Violence continues to increase in our entertainment and culture

Published by adviser, Author: Michael Santoro - Rocket Contributor, Date: September 13, 2012
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It seems that every time you open up your computer or watch your television, there’s always something to read, view, and learn.

Even on the most mundane of days, something is going on somewhere.

More and more, it seems these happenings are surrounded by or involve violence.

Be it somebody tragically shot and killed, a wreck of massive proportions on a freeway, or a simple tiff: there’s aggression and tension everywhere we turn.

Now our entertainment seems to be following this trend, subjecting us to violent content at every turn.

We’ll start with movies. Next to drawings/paintings and literature, movies were the first art medium to display violence and face the short-lived backlash for doing so.

One of the very first movies revealed to the public involved an outlaw with a revolver shooting straight at the camera. Furthermore, that audience was so taken aback by this they actually ducked and flinched, expecting to be hit by the stray bullet.

Could you imagine this now? Of course not, as we have been desensitized to violence and more of what the art medium can do.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li; what do all of these men have in common, besides staring in The Expendables?
They are all action movie stars that have been killing, saving, and causing explosions for years in their films.

The Expendables is a perfect example of the violence trend. Sure, there’s a plot to the movie. Despite this, do you really think the majority of the audience is really concerned? I mean, what did we hear about first: the abundance of action stars, or the “intricate and unbelievable” plot?
Next, we’ll go to music. Just with movies, not every single form of music has violence surging through its identity.

The two genres that have taken the major hits are metal and rap.

I like both of these genres, but do notice a rather sharp increase in the violent content.

Rap didn’t start out the way it is now.

The Sugarhill Gang was rapping about eating crappy food at a friend’s place, and Grandmaster Flash was telling us about the disparities and social injustices involved with tough city life.

Now we just hear about how many people a rapper can kill, how many beefs he can start, how many women he can get with, how many drugs he can do, etc.

Metal doesn’t seems to follow the pattern of gloating.

Instead, it just relates stories of violence or dispels desires to hurt or injure.

Subject matter is heavy, people are angry, and the solution is usually some sort of violent act.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not condemning any subject matter of art, nor am I discrediting any artistic forms of expression.

It just seems like violence is being relied upon to the point where conveying something grave or serious is impossible without it.

Now onto the perceived main culprit: video games.

Death Race did it back on the Atari 2600, and years afterward Grand Theft Auto III did it on the PlayStation 2.

Both games showed violence in different capacities that could be controlled and extracted by the player.

Now that those controversies are over, nobody seems to care anymore. The Call of Duty series, one of the most played series out now, centers around killing people.

Even Teen rated games, ones that thirteen-year-olds are expected to play, center around the main character dishing out some sort of physical punishment.

Once again, I’m not condemning any form of entertainment. Virtual violence has always been in place, it just seems to me not as prevalent as it is now.

Some people say that America is a culture of violence. While I would say that is a little too black and white, I do believe that there is some truth to that.

While sex in the media (especially movies and video games) is a bit more of a sensitive subject, violence is A-okay to show in the goriest and most revealing way possible.

The sad part is that it’s too late to reverse this cycle. We have been desensitized too much to be able to go back to the days of the restrained.

Whatever speed it’s currently at, the violence dominating our culture is increasing.

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