Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hypocrites and Fools

I really did not want to talk about this Connecticut school shooting. We’re about to go into Christmas mode, and it strikes me as disrespectful and depressing to discuss this. BUT the left is in full exploitation mode and it’s pissing me off. So I’m going to make a few points myself.

(1) The left is despicable. This guy hadn’t even stopped shooting and they were gleefully rushing to microphones to politicize this event. Show me a single leftist who didn’t start screaming about gun control. And that’s not all. These same people who claim to care about the victims made death threats to NRA members. Vile hypocrites. Obama’s press secretary tried to connect this to tax hikes. Teachers unions have tried to turn this into demands for more money. And liberals everywhere are masturbating thinking about Obama’s meaningless speech: “Oh, it was like the Gettysburg address... for dummies.” Some of them are even trying to hide their own shame by claiming that the people politicizing this issue are the people who refuse to politicize it. All of you on the left are despicable.

(2) Liberals are to blame for this killer. Yes, I said it.
Liberals dismantled the mental health system in the 1960s. Rather than fixing it, they just turned people loose, and they left a legal system that is incapable of dealing with the mentally ill.

Liberals run Hollywood. Hollywood exploits gun violence for profit and makes it cool to solve your disputes with violence.

Liberals run the media, the same media which glorifies these killers and gives them exactly what they crave – fame. Even now, these same journalists who wring their hands about guns continue to try to outdo themselves to glorify this guy. They want to report on everything that made him tick. They want pictures of his life, to explain his motives, to understand his needs and desires. They want to get rich and famous making him important.

Liberals trade in hate. THEY have built a culture based on pitting one group against another, THEY traffic in jealousy, spite as policy, race-baiting and fear as a substitute for loyalty. THEY whined about Sarah Palin using a cross-hairs image, yet THEY talk about “enslavement” and “a war on ___” and “hostage taking” and every other violence rhetorical image you can imagine. Liberals are to blame for the hateful culture we have right now. And let me add that anecdotally, Liberals make up the majority of internet trolls. THEY are the ones who post hateful rhetoric, who make death threats on twitter, who call for the imprisonment and execution of the people they don’t like... like the Rich or Republicans or Jews.
(3) Gun Control Is Stupid and It’s An Evasion. I understand that liberals are stupid. They don’t grasp logic. But even they should understand that gun control is not an answer. This killer was in violation of dozens of laws, and not one of those laws stopped him. Adding more laws won’t help. And even if they could somehow ban guns outright, that wouldn’t have stopped him either. Timothy McVeigh didn’t use a gun, nor did the 9/11 terrorists. Nor did Andrew Kehoe, who blew up killed 45 people, including 38 children, and wounded 58 more in 1927. All those mass murderers of grade school kids in China used knives. Offering gun control as a solution is as idiotic as Weight Watchers telling dieters to ban forks from their house. It’s stupid. It won’t work, and they know that.

In this case, all the whining about gun control is an evasion. This is liberals trying to evade responsibility for the fact they are the cause of this. It is their behavior, as outlined above, which has created the angry, hateful culture which spurs these guys on.

So don’t feed me this crap about “it’s time to act.” If it was time to act, then you liberals would stop being such hateful creatures. You would stop trying to steal that which does not belong to you and you would stop trying to demonize those who disagree with you. Seriously, I hope Santa brings you all a big old bag of go f*ck yourself.

- - - - - -

In other news, I am still beating my head against the wall on the fiscal cliff stuff. Boehner proposed a millionaire tax, the same tax hike that Pelosi proposed early. This was a great move, and yet, the right is going insane. Drudge is stupidly playing up the idea that Boehner has morphed into Pelosi and talk radio is whining about Boehner being a sell out.

Lost in all of this idiocy is something key. Why are the Democrats voting against the millionaire tax? Talk radio land isn’t asking that.

According to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, the only reason Pelosi ever proposed a millionaire tax in the past was “as a political ploy” because she knew the Republicans would vote it down and then they would look like they support the rich. Naturally, that worked. And talk radio backed that to the hilt at the time.

Now talk radio is horrified that Boehner is proposing it and they are slamming him as a sell out. Yet, none of them have asked why Pelosi won’t agree to this now? Hoyer’s excuse is that it wouldn’t bring in enough revenue, but that argument makes no sense in two ways. First, if it doesn’t bring in enough revenue, then doesn’t that mean Obama lied about only taxing the rich? Funny how talk radio missed that point.

Secondly, even if it doesn’t bring in enough revenue, who don’t the Democrats who claim to hate the rich agree to it and then seek other tax hikes to get the rest? Could it be that they don’t really hate the rich after all and this is just an act. . . as I’ve been saving since forever? Could it be they know they can’t get other taxes later once people realize that someone other than millionaires will pay it?

I am no fan of Boehner, but he finally did the right thing and it exposed something massively important. Yet, conservatives have missed this point because they are too busy whining about the poor millionaires whose taxes might go up and attacking the guy who handed them a golden nugget. Wake up idiots. Maybe Santa will bring our talk radio hosts a clue?

44 comments:

Anthony said...

Andrew, I disagree with you quite a bit today.

1) Politicians and political activists as a class haven't impressed me lately, with the only exceptions being the NRA and Obama. I don't normally have much use for either but both had the human decency to recognize that the inevitable debate didn't need to start happening before the bodies were cold.

2) No, only the killer and his parents are to blame. Supposedly the nutjob killed his mother because she was taking steps to get him institutionalized and he went after the school because he felt that his mother loved it more than she loved him.

Some of the reports indicate that the mother wasn't completely sane (some sort of doomsday cultist) and stockpiling guns when living with someone you know is crazy strikes me as a monumentally bad idea, like storing gasoline and matches together. And by all reports, post-divorce the father's only involvement in his son's life was financial.

When I hear people trying to blame the heartrending tragedy on their favorite enemies, my heads hurts and I just remind myself that they mean well, its just that many have this mental condition which requires them to tie everything to the most important thing in their lives (gun control, school prayer, abortion, Hollywood, what have you).

3) We both are coming to the same conclusion, but we are coming from different directions. I think gun control is like Prohibition or the War on Drugs, seeking to curb access to a widely available, widely desired object. There's no point in it.

With all the guns floating around in America (and Latin America, the biggest supplier of contraband to the US) people who really want guns will have them no matter what the law says.

Also, for the sake of accuracy, I will point out that while China has a ton of attacks on kids, it has a lot fewer fatalities (the nutjob with the knife who attacked the same day didn't successfully kill anyone).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_(2010%E2%80%932011)

I honestly haven't paid much attention to the fiscal cliff negotiations, but I don't think the problem is cluelessness so much as ratings.

tryanmax said...

I posted this on Bev's Monday article a moment ago, but it's appropriate here, too. This just occurred to me (yes, at 4am CST). Isn't it the left that pines for a return to the 1950s every time they lament the lack of "civil" discourse? Was it not the left that advanced their agenda through decidedly uncivil discourse through most of the 1960s and beyond? Did their sympathizes in government not reward such discourse with (ironically named) "civil rights" legislation? And is not the ultimate influence of such "civil" legislation to promote belligerence in response to every imagined slight?

tryanmax said...

Anthony, if I may step in, I think you missed the rhetorical device Andrew is using, which is to hold the Left to their own standard. Take Hollywood as a (low-hanging) example. Leftists love to blame violent entertainment as a cause of real-world violence, yet they control the reins on that industry. I'm frankly at a loss for words to describe the amount of cognitive dissonance one must tolerate in order to allow that.

As to the Chinese knifings, it certainly doesn't help to have geniuses like Joy Behar giving said incidents a pass because they only cause "minor injuries." Tell that to the now deformed children missing fingers and ears, Joy. And I can't help but recall Peirs Morgan's impassioned cry, "How many more kids have to die" before we tighten gun laws? Perhaps 19 dead kids doesn't pass Peirs' threshold, but I'd sure like to ask him myself.

Anthony said...

Tryanmax,

Censorship (a hallmark of the 1950s) and civil discourse are two different things (though they can overlap at points). Political rhetoric is always ugly on matters people feel strongly about. That is human nature and I don't expect it will ever change.

As for the Civil Rights movement, government certainly played it part, but what was crucial was a change in the public consensus. Jim Crow would have lived a while longer if Goldwater had won.

The ultimate influence of Civil Rights legislation was to apply the rest of the Constitution to blacks. Before that, rights were contingent upon local whims and there was no recourse. I'll tell just one story which shows a side of a popular figure you might now know.

While Rosa Parks became famous for refusing to give up her bus seat, before that she was the NAACP's lead investigator in rape cases (a common crime back then because even post-slavery, white men simply did not go to prison for raping black women). The response she and the victims received were rarely anything that would be termed 'civil'.

You have a higher opinion of human nature than I do if you think that absolute power doesn't lead to absolute tyranny.

Tennessee Jed said...

I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to some who oppose the sale of assault weapons to the public. By this, I simply mean that there are those who honestly believe that controlling the sale of assault weapons will reduce the frequency and severity of such events. Likewise, politicians, being the despicable creatures they are, would sell their grandmothers if they thought it would help them increase their power. What bothers me is the single minded focus on gun control as the answer.

Another thing that has kind of bothered me is the media focus on this tragedy. Just as was the case with Trevon Martin, bad things to kids every day, but the focus here is 24/7. I see all these commercial prayer chains on social media. The poor families will be reminded of this every second, until public attention gets focused elsewhere. BTW, I'm not trying to judge how individuals responded. Everyone has a different way of expressing sorrow, but some of it struck me as rather insincere. The NFL with their "minute of silence." We could literally hold a minute of silence for a victim everyday, and I noticed, the NFL didn't cancel their games.

I liked Krauthammer's point about Jay Carney who claimed the proposal wasn't serious because it had no chance of passing the senate. WTF??

Anthony said...

Tryanmax,

As for Hollywood, I suspect the leftists who whine about violence in the media are different leftists than ones who generate violent media.

Anyone who calls getting stabbed or slash meaningless is an idiot, but all things being equal, guns are orders of magnitude deadlier than knives.

That truth doesn't change the fact that the optimal solution is to institutionalize the nutjobs that want to kill kids, not merely inconvenience them/make them less effective.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I'm afraid you mistake my meaning. Censorship doesn't play a part in my point, and by pointing out the leftist hypocrisy in simultaneously blaming and running Hollywood I certainly don't advocate it.

My point about the various Civil Rights Movements and Acts is that they are lionized by the left, but were the most uncivil political movements of the 20th c. Again, I'm not saying that such discourse can or even should disappear. I agree that people will always become inflamed about what they are impassioned about. I simply added it to the list of liberal hypocrisies.

I'll be frank in stating that I don't particularly appreciate the implication of your raising Jim Crow and Rosa Parks, as though I condone such things. The want of a better solution is decidedly not acceptance of the problem.

And in closing, I am frankly baffled at your closing statement. I absolutely believe that power leads to tyranny. Just look at what the Civil Rights hustlers have made of theirs!

Anthony said...

Tryanmax,

What was uncivil about the Civil Rights Movement? From where I stand one can't get much more civil than lawsuits and nonviolent protests, but perhaps you will point out something I overlooked.

I implied nothing about you. You asked what was the point of Cvil Rights legislation and I answered.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I hate to get into this kind of conversation, but you are deliberately ignoring and twisting many of the specifics of what I have said.

There was more than one stage of the Civil Rights movement, a fact I gently tried to make by referring to them in the plural. And I never asked what the point of Civil Rights Legislation was. I asked about their influence, the unintended consequences, as it were.

And for what it's worth, we are both intelligent individuals well versed in the modes of rhetoric. I understand an implication where one is placed. If you did not intend such an implication, please take more care in the future.

Anthony said...

Tryanmax,

So you use the terms 'ultimate influence' and 'unintended consequences' interchangeably? Fair enough. I'll bear that in mind and hopefully there will be fewer misunderstandings between us in the future.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I know you are trying to mock me, but in instances where the final outcome of a thing is unintended, yes, the terms become somewhat interchangeable. With appropriate foresight, however, the terms need not be interchangeable. Certainly the present state of things was not unpredicted, but those voices were unheeded as the good intentions of the legislation were deemed greater than the potential for abuse.

If further clarification is required, I included the parenthetical "as it were" to indicate that the term "unintended consequences" is perhaps not a formally exact corollary to "ultimate outcome" but, for the purposes of the present conversation, is practically useful.

Perhaps I am digging a hole, as my prior attempts at clarification have only caused further confusion. I'm afraid we've taken this thread off topic enough.

Tennessee Jed said...

let's move on

rlaWTX said...

as my uncle says "stupid with the intent to distribute may not be illegal, but it should be"

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Disagreement is fine. :)

1. I actually have been impressed with Obama as well. He has shown admirable restraint and he's not trying to push the gun control placebo, he's talking about lot more than that. BUT I can't turn on the net or the television without seeing leftists everywhere gleefully foaming at the mouth about how this is going to get them gun control.

2. The parents are directly to blame, but the things I point to are as well. You are looking at this as a single incident, I am looking at all the shooting, stabbings, people trying to become terrorists. That is the result of all these other factors. Everything contributes. And you simply can't have a culture that tells people "violence is the cool way to solve disputes" without that sinking in.

3. On China, as I wrote last year:

On May 12th, seven children were hacked to death in a kindergarten in Shaanxi. Eleven others were injured. In April, more than 50 children were injured or killed in a half dozen similar attacks. On March 23, in Fujian province, eight children were killed..

Those are very high numbers. And while they may not be 28, that doesn't invalidate my point. My point is that banning guns (even if you could) won't stop mass killings -- that's a false argument being pushed by the left. And saying "well, knife killings aren't as numerous as the worst case gun killing" misses the point. For one thing, most gun killings are in the 3-5 range as well (below the knife attack numbers in China). For another, bomb attacks are much higher in fatality level and that is what these guys will switch to -- they've shown that by most of these guys building bombs as well. So comparing this one killing to knife killings generally is logically incorrect because the supposed reason to ban guns is it will stop the killing.

4. I think you are correct that it's about ratings.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think the thing to remember about the left is that they do not approach the world in good faith. If you agree with them, then you can have discourse. If you disagree, then you are evil and they have the right to shout you down or drive you out of society.

And if you read enough leftist literature, you will see that they advocate adopting false rhetoric on things they do not believe simply to win power.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's exactly my point. Each of these things are things the left decries, but which the left is the biggest trafficer in.

1. Politicization is bad... yet they have politicized this with a vengeance.
2. Guns are bad... yet gun violence is cool in films.
3. Hate is bad... yet they spread it like it's going out of style in the media, in their rhetoric and on the net.

They smear the right over and over for the things they do themselves.

On the knife killings, I agree completely. This is an ideological issue, not a genuine issue. That's why only people killed with guns are victims to the left. Those kids killed with knives or bombs are just as dead. BUT telling the public about them hurts the cause, which is to give the impression that guns are the sole cause of evil in the world... and they are all in the US. That's also why you won't hear how the biggest mass killings have taken place in Europe... because only US guns must be seen as evil.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think you've misunderstood tryanmax's point. He's not attacking the civil rights movement. He's saying that the left has a habit of adopting words like "civil" and "peace" and throwing words like "hate" on its opponents, when the left is the one that is highly aggressive and typically uses the very tactics it decries.

It's the same way they will impose speech codes in the name of "free speech" or they claim "fairness" as a policy when their policies are in fact deeply unfair an are really spoils.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Isn't that the true. Sadly, the stupidest among us tend to be the most vehement in their opinions. I've learned over time that this is because stupidity breed certainty.

And since they are the loudest, they are the ones who tend to get noticed by politicians and the media... who are themselves largely among the ranks of the stupid.

T-Rav said...

This whole episode just proves that the Left has no grasp on reality. Neither gun control laws, nor assault weapons bans, nor anything would have stopped this from happening, and they know it. This is absolutely shameless.

The one liberal I've seen be even halfway sensible about this was, of all people, David Letterman. Monday night, he talked for a few minutes about the shooting, and said he had a few pages of statistics about gun violence but "I don't even see the point in reading them off, because everyone knows there's no one thing you can point to here as causing it." I'm sure he'll go back to shilling for Obama, but it was a nice moment of levity.

Notawonk said...

i was sent a link to a post about the inconsistencies reported, yet shown on live tv. it creeps me out and i wondered if you guys have had any similar thoughts.

i posted it today on wonk.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, As Anthony mentioned, I do need to credit Obama with showing restraint and then mentioning that this is a big picture thing with a lot of different causes that need to be addressed. I hadn't seen Letterman make a similar statement, but if he did, then I am glad.

Unfortunately, they are outliers. The vast majority of liberals/leftists have been utterly shameless in politicizing this.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I don't put any credence in that. This is classic conspiracy thinking, based on trying to find meaning in wrong information and supposedly missing links that can't be drawn. Unfortunately all events like this lead people to come up with these ideas.

Notawonk said...

i'm not a conspiracy-gal, not even close. but watching it live and seeing things with my own peepers has left me with all kinds of questions. although the media will only report that which fulfills the administration's quest to gain more power, so i shouldn't be surprised.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, The problem is NOT that the media will only report what fulfills the administration's goals. To the contrary, they are reporting everything they can find and then some.

Watching it live, you get a media feed that is trying to find significance in every "fact" they report, whether those "facts" are true or not. They don't even go back and unreport things that turn out not to be true or relevant. Basically, you get flooded with a lot of nonsense that you get told is important even though it's not and most of which is false. So when you try to piece together what happened, you get an impossible puzzle to solve because you don't have the information you need plus you are trying to process garbage that is wrong.

Then you add people trying to inject motives that satisfy themselves rather than having anything to do with reality, because conspiracy thinking is about making the conspiracy theorist feel like they are important. And these people conveniently ignore any fact or bit of reality which goes against what they want to believe.

The conspiracy theories around this are pure garbage.

K said...

Guns = Demon rum.

We already know how that turned out.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I agree. This is again false thinking, the idea that you can change a human problem by taking away an inanimate object.

tryanmax said...

I believe K just said the magic woid! *hic*

Individualist said...

Anthony

In Krav Maga we learn to defend ourselves against, fists, knives, bats and guns while unarmed. I am not an expert only 1 and a half years now but the ex navy sergeant who trained seals that teaches the class is.


According to him the number one weapon used to kill people in the US last year was the ball bat (13K murders to 9K) murders.

Of all the fights we are taught to defend against the most serious one is when someone pulls a knife. Someone using a gun may let you live if you give them money.

Someone pulling a knife intends to kill you and the deadliest and most severe wound that you can endure is a knife wound. Bullets penetrate but are in and out and survivable if hit once. Being stabbed with a knife can do much more damage to internal organs as it goes in and out and can be twisted. Even grazing knife wounds of the hit the right area of the neck, face or arms can cause you to bleed out and die without medical attention.

Quite frankly the knife is a more dangerous weapon than a gun because it is the most likely to kill with one single attack. The guns only advantage is range but within 21 ' the knife wielder wins.

Individualist said...

Anthony

If you think there was no incivility in the civil rights movement I suggest this as an example:

The Ballot or the bullet

Today's progressive likes to forget about Malcolm because he sided with the right on many conservative issues such as opposition to state controlled welfare and the 2nd amendment. He also stood up to Farrakhan's mentor Elijah Mohammed and was killed by the Nation of Islam for it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Let me give you an example of how this works. First, you need to realize that humans are horrible eye witnesses. Secondly, humans are horrible at connecting dots that can't be connected.

Here's what happens.

A lone gunman walks into a bank. He is wearing a red shirt and carrying a black gun.

Witness one reports that he saw one gunman wearing a red shirt.

Witness two reports that he saw one gunman wearing a yellowish orange shirt.

Witness three thinks the gunman wore a green shirt and doesn't know what color the gun was, but it could have been black or silver.

The media reports each statement in real time and treats them all as true. So they report that three gunmen robbed the bank.

The police say it was only one. People realize the red shirt and the orange shirt are probably the same guy. But who is the mystery man in green with the silver gun (notice the silver gun now becomes a fact).

At this point, other witnesses will start to report seeing two gunmen... red shirt/green shirt - silver gun.

Meanwhile, another witness will recall seeing someone outside the bank waiting in their car. This was true, but it happened 10 minutes earlier and that person left once their wife exited the bank. BUT now the media adds a getaway driver.

It turns out that one of the people in the bank at the time works for a company that is one of 10,000 currently under investigation by the Justice Department for something or works for the military or for a secret defense contractor.

The police report that one man robbed the bank, his motive was getting cash. They say there was no man in the green shirt and no getaway drive.

BUT a small group of people don't want to believe this because they are prone to conspiracy thinking and they decide this report doesn't fit with the thing they think they KNOW... all of which are false. So they assume there must be cover up because why else would the police lie? So they look for a motive and they discover the company under investigation/soldier/contractor and they run with it. It doesn't have to make sense either because they convince themselves that they only know a tiny piece of the conspiracy, so their theory doesn't need to work... they are on the right track and that is all that matters.

That is how these things start.

Individualist said...

Andrew

We all know what happens to the guys wearing the red shirts don't we...... wait this isn't the Star Trek posts..... Nevermind

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, LOL! Nicely played! :)

Anthony said...

Tryanmax,

Fair enough. I apologize and stand corrected.

Anthony said...

Andrew said:

2. The parents are directly to blame, but the things I point to are as well. You are looking at this as a single incident, I am looking at all the shooting, stabbings, people trying to become terrorists. That is the result of all these other factors. Everything contributes. And you simply can't have a culture that tells people "violence is the cool way to solve disputes" without that sinking in.
--------
I don't think that is necessarily the message the culture sends. Action is more interesting (for many of us) than talking (I'd rather watch a Ecks vs Sever than Sleepless in Seattle) but for sane, grounded people its just entertainment.

The sorts of nutjobs who get influenced by movies are the sorts of people who could go off at the drop of a hat ('What Fido, you want I should kill everyone? You're the boss!).

Most action movies tend to have a simple good and evil dynamic in which good people violently resist an evil which is violently attacking them.

The heroes aren't guys who get snubbed at the prom and then go back murder everyone, they are guys who are fighting off terrorists, alien invaders, drug lords or some combo of the aforementioned (nods towards 'I Come in Peace').

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, In a general sense, I don't disagree with you. BUT I do disagree for two reasons in the current instance.

1. I think that Hollywood no longer sends the clear good v. evil dynamic. I think a ton of today's good guys are essentially evil guys who just say good things. And too often the bad guys are presented as the cool guys.

2. I think the real problem is the saturation of the violence. A couple violent films is no big deal. But when every single film known to mankind includes a gun and more than half of what's in theaters today involves violent solutions being presented as acceptable solutions, I think the message does take hold with less well-grounded people that violence is acceptable. And I'm not even talking about the crazies. I'm talking about people who just lack a strong foundation upon which to make decision.

I can point to several instances where Hollywood has implanted ideas in the culture. For example, LA Law packed the law schools. ER packed the Med schools. Wall Street sent an entire generation into finance. And when you see some killer do something cool with a gun in a film and then you see it repeated on the streets a few weeks later, I take all of that to mean that it is very possible to sway people into engaging in behaviors that appear positive to them on film.

And when sooooo much that comes out of Hollywood involves "kill to solve your problems", I think this makes people more prone to see violence as a solution.


AndrewPrice said...

P.S. That said... I think the bigger blame lies with the media than with Hollywood. The media is out there giving these people fame and turning them into heroes. The media is what gives these guys exactly what they need -- the ability to become somebody important.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, water under the bridge, and I hope I didn't cause offense myself.

tryanmax said...

RE: Hollywood. I've always felt somewhat dissatisfied with the whole kill-the-villain mode of resolution. Maybe I'm a more vindictive individual, but I'd like to see them live but be made to suffer for the rest of their life. At least they could go to jail or into hiding. On the other hand, MIB 3 offered a very good reason for killing the villain, in which case, I am satisfied.

AndrewPrice said...

While you raise the point, I want to point out something that I find rather disturbing... the hero who doesn't shoot the villain until he is "forced to" after the hero subdues him and turns his back and the villain grabs a gun.

I really see that as ultra hypocritical. That's a writer who wanted to have the hero kill the villain and knows he will be criticized for it, so he creates a fake setup to let that happen. But the audience knows this is so totally fake that know the message is that the hero should have just killed the villain except he had to pay lip service to being a hero. That's really cynical to me.

Anthony said...

Andrew,

1) What movies are you thinking of?

2) There is a lot of violence in movies, but its normally moral and defensive. Action movies don't glorify the killing of innocents. Traditionally most of them have a scene which shows just how morally bankrupt the villian is. The scenes aren't framed as cool, they are framed as repulsive, showing that the often charismatic, clever villian is really just a monster wearing a pretty shell.

I agree that Hollywood shapes opinions, but where people stop is very contingent on where they start. A normal guy trying to pick a major watches some hospital drama, maybe he decides to become a doctor, but a gangster movie wouldn't inspire him to become a gangster because he doesn't want to hurt people for a living.

As for media coverage of spree killers, it tends not to be flattering (the guy was a bitter loser who struck out at the world). Being nutty enough to kill people in hopes of getting posthumous coverage is the end of the crazy path, but I think the path itself is composed of other elements.

The latest shooter doesn't seem to be a fame seeker, he seems to be a guy who lived mostly inside his head, then one day crawled out and started murdering people.

Anthony said...

As for the tired trope of heroes killing villians only after they are forced to, I don't see moral implications, I just think its silly, lazy plot device which happens only because everyone else does it.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think you and I are looking at this from a different perspective. Let me see if this helps:

Action movies don't glorify the killing of innocents

First, it's not the killing of innocents that matters. It's the idea that killing/violence is an acceptable way to solve a problem. And these films are typically premised on the idea that the villain is strong and powerful and gets what he wants because he's violent. Nobody can stop him unless a larger than life hero comes along. The message is: violence makes you powerful. Further, lots of action films include scenes where the hero (Schwarzenegger films were prone to this) uses violence against someone who was just rude but is in no way a threat -- it's usually a moment of levity. The message: violence is ok if you don't like the other guy.

Further, action films aren't the worst offenders. Every genre uses violence and outside of action films, the morality becomes really hazy. Also, don't forget that there are huge action films like the Dark Knight which are very morally ambiguous which often become the films which inspire these people.

where people stop is very contingent on where they start

But that misses the point... well-adjusted people aren't the problem. The problem is the less well-adjusted who aren't so sure how to live their lives and are looking for guidance. I cited the examples of Wall Street and LA Law as examples of how Hollywood can sway well-adjusted people. If it has that power, then its power to sway the not-well adjusted must be considered even stronger, and they are the ones who become the problem.

(continued)

AndrewPrice said...

A normal guy trying to pick a major... a gangster movie wouldn't inspire him to become a gangster because he doesn't want to hurt people for a living.

But again, we're not worried about the normal guy who knows that being a gangster is not a valid path. What we're talking about are (1) people who are already borderline in the criminal world, who are being "taught" that the greater their level of violence the cooler and more respected they will be, and (2) people who simply are lost in life and are looking for ways to get the things they think life has denied them... this could be crazies, frustrated boyfriends, etc. The point isn't that you or I will see a film and go join the mob, it's that people on the edge are being hit with a steady stream of messages that violence will get them what they cannot get any other way -- respect.

a gangster movie

Again, I am not talking about any particular film. I think that's the flaw in how people are looking at this. It's not the one film that matters, it's the near constant barrage of films that send the same message that violence will solve your problems and make you cool. And again, it's not even just action films -- you see the same message in film after film in every genre from comedy to scifi to action to drama.

As for media coverage of spree killers, it tends not to be flattering

I think you are underestimating the need people have for attention. LOTS of people just need attention, whether it's for the right things or the wrong things. And lots of people actually get off on hurting people -- look at internet trolls. It makes them feel powerful. So the media being nasty to the guy doesn't matter, just so long as they talk about him... then he's happy. And the way the media foams at the mouth about reporting everything about the guy is exactly what these people crave.

latest shooter doesn't seem to be a fame seeker

People are complex and I would never say that there is one solution or one clear motive for everyone. But attention seeking is typically a motive with these guys -- along with revenge against the people who made them feel small.

I just think its silly, lazy plot device

That's true, but it doesn't change the message that violence is the real solution, you just need to pay lip service to morality.

Kit said...

So, what do you think would be a better balance.

I know you don't want the TNG-style ending where the hero gives a Patrick Stewart speech about morality and yada-yada causing the bad guy to become a good-guy.
Maybe something like the Greek play Antigone where (MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!!) King Creon is taken away a broken man?

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re: the silly, lazy plot device

If you are the hero then you should never, EVER turn your back on the villain.

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"Wall Street sent an entire generation into finance."

Which is kinda ironic, when you think about it.

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