Violence On TV

     The last five years have seen an increase in the stand on violence in movies. As
action movies with their big stars are taken to new heights every year, more
people seem to argue that the violence is influencing our countryís youth.

Yet, each year, the amount of viewers also increases. This summerís smash hit

Independence Day grossed more money than any other film in history, and it was
full of violence. The other summer hits included Mission: Impossible, Courage

Under Fire, and A Time to Kill. All of these movies contained violence, and all
were highly acclaimed. And all, with the exception of Independence Day, were
aimed toward adults who understood the violence and could separate screen
violence from real violence. There is nothing wrong with having violence in
film. If an adult wants to spend an evening watching Arnold Schwartzenager Save
the world, then he should have that right. Film critic Hal Hinson enjoys
watching movies. In fact, he fell in love with movies at the same time that he
remembers being afraid for the first time. He was watching Frankenstein, and, as
he described in his essay "In Defense of Violence," it played with his
senses in such a way that he instantaneously fell in love with movies. . The
danger was fake, but Hinson described that it played with his senses in such a
way that he almost instantly fell in love. Hinson feels that most movie lovers
were incited by the same hooks as himself. Movies were thrilling, dangerous, and
mesmerizing (Hinson 581-2). Hinson says that as a culture, we like violent art.

Yet this is not something that is new to today's culture. The ancient Greeks
perfected the genre of tragedy with a use of violence. According to Hinson, they
believed that "while violence in life is destructive, violence in art need
not be; that art provides a healthy channel for the natural aggressive forces
within us" (Hinson 585). Today, the Greek tragedy is not often seen, but
there are other shows movies that embody and use violence. Tom and Jerry, The

Three Stooges, and popular prime time shows including the highly acclaimed NYPD

Blue and ER are all violent. There is a surplus of violent movies in Hollywood.

Usually, the years highest moneymakers are violent. Even Oscar winning movies,
those movies that are "the best of the year," have violence in them.

Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiving, and In the Line of Fire are just a few. Even
with all this violence on both the small and big screen, Hinson makes a clear
statement that real-life violence is the problem, not movie violence. He feels
that people fear screen violence because they fear we might become what is
depicted on screen. Hinson feels that to enjoy violence, one must be able to
distinguish between what is real and what is not (Hinson 587). Another essay,
this one entitled "Popcorn Violence," illustrates how the type of
violence seen in film and television is completely different than real life
violence. The author, Roger Rosenblatt, describes how young children can be
exposed to screen violence early on in life, yet the type of violence is so
fictional that the connection between what is seen on television and what goes
on out in the streets is never made. The example Rosenblatt uses to illustrate
this point is wrestling. In professional wrestling there are good guys, such as

Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and bad guys, which includes
the likes of The Undertaker and Rowdy Piper. Every Saturday morning they go into
the ring and fight. Its good versus bad. The show, of course, is humorous, as it
is meant to be. The characters are so strange that they are comical. They roam
around the ring, yelling and screaming, looking quite ridiculous. They play to
the crowd, either making them boo or cheer. Occasionally, for example, if say

Hulk Hogan is winning a fight, the bad guyís friends might join in and gang up
on Hulk. All of this violence, and the kids love it (Rosenblatt 589). The same
occurs in "action" movies. There is a good guy and a bad guy, but the
bad guy usually has lots of friends, and they all gang up on the good guy.

Rosenblatt explains that sometimes you root for the good guys, and other times
for the bad guys. He says that we root for the bad because sometimes
"youíre simply bored with the good guys and the bad are beautiful" (Rosenblatt

589-90). But when we do root for the good guy, it is because all odds are
against him. In his essay, Rosenblatt explains that admiration for the either
good or bad comes from the desire to achieve what ultimately the that person
achieves: success. The winner of the battle is the one who succeeds and does so
with power and strength and the ability to outwit an opponent (Rosenblatt 590).

Sometimes, Rosenblatt explains, you really want the bad guy to succeed. He uses
two good examples to illustrate this point. First off is Terminator, the movie
that started Arnold Schwartzenagerís career. In the movie, his job as a cyborg
was to kill Sarah Connor(AKA Linda Hamilton). No matter what amount of
destructive force was aimed at the Terminator, as long as some part of him was
functioning, he would still go after her. Rosenblatt also uses an example that
is not particularly violent, but does show how we sometimes tend to root for the
bad guy. The example he uses is The Great Gatsby. Gatsby, according to

Rosenblatt, is so appealing because he not only was a self made millionaire, but
also because he was a criminal. On his way to the top, Gatsby murdered a man. He
makes the ultimate sacrifice to achieve success (Rosenblatt 590). After reading
this novel, I can say I was quite upset when Gastby died. He was the bad guy,
the criminal, yet I wanted to see him succeed. There is another aspect of
violent movies that Rosenblatt touches briefly on. This is the progression of
weaponry in movies. The progression has been incredible, indeed. In many violent
movies, it is the type of weapon and how it is used and depicted that make the
movie so violent. It has gone from the .357 Magnum that Clint Eastwood held to a
thugís face and said "Go ahead, make my day," to the magnetic pulse
rifles seen Arnold Schwartzenagerís latest The Eraser. Men seem to have a
fascination with gadgets and technology, and this is what Rosenblatt uses to
defend this progression. Just as with a new cordless power super duper drill, a
high tech weapon to even the odds is "neat." Rosenblatt uses a good
example in the movie In the Line of Fire. There is a scene where two duck
hunters at a pond are approached by the assassin. They are fascinated by the
double barrel pistol made by the assassin, as most guys probably would have been
(Rosenblatt 591). Rosenblatt concludes by saying that menís fascination with
violent movies stems from our competitiveness and wanting to succeed. He says
that we are not violent people for watching these films. He claims that most of
us would want to take all the guns off the street and burn them all. Rosenblatt
also mentions one of his friends, a police officer, who loves action movies but
hates the violence that he has to deal with everyday. Rosenblatt says that men
donít take violence in films seriously (Rosenblatt 592). We know that

Schwartzenager is fake, and that there is no Rambo. Unfortunately, there is some
evidence that television and movies are schools for violence. In the book

Children in Front of the Small Screen by Grant Noble, results from tests show
that young children will imitate that which they see on screen. Several
experiments were performed to prove this point, all involving children. In the
tests, the children viewed different acts of violence. These violent acts
included a man hitting a bozo the clown self righting inflatable doll with a
mallet, and two grown adults fighting over some toys. They were then left in
rooms for observation. In the case of the children who saw the man hit the doll
with the mallet, in the room was the same mallet and doll, along with numerous
other toys. In most cases, the children would imitate the exact action they
viewed. Some would even imitate the exact body stances and facial expression
that the watched on screen. The experimenters did not, however, state for how
long each aggressive act took place. They concluded "that film models are
as effective in teaching aggressive behavior as real-life models as parents and
teachers" (Grant 127). All right, so maybe there is some validity to the
idea that violence on screen adversely affects children. The fact is, children
like to mimic what the see and hear, whether its on the television or in real
life. I wonít deny the fact that this is a serious problem. The types of
behavior in many violent films are not what most parents would want there kids
to imitate. Indeed, this is solid evidence that screen violence is very
impressionable for children. Of course, what parent would allow they child to
watch Rambo or Terminator at a young age? These movies arenít made for young
children, and therefore, should not be seen by them. Thatís why there is a
rating system for movies. A child of six years old shouldnít be sitting in
front of the television watching Die Hard or similar films. Its up to the
parents to monitor their childís viewing. When I was growing up, my parents
were very careful in monitoring what watched and what I played with. In fact, I
donít think I ever owned a toy gun. They hardly ever let me watch R rated
movies. If, by chance, I did, I watched them under their supervision, and they
usually explained to me that what was going on in the movie was wrong. Though I
watched a few while growing up, I donít feel that they had any adverse effects
on me. I am not a violent person or perform random, spontaneous acts of
violence. I believe this is because my parents told me that what I was watching
was not an acceptable way to act. This is what parents have to do. It is their
job to teach wrong from right. Lately, violence in film and television has been
getting a bad reputation. Many activist groups have sprung up, demanding that
the film industry and the Hollywood executives stop making violent films. There
main claim is that the violence is bad for the children. Yet these films are for
the adults, not the children. It is the adults who are able to distinguish the
difference between what is real and what is fake. Personally, I love those
action movies that have death counts close to the hundreds. I love the feeling
of leaving the theater in awe of what I just saw. Being an adult, this is a
privilege that I have, and I want to keep that privilege. So, probably, does any
other person who likes to watch these same type of films.