Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's The Left's Fault

A few thoughts about this Oregon shooter. I blame the left.

This Is Important: There is no single type of shooter. This is important because the left and the MSM hide behind the different types like a shell game to evade responsibility for what they’ve done. I’ll deal with this point more in a moment. For now, let me identify the types that I see.
(1) The forgotten loser. This type is typically sexually incompetent and a failure at life economically. They seek a body count to make them important.

(2) The revenge killer. There is the personal revenge killer who seeks to kill people he knows who have offended him. Again, sexual inadequacy is a key.

(3) The grievance killer. These are people who are generally economic losers and have bought into the left’s grievance view of the world. Hence, they seek to kill large numbers of the people they believe oppress them. Every one of these has bought into leftist ideas about grievance.

(4) The looney tunes. These are guys like Hinckley who are simply insane. They hear voices.

(5) The sickos. This is guys like Manson, Bundy and Dahmer. These guys get off on killing.
I Blame The Left: Yeah, I blame the left for the vast majority of shooters. Here’s why.

The main advertising strategy the left has employed since the age of Marx to the present is the creation of conflict. The left attracts voters by telling people that they are oppressed by someone else and that they need the left to help them settle the score. This generates hate. It puts people at each other’s throats, and makes them feel that their own failures are the result of some vast conspiracy to keep them down: the rich keep down the poor, whites keep down blacks, men keep down women, and so on. The result is that society loses its cohesion and fills with hateful people who advocate all kinds of nastiness in the name of getting revenge against their enemies. Not only does this spur on killers in the third category above, but it wipes out the institutions (mental institution) that tend to suppress the fourth category and the support network (church, families) that keep the first category from becoming lost and seeing murder as a way to solve their problems.

I also blame the left for creating an atmosphere of violence. On the one hand, by framing the world in terms of armed struggle, they promote the idea that violence is a political tool... because for the left it has been for a long time. At the same time, the left dominates entertainment and they use things like gun violence to sell movies, and in so doing, they promote gun violence as a “cool” means of solving problems. Ditto on rap music. This won't affect well-adjusted people but shooters are never well-adjusted, they are weak-minded people living on the fringes. Hence, this encourages the first and second categories. They also turn sickos into celebrities... the sicker the better. Even outside of Hollywood, the left runs the media and their mantra is “if it bleeds, it leads” which again turns sickos into stars. Hence, anyone can become famous just by spilling blood. This encourages the first category.

Really, the only people the left doesn’t encourage is the true sickos, who are simply born defective.

How The Left Avoids Responsibility: The left avoids responsibility for the carnage it’s caused by playing a shell game with killers. Let me give you an example by talking about an article from the AP. In this article, the reporter noted that many law enforcement agencies are now refusing to release the names of shooters so as not to give them the notoriety they seek. They even noted that the FBI endorses this. But that would lay the blame on the MSM, so the AP counterattacked throughout the article.

First, they noted that there are killers who aren’t motivated by publicity, hence, they claimed this strategy won’t work. That's bunk. This is an evasion: this solution won’t solve the entire problem, so we shouldn’t do it. How does that make sense?

Then the author warps the argument and says the police are trying to stop copycat killers because some study found that copycats were more likely within 13 weeks. This argument is then dismissed by saying there have been no school-shooter copycats on record. But this isn’t the point at all. The point is to stop an entire category of killers: those seeking notoriety, which appears to be most of them these days. Also, there is an obvious copycat shooter that the author (intentionally) ignores: the theater shooters. In China, you had a series of knife-wielding copycat killers at grade schools. Guys like the Oregon shooter also are clearly copycats because he was obsessed with Sandyhook documentaries and he specifically spoke about the Virginia Tech shooter online. And isn't it interesting how often Hollywood or TV land needs to hold off on some film or television show because what they do is exactly what some killer just did. The author ignores all of this.

Then the author argues that without releasing the name, it would become harder to understand these killers. But how does that make sense? Doctors always study patients without names. The name is the most meaningless of data points. The author even quotes some professor who actually whined that it would be harder for him to study these people if the name is withheld. Gee, so making it easy to do your job is more important than saving lives, huh?

Then get this. The author notes that “media organizations... reason[] that the name is the key detail that helps unravel and answer broader questions about the killer’s motivations and hold the government accountable. Only with a name can the public know, for example, whether a killer shouldn't have been able to buy a gun or if authorities missed red flags." Bull.

The name is irrelevant to the motivation and motivation can be examined without releasing the name. It is also irrelevant to “holding the government accountable,” whatever that means. Knowing whether the killer got the gun legally or whether the authorities missed red flags can all be done without revealing the name of the killer. Not to mention, none of these guys ever buy their guns illegally, so this is a red herring. As for missing flags, that’s just a game of gotcha at this point, where the same media who attacks people then quickly changes sides and argues against any changes that might actually impose responsibility. Moreover, I have yet to see a genuine analysis of what “the authorities” should have done in any of these instances other than wish guns away.

Finally, like all leftists, the author offers static thinking: It’s impossible to know if withholding the names would have prevented any of these killings, ergo it would not have helped. This is how the left evades things they don't like. If they don’t like a thing, then we have no way to know if it would have worked because no one has tried it, so we should not try it. That's a tautology and an evasion. But if they like a thing, then they accept every benefit anyone suggests as guaranteed to have been true if only we had done what they wanted. This is myth as fact, not genuine argument.

So just keep dying folks because it's too risky to change anything except the one thing that won't change anything... gun control.

Nothing New: Finally, despite all the media coverage of these guys, it should be noted that the number of mass shootings has been going down decade after decade, that the world is safer, and that anyone’s chance of dying from something like this is infinitesimally small. You are more likely to die from diarrhea.



Kit said...

I hold to the idea that we should call all mass shooters, "Douchebag" or "John Douche."

Anthony said...

The media covers violence because it is profit/attention oriented and that is what people respond to. Doesn't matter if it a conservative or a liberal website, the latest shooting has almost continually at the top of everyone's webpages since it happened.

From where I stand both the left and the right push victimization and embrace violence as a tool to solve certain problems (the second position strikes me as reasonable).

Declining the release the name of the killer strikes me as an idea worth trying, though I doubt it will matter. Tons of coverage with or without a name attached will probably inspire likeminded nutjobs.

I agree gun control works about as well as Prohibition.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I'm going to disagree in one specific aspect with your point on victimization. Yes, the "right" and the left both push victimization, but for the right that is something new. Until the 1990s, the right did not do this. Then the religious right (which is really the religious left and doesn't realize it) came along and they did it because they want to see themselves as persecuted. Their version though was largely about isolating themselves from Soddomerica rather than lashing out and getting even with the rest of us, so it wasn't particularly angry. Then the genuoooine conservatives came along and they are all about victimization. But they aren't ideologically conservative; they are essentially populist fringe who drifted to the right to get away from the left's embrace of minorities. So I don't see this as a conservative issue.

In terms of withholding the name, I think people would be surprised how many killers it will stop. I would guess that half these guys are after the notoriety and will need to find other outlets to make themselves feel important. What that is is the question.

In terms of the media covering it, they will indeed cover it. But they can do so without releasing the names. They've shown they can do that with rape victims and children, so why not with mass killers too?

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, While I would love for them to call these guys "douche" because that would really cut right into their egos, I doubt the media will do that.

I think you need to given them sterile, unflattering names if possible. I would avoid words made "cool" by television like "shooter" and "killer" and "gunman." Those sound tough, as evidenced by their use in films and video games as cool descriptions of their bad guys (or good guys). I would call them something like "Oregon Suspect" or "Virginia Suspect."

Other things that should be done if we were responsible, by the way, is to dramatically reduce the level of violence coming out of films and games (cartoon it up or cut it out), allow the mental health system more power to keep dangerous people on medication and to take away their weapons, give families more power to have their members checked out, and to dramatically reduce the level of victimhood in this country. But you can forget all of that. So never mind.

AndrewPrice said...

OT: BTW, there's a headline at Huffpo: "Black Lives Matters Holds Peaceful Protest at Twin Cities Marathon."

Two thoughts...

1. How sad is it that they felt the need to throw in the world "peaceful." You know you have problems when the fact that you acted peacefully is news. "Mafia Holds Picnic... No One Dies!"

2. The Twin Cities Marathon? What the heck?! How many blacks has the marathon killed? Or is the marathon full of murderers? Or is this just a publicity stunt for a cause that can't find enough blacks killed by whites to justify its own existence?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, on your point about reducing violence by either cutting out or cartooning it, I can't help but recall the efforts in the 90s to sanitize Looney Tunes (both of violence and un-PC things) and blame every act of childish acting out on Tom and Jerry.

At the same time they were busy cutting out the obviously absurd--even to a child--animated slapstick, they were replacing it with far more realistic violence in kids' shows. Animated cartoons shifted to things like Ninja Turtles which, despite depicting fantastic characters, had them engaging in realistic forms of combat. At the same time, there was a rise of shows like Power Rangers which relied heavily on special effects, but had human actors partaking in violence. There was also a marked diminishment of shows like Scooby Doo and He-Man--wherein the fantasy violence was usually limited to a well-timed kick in the pants.

tryanmax said...

The question is fast becoming, what won't Black Lives Matter protest?

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts about this Oregon shooter. I blame the left.
I never looked at it like that before. This was simply a great column.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I remember that and it drove me nuts. A cartoon cat smacking a cartoon mouse with a frying pan is not going to teach kids to go shoot up a liquor store. I was also amazed at the hypocrisy though. Somehow things like smoking on film was bad because it would make people want to smoke, yet somehow Hollywood disclaims any guilt for promoting violence. Hmm.

In any event, what I find shocking is how violent Hollywood has become. When I wrote the film book and I was looking to write the section on guns, I was shocked to realize that almost every film uses guns at some point. Even comedies are packed with guns these days. Then, the more I thought about it, I realized that violence has become almost the only solution Hollywood uses these days. And cartoons have become just as bad. Hollywood really does sell violence as the one and only solution.

When I think back on the shows I liked as a kid, you had obvious "cartoon" violence in Looney Toons and then non-violent stories in Scooby Doo and the Flintstones and the such. Today, almost everything is violence. And as you note, it's much more realistic violence in cartoon today. It's no longer whip out a howitzer and shoot someone point blank blowing their face backwards and turning it black, now it's realistic martial arts and genuine bullets with wounds.

I find this all a little troubling. Hollywood has largely decided to start selling violence.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks GypsyTyger! :)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, one of the lies Hollywood tells itself so that it can sleep more soundly on piles of money is that, by not cartooning violence, they are showing the "consequences" of violence. Instead, the consequence they generally show is that violence gets you your way.

I particularly marvel at how the entire marketing for a lot of action movies these days is "watch Bicep Sixpack beat people up for two hours." These are movies with only the barest suggestion of character or motive. We're a long ways from the days of John McClane, Riggs & Murtaugh, or even Snake Plissken.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Very true. The message is always "violence solves your problems and is the only way to do that" these days. In fact, it many cases, it's not even just violence, it's violence with a level of sadism in it. Why just stop someone when you can kill them, and why just kill them when you can kill them gruesomely. Of course, the hero always laments that they acted they way they did for a few seconds, but hey, they're the hero so it's all cool, right?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of film violence. But I don't want it ALL the time. And what Hollywood sells today is of a different nature than what I grew up with, and Hollywood is full of crap if they claim they aren't selling extreme violence like a drug.

Kit said...

During the abysmally pretentious documentary This Movie Is Not Yet Rated one filmmaker stated that movies like Saving Private Ryan should be rated G because it shows the "consequences of violence" while movies like James Bond films should be rated R or NC-17.

There is a reason why, at the end of the documentary, I was more supportive of the MPAA and it's rating system, even if there is an inlaid bias towards studio films and the said rating system is riddled with flaws.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I think that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what people are trying to achieve with the rating system. Even if I accept that showing the consequence of violence is a mitigating factor, I still don't want my kids exposed to that. They are quite happy to know little of genuine violence and the longer they can grow up that way the better.

And let me throw this question back at this documentary... what would be the point to showing my kids that level of violence in the first place? Why would I want to show them that level of violence? What exactly would that add to their lives?

This is just a self-serving justification for allowing something the commenter likes.

ScottDS said...

The great thing about John McClane which you probably wouldn't get nowadays is that he spends all his energy in the first act trying to AVOID violence and only starts shooting when provoked. (I have my own issues with the MPAA but that's another story.)

Having said that, I know I'm late to the party and I pretty much agree with everything Anthony said in the second comment above. The right likes to play the victimization card just as much as the left, though I grant you it's a more recent development.

And the axiom "If it bleeds, it leads" is a perfectly bipartisan one. If the roles were reversed and America were dominated by a "conservative media," I doubt it'd be all peachy.

And of course, the big question is... what's next?

ScottDS said...

P.S. Is there anything that is the fault of the right? (He asked, rhetorically.) :-)

BevfromNYC said...

The problem is that we are all looking for that one easy and quick solution to the problem of gun violence in this country. It sounds so easy to say...if only we didn't have guns, then there would be no more violence. But that kind of simple is for the activists and politicians to sloganize and sound-bite with.

I love all the politicians jumping on this. Cory Booker tweeted (because that is the new medium of communication for Congress/Presidents etc. these days...) that:
Booker - "As mayor, almost all Nwks shootings were done by people obtaining guns illegally - we must clamp down on loopholes."

Someone responded "You know....that loophole about buying guns on the street from criminals. We gotta make that illegal or something."

and Jim Treacher chimed in There oughta be a law against breaking the law!

The problem of gun violence actually ALL violence is complicated, and idiots like Booker don't help. Well, idiots like Obama don't help either. Actually I have found that there are really no politicians who are actually helping at all in anything these days. They all want the soundbite, but no one wants to do the hard work because it might not be very popular...mental health treatment reform, gun-buying waiting periods, and mandatory gun safety classes. The common thread in all of these incidences is someone with an untreated/undertreated mental health issue.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, First, I don't think a conservative media would be as wild as the liberal media likes to be because conservatives tend to be much more respectful of individuals. They don't see tragedy as exploitable opportunity as liberals do, and they don't dismiss their own misdeeds as easily as liberals do. Also, the idea that "everybody does it" is an evasive argument that tries to deflect from the current issue without responding to it. I don't accept it from my kids ("the other one does it do") and we should not accept it in politics.

In terms of both being into victimization, that is a very recent thing on the right and it comes from people who were happily on the left until the Democrats elected Obama.

And of course there are things that are the fault of "the right." I've outlined those here many times. But this is entirely an issue of the left. Their fingerprints are all over this. They and they alone are the ones who can change all the things that trigger this. But they won't because they always disclaim blame. So trying to say "everybody is to blame" is both false and evasive. This one lies on the left.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, In terms of "what's next," the answer is sadly, "same old... same old." Nothing will change because the left won't change its ways and the right has nothing it needs to change.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, This => The problem is that we are all looking for that one easy and quick solution to the problem of gun violence in this country.

Is really the problem. And it's intentional. That's my point in analyzing that article. In an attempt to avoid the police solution of denying these killers notoriety, the reporter tries to discredit that argument by arguing that all these killers must have ONE magic motivation that we only need to find and cure, and since denying them publicity wouldn't stop all of them, then this is clearly cannot be the solution! Ergo we should not do it and we should not blame the MSM for exploiting this for their own benefit.

Then you get other leftists like Obama and Booker who use this to push their anti-gun agenda, even though they can't point to any single one of these guys who would have been stopped with gun control (other than a magic gun disappearance) and at the same time they are defending their allies in the MSM and Hollywood from examination.

Basically, it strikes me as objectively true that they don't want to solve this problem of random killers... they want to use this for their own purposes. It's a disgusting display.

BTW, have you noticed the irony that the same people who are creating the mentality of victimization that sparks so many of these killers respond to these shooting by jacking up the victimization?

BevfromNYC said...

P.S. Is there anything that is the fault of the right? (He asked, rhetorically.) :-)

Actually, Scott, most of our problems right now come from the wings of both ends of the spectrum in general.

Far Leftist----Liberal---------Center---------Conservative----Far Right

The 80% of the middle to centrist portion of the political spectrum don't differ that much on issues and can reach a compromise fairly easily...if only we didn't have political wingnuts running our government and the media. But the very vocal wings feed off of each other and respond in kind.

It is true "what bleeds leads" but in defense of the Right we have always known that the Obama et al. "started this" with the words immortalized by Rahm Emanuel "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”". So that has grown into - if they don't have a "crisis" make one up...and if they have a crisis they don't like, the blame others for making a it a crisis.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Scott, Let me throw this out there for you or anyone else...

What can the right do to end this?

The left can...

1. Reduce the violence in Hollywood films.
2. Reduce the violence in video games.
3. Reduce the violence in comic books.
4. Stop trying to separate people by race/religion/gender.
5. Stop diminishing the role of churches.
6. Stop handicapping the mental health professionals.
7. Stop handicapping the cops.
8. Stop handicapping schools in their handling of dangerous students.
9. Stop pushing the idea that kids don't need stable homes with both a mother and a father.
10. Stop making it impossible for courts to take more extreme action against minors with extensive violent records.
11. Stop exploiting these events for political reasons and making these guys famous.

So what can the right do?

The only answer I ever hear is guns, but if your argument is guns, I would point out that (1) it's impossible to rid the world of guns, (2) by banning good guys from having guns, they make them easy targets for these guys, (3) guys like Timothy McVeigh show what happens when they use something other than guns, and (4) the majority on the left oppose gun control too.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - The issue that the Right tends to go after in these issues is the way some information is left out by those who want to exploit it - in this instance in particular they are questioning why the President and the media hardly mentioned that this gunman specifically targeted Christians and is allegedly of mixed race, but called a "white supremacist". Which are both valid points.

In short, it seems that liberals exploit the crisis and conservatives respond to the exploitation....and no one responds to the real problems.

Anthony said...


I agree the right didn't start playing the victim card until the 1990s, but its also worth noting that Congress was not in play until the 1990s. Victimization is a huge part of the political appeal of both modern parties.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That is the problem with the right right now. The ones who do all the talking have ceased having a functioning ideology and have become a reflex to the Democrats. That's where the idea of victimization on the right has come from and that's what's allowed floater populists to masquerade as genuine "conservatives." Basically, they just whine about the asinine things Obama does.

I can't help but think that Reagan and Buckley and those actual conservatives were much smarter about this and much, much more interested in actual solutions.

And btw, the people I know in the non-political public aren't even looking to Washington for answers on this. They know Washington is just playing games.

Kit said...

"And let me throw this question back at this documentary... what would be the point to showing my kids that level of violence in the first place? Why would I want to show them that level of violence? What exactly would that add to their lives?"

They would know that war is bad… mmkay?

And they would be less likely to support our evil, militaristic country.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That is true, but it has to do with politics becoming polarized and a change in the types of people who engage in politics because of that. That said, you still won't see most Congressmen engage in this stuff. It's still mainly a talk radio/radical right issue.

So to sum up my thoughts, let me put it this way: the current far right does engage in victimization, but they have only begin recently (unlike the left), and many of those who are doing it were on the left until 2008. Moreover, they are not as openly hostile about it. You don't see rallies on the right chanting "death to the cops," you don't get right-wing academics suggesting that violence is justified to set things right, and you don't get an army of right-wingers trying to use each tragedy as a means to change laws to favor whites or advance a right-wing agenda.

You also don't have right wingers backing all of this up in movies, television, books and video games. And you don't have an army of right-wing journalists inventing things like the fake rape epidemic or "black privilege" or the fake wave of supposed racist cop killings.

In other words, there are some lousy people on the right, but their ideology is essentially stupid and bigoted, but the right does not have a machine to brainwash people into living in a fantasy world of false threats that require them to be hostile to people of other races, religions and genders.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's about the only reason I can see that could even be offered and that is a crappy one at that. Especially as kids don't make decisions about war, there is plenty of time for the to learn the ins and outs later, and ironically, kids seem to already know that war is bad.

Anthony said...

Andrew and Tryanmax,

I strongly disagree about pop culture getting more violent. There is a tremendous range of content on offer. For example, popular slapstick kids' cartoons include The Amazing World of Gumball, Star vs The Forces of Evil and SpongeBob Squarepants.

Its also worth noting that there is a negative correlation between how dark and violent a cartoon is and how long it lasts/how much kids like it. Those older skewing cartoons are kind of like comic books in that the targets are dudes in their 30s and 40s rather than kids, which is why most run two seasons and then are done.

DCAU has gone the dark route and that is why stuff like Justice League and Young Justice did not stay on the air any amount of time and why nowadays their animation unit tends to just release straight to dvd movies. By way of contrast, Marvel keeps it much lighter and more jokey, and its has had a lot more success in the tv arena (nods towards Ultimate Spiderman, The Avengers and The Hulk).

As for rap music, like every other form of pop culture, it is a wideranging thing. Rap used to be dangerous, militant and scary for the establishment, but it has been successfully co-opted.

While once a rapper doing the soundtrack of a kid's movie made one the subject of fun, now everybody does it, while once a rapper working with a bubblegum pop star would have been unthinkable, now everyone does it. The top rappers star in tv commercials, sell luxury products, appear in movies and hang out with the rest of the pop culture elite. Its exactly the same process rock and roll music went through.

In order to properly horrify us adults, kids are going to have to come up with someone new :) .

BevfromNYC said...

They would know that war is bad… mmkay?

And they would be less likely to support our evil, militaristic country.

I call BS on that one. We used to get that playing "cops and robbers", and working these issues out on the playground with the "violence" tempered to what was appropriate for children. And we used to be able to play with capguns. water pistols, and even finger-guns where btw, we were taught about "gun safety" and to never point a real gun at anyone because that was a bad thing thing to do...

it was much easier for parents/guardians to protect their children from graphic images because the media and the general public agreed to do this. Now we agree that there should be no limits to what children should view. That's not healthy.

Of course that that we could play with cap guns, water pistols, and finger-guns, was also a ime when children actually learned to read and write and do 'rithmatic in school too because for the most part they weren't constantly agitated by social media...but I digress.

Anthony said...

Tryanmax said:

I particularly marvel at how the entire marketing for a lot of action movies these days is "watch Bicep Sixpack beat people up for two hours." These are movies with only the barest suggestion of character or motive. We're a long ways from the days of John McClane, Riggs & Murtaugh, or even Snake Plissken.

You must be watching different movies than me. From where I stand, muscleheads and martial artists can't open movies like they did in the 80s and 90s.

Nowadays the only two guys that seem like they can successful star in movies with a lot of action and a minimal CG budget are Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington (both legit actors). Their movies spend at least as much effort on motive and plot as the action movies of old. Nowadays the muscleheads have to all get together (nods towards the Expendables) in order to draw a decent crowd. Show me a movie about a martial artist who decides to clean up his neighborhood or a cop who decides to take down the mob and if it doesn't star one of the two guys I named and was released in the past decade it probably flopped.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Let me clarify. I'm sorry if I'm not clear today, but I'm kind of doing 10 things at once...

Here's what bothers me with the changes in cartoons and Hollywood.

When I grew up, there were action films and everything else. The everything else ranged from comedies to rom-coms to dramas to science fiction. In the action films, you knew violence would be the solution, but the heroes struggled against needing to use violence until it was clear there was no choice. In the other films, violence was rarely used or, if it was, it was a pie in the face kind of violence like in Animal House.

But something has changed today and a huge percentage of films, now in all genres, use violence as the solution to their problems. What's more, almost every film uses a gun at some point. It really has become the solution/tool Hollywood uses overwhelmingly. What's more, heroes no longer struggle against the use of violence. Instead, they tend to be slackers or just reluctant to get involved, but once they do, violence quickly becomes the only solution they consider and they seem to engage in it gleefully.

In terms of cartoons, even things like Marvel (which I enjoy) use fist fights that result in wounds and blood and sometimes broken bones, they fire realistic bullets, and they engage in realistic destruction of buildings. This almost never happened in the past. In fact, when Jonny Quest did it, people complained. In the 1980s, the most violent cartoons were things like He-Man which used a couple sword strokes and the bad guy ran away (ditto Thundar) or something like G.I. Joe which used laser bolts. There was almost never any blood or wounds. The main violence you saw was things like Looney Toons where, where the violence used ridiculous cartoon physics to make it unreal.

To me, that is the difference.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Let me add this...

There is an interesting way I've run across to mark how violence has changed. In the 1980s, when Predator came to television, they entirely cut out the scene where Arnold finds the prior special forces team skinned and hanging in the tree. The whole scene was gone.

By the 1990s, the scene was back, but they only showed a little blood dripping on someone's shoulder (I think it was Bill Dukes) and then Arnold's team talking.

By the late 2000s, they showed flashes of the bodies in the trees.

Last year, on AMC, they showed the whole scene uncut, even with a long pan of the skinned bodies and then pulling down one of the bodies.

The commercials they show for upcoming movies have also become very gory these days.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Isn't it interesting that the same people who think kids should get to see gun fights on film don't want them owning toy guns in real life. How does that work?

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, There are still muscle heads like The Rock and Vin Diesel. But the "action movie" is pretty much dead because so many other films have morphed into action films. Comic book movies in particular have replaced the action film. But also look at all the heist film with Jason Statham or sci-fi films that are total bloodbaths like Edge of Tomorrow. Most of these films have become brutally violent.

Anthony said...


Keep in mind when I am talking Marvel, I am talking their tv cartoons, not their movies. I agree that their movies are pretty violent (though the really, really violent stuff such as the Punisher movies tends to fare poorly at the box office), but they aren't really aimed at kids in the same way their tv shows are.

Ultimate Spiderman, Hulk and the Agents of Smash and even Avengers Assemble (by far the least jokey of the lot) are all quite a bit lighter than their non-cartoon counterparts. Haven't seen the new Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon yet.

As for showing of The Predator getting more explicit, does that reflect a changing culture or just the fact cable channels don't have to worry about FTC fines to the same extent broadcast networks do?

Koshcat said...

What I hate about the media is how they blow up one story and ignore others just as worrisome. Doing a little googling today, I found that over the weekend in Chicago there was 1 death and 11 seriously wounded by gun violence. One weekend; one metro. The media reports these so much they have become numb to the violence but then go apeshit over this coward in Oregon where the 9 deaths compared to the country are a statistical blip.

"Coward" should be the term for these shooters. They attack innocent, unarmed students but aren't man enough to even stand up to their own mother.

Before we get too nostalgic, serial killers have always been around and they always prey on the weak and/or naïve. What he did was no different than strangling college girls or murdering prostitutes over several years. They know it is wrong or they wouldn't go to so much trouble either not getting caught or fighting off police. They cannot be treated to a point where it is safe for them to go back into society. Passion killing can probably be treated as their targets are generally very focused. These killers cannot and is truly what the death penalty is for; not to deter but to remove the monsters.

The handling of the death penalty is where the left also gets more blame. Show me another person who deserved the death penalty more than the Aurora movie coward. The right gets a little to blame since it is used too often in turf war and passion killings but there is too much concern that you might execute the wrong person.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I'm not saying pop culture is more violent than ever before. I'm saying it's packaged differently, or more to the point, packaged less. It used to be more dressed up with colorful characters and fantastic scenarios. I'm talking movies and cartoons. Then it got decided that stuff in general (Spongebob and Marvel notwithstanding) needed to be more realistic. That shifted the role of violence on film away from humor or spectacle and toward more banal purposes, such as shutting some mother f****r up.

That doesn't mean the funny stuff went away completely, it just means there is less of it. The action movies of today remind me very much of the action movies of the 70s. Very blunt, very brutal, dark and quite humorless. Again, not saying every action hero needs to be a wise-cracker. But at the present, Hollywood seems to be portraying violence very seriously--almost clinically--and as a primary solution to problems.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Let me add that in the past, violence was actually shown not to be the answer. Tom used violence to get Jerry, and failed every time... almost always with a backfire on the use violence. Ditto on the Coyote and Elmer Fudd. Ditto on the Hana Barbara stuff. In most of the action films of the 1980s, the hero would never have become the hero if the bad guy hadn't tried to use violence against them. Star Wars even said that using violence except in defense was the path to the dark side.

This was a very common theme. Violence = bad, and characters who use it to solve their problems make their problems worse or only hurt themselves.

But that's changed.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think it shows a growing desensitization to violence.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, That's the other annoying thing about this. The media blows this stuff up until people think this common when it's not. As you note, more people died in Chicago this weekend than the shooter got. Yet, the media doesn't care about those because it's not as easy to sensationalize. Indeed, a panel discussion of the causes of what happened in Chicago would be very uncomfortable for many of the participants. It's much easier to stick with a freak event and try to draw impossibly broad conclusions from that.

BevfromNYC said...

"But something has changed today and a huge percentage of films, now in all genres, use violence as the solution to their problems."

Anthony and Andrew - the "thing" that has changed is not the 'violence" portion but the graphic nature in which violence is depicted. Back in the day, you would see a shoot out, the one shot would clutch his/her chest and fall down. You never really saw blood and guts hanging out. Even in horror films you didn't really see the real blood and gore.

Now the more "realistic" the better....

Anthony said...


I agree there are some dark action heavy movies floating around, but that has always been the case even in the 80's (remember Aliens?). I'd say most popular action franchises nowadays are The Fast and the Furious, The Avengers and The Transformers and all three lean heavily on spectacle and have a lot of jokes.

I'd say a dominant trend of most action movies nowadays is being spectacle-heavy/CGtastic.

If you like humor in your action movies and haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy, you should.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, I think you understand what I'm saying but are refusing to acknowledge the point. It isn't that the cinematic landscape is uniform at any given time. It's that different characteristics dominate that landscape now than 20 years ago. And, as I alluded to, some elements that dominated 40 years ago dominate again today.

EPorvaznik said...

>>Is there anything that is the fault of the right? (He asked, rhetorically.) :-)>>

Duh, prosperity. Have you _not_ been paying attention to Bernie Sanders' rise to the upper-middle? ;-)

EPorvaznik said...

Excellent column, as usual, AP, and love all the comments, too!

If I may offer some alternate descriptors for the media coverage, I'd like them to use "Loser(s) un-loosed." Yes, probably more tough-love judgmental than appreciated in this age of anti-shaming, but the proof-reader in me just can't resist the urge to address multiple issues with one headline.

Koshcat said...

There seems to also be a trend in media where the bad guy is the good guy-sort of. For example, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Orange is the New Black, Peaky Blinders. Generally, these have been better written with better characters than most of the crap on TV and I have enjoyed them. However, I have also felt trouble with hoping they get away with it.

I don't know what is causation or correlation here: Is more violence begetting more violence or are we as a society more violent and wanting more from our media?

BevfromNYC said...

I don't know what is causation or correlation here: Is more violence begetting more violence or are we as a society more violent and wanting more from our media?

Koshcat - Do you really think that if all the violent images went away tomorrow, there would be a giant cry from the masses "Give us back our bloodshed, NOW!!!!" Nah...

I agree with you about the trend toward the anti-heroes. It actually started getting to me to the point where I just stopped watching the Sopranos, never really watched BB, couldn't finish the last season of Dexter and FF thru the graphic stuff, and don't get me started on Peaky Blinders. I like OISTNB, but there isn't a whole lot of graphic violence.

Kit said...

"That's about the only reason I can see that could even be offered and that is a crappy one at that. Especially as kids don't make decisions about war, there is plenty of time for the to learn the ins and outs later, and ironically, kids seem to already know that war is bad."

But when they grow up they can (sort of) make decisions.
And until then, they can provide good photo-ops of kids holding placards saying "War hurts people!"

The wisdom of children.

Anthony said...


I think I understand your point, but I don't agree with it. IMHO (over)use of CG and a determination to get a PG-13 rating translates to the average modern action movie not having the meatiness the average action movies of past decades had.

Koshcat said...

"I like OISTNB, but there isn't a whole lot of graphic violence."

Yeah, but there is a lot of shower scenes and lesbian acts. I thought I would be really ok with it but now it bores me a little. Maybe I need to get my testosterone checked.

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - I like the fact that they aren't trying to make excuses or that any of the women are wrongfully in prison. There actually is no real political agenda about how our legal system fails. They have all committed their crimes and they deserve to be in prison. The other stuff I can fast-forward through. I guess in a way this is just another example of the "anti-heroes", but with less violence. Also, it just enforces my reasons for not wanting to go to prison or jail or any other kind of incarceration. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's true too. Violence is much more brutal when you see it today. I doubt anyone would have made Game of Thrones a decade ago, even HBO.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Eric! :)

I love the term loser unloosed, but are you talking about the shooter... or the media? ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Everyone is now some sort of anti-hero. Hollywood seems to think it makes the more "complex," but I think it's just easier to write because it means there are no boundaries on the way the guy can act at any one point.

And yeah, I too find it depressing and have given up on a lot of shows that are just too dark.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Don't get me started on the overuse of CGI. Grrr.

EPorvaznik said...

>> loser unloosed, but are you talking about the shooter... or the media? ;-) >>

Yes. ;-)

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