd love an excuse to research and write on Twiggy etc! Hope you like it! :)
Eva (: xxx