Comments about ‘In our opinion: Yes, content of movies affects the culture’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Daniel Ben
Herndon, VA

Thank you! All this talk about banning guns, but hardly a mention of violent entertainment (movies, books, video games). If anything should be banned, it should be violent entertainment before guns.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

We have an entire industry (with many facets) that attempts to influence consumer behavior via relatively short commercials. It is worth billions.

How can we argue (with a straight face) that short commercials can be effective but 2 hour long movies cannot possibly have any?

Does this mean that movies change a person entirely? Unlikely.

But if we are prone to violence (or any other emotion), the concept that certain movies can reinforce that tendency seems quite realistic.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

If entertainment is to blame for American's penchant for gun violence why does Canada have such low rates of gun violence? And what about Japan, they has a history of violent movies and amine, but they have a fraction of our gun crimes?

Maybe our lax gun laws and cultural glorification of guns are to blame.

MAYHEM MIKE
Salt Lake City, UT

The headline of the article states, "Content of movies affects the culture." Yes, but, sadly, it's also true that "content of movies REFLECTS the culture." The violence and explicit deviance in movies is a direct result of a populace that demands--and pays--for it. Each ticket or movie we purchase is our "vote" for more of its content. We have only ourselves to blame for that which we purportedly criticize.

1covey
Salt Lake City, UT

Not only movies, but TV, as well. Probably, even more so, since people watch TV a lot.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

This is a multi faceted problem.

Everyone wants to place 100% of the blame on areas that are not contrary to their position.

Of course violence in movies and video games contributes. And people know it. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

However, it is also disingenuous to suggest that the prevalence of gun ownership and the failings of gun owners to secure their weapons does not also contribute to the problem.

Solutions are tough to come by, based on our constitutional freedoms and the unwillingness to look honestly at the problem.

Hollywood has every right to make the movies that they want. Gun advocates have every right to possess guns. These freedoms are addressed in the constitution.

So, what is the solution? I don't know exactly, but I can tell you what it ISN'T.

It isn't placing 100% of the blame on Hollywood. And it isn't 100% about placing blame on guns and gun owners.

But certainly each of those bear a portion of the blame.

Until both of these sides are willing to police themselves, instead of pointing only at the other side to make changes, the problem will not go away.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

They're watching the movies and playing the games in places with far lower rates of gun violence than we experience. There must be another factor at play.

one old man
Ogden, UT

I recently read a book with the title NEWTOWN. I can't recall the author's name right now.

That book should be required reading for all American adults.

The author carefully steers clear of political arguments and simply presents the awful story of what happened there. He interviewed hundreds of witnesses, parents, emergency responders, surviving children, and family members of the shooter, Adam Lanza.

What emerges is a chilling and extremely frightening story of many failures. Especially poignant is the failure of this country to provide virtually any kind of mental health help for a parent struggling with a mentally ill child. Nancy Lanza's struggles -- and failure -- to find help was tragic and led directly to the tragedy at the school.

If you care -- read the book. It's in your library.

VIDAR
Murray, UT

We have been at war for over ten years. What effect is this having on the violence in our country? In what way did media contribute to the civil war? Maybe we are just a violent country. We fought for our independence, we have fought in numerous wars. We are the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon in war. Maybe our films are just a reflection of our society. I am sure the warrior societies of long ago sat around the camp fire, and told war stories. We are just tell the same kind of stories; in a different media now.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Twin Lights – “How can we argue (with a straight face) that short commercials can be effective but 2 hour long movies cannot possibly have any?”

That’s right… and like the tobacco companies in decades past, Hollywood has been denying this fact for years which simply proves Upton Sinclair’s famous quote –

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"

And while I agree with others here who have said this is a multi-faceted problem, getting people to recognize all the causes is a necessary first step to working on solutions.

@liberal larry – “If entertainment is to blame for American's penchant for gun violence why does Canada have such low rates of gun violence?”

Michael Moore (certainly no conservative) concluded in his film Bowling for Columbine that the main difference between our two countries is in fact the media (Canadians have comparable gun ownership per capita and their gun laws are similar).

I would say Moore ignored some other obvious demographic differences as well, but given his politics I did not expect any different.

FT
salt lake city, UT

It's supply and demand. Hollywood would not produce violent movies if society did not demand them. They won't make violent movies if nobody is buying tickets.

Doug10
Roosevelt, UT

Not only content affects us as a society but also the actors. Why else would we have a picture of Clint Eastwood who is an actor but currently not acting but still wanting to be heard in our newspaper? Why pretend that his opinion is more important to us than that of a school child?

Actors and performers become icons, not because they live betterlices than the rest but because they live more affluent lives. Their affluence becomes influence and rarely is it positive.

So sad that paid performers who are acting dictate our thoughts and actions.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

The headline is so self evident that one wonders why there is an article to follow.

cavetroll
SANDY, UT

Part of the problem is that we as a society have devalued life in all forms. We also emphasize and glorify the exlposions, shootings, mayhem, etc. We do not place nearly enough, if any, emphasis on the aftermath. I know a few officers who have been involved in shootings. What Hollywood or the media doesn't show the public is the sleepless nights, the ruined relationships, and the psychological/emotional toll these people have suffered. When people watch a movie that includes violence, they see how easy it is to commit said violence, when for all but a few (reue psychopaths), this violence has consequences in real life.

Car crashes are always fun to watch on the screen, but how the Fast & Furious found a way to make 7 movies Isimply cannot fathom. But people don't always walk away from these crashes, just ask Paul Walker's family and friends.

In the media, the protagonist always survives, no matter what he/she endures while the antagonist always perishes. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

JoeBlow,

I believe in limited gun regulations (though I do believe that strict legislation falls afoul of the Second Amendment). Also, despite my post above I do not believe Hollywood is responsible for every bad act in America.

That said your point about the prevalence of gun ownership and of gun owners failing to secure their weapons is debatable.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, many of my friends’ families had firearms and virtually none were secured (at least not like they are today). The percentage of homes with firearms was also higher back then. This means that in the 1970s more kids had access to firearms than they do today. So why do have more displays of gun violence now?

Again, I am not arguing that there should be no regulation of firearms nor that Hollywood has sole responsibility here. But with less firearms available now, what explains our current problems?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This was a MOO (Master of the Obvious) letter to me.

Of course movies and content of movies affect culture. Why do you think the propaganda artists of the 30's and 40' used movies and news-reals so much to influence people??

It obviously works or they wouldn't use it!

===

Why is the left so dedicated to deflecting all blame from Hollywood??

I don't get that. I know it's not all Hollywood, but movies obviously get into our brains and our hearts... or they wouldn't make them.

===

liberal larry

RE: "what about Japan, they has a history of violent movies and amine (aka anime), but they have a fraction of our gun crimes"

#1. Have you ever tried to get a gun in Japan? It's practically impossible. So how would they have ANY gun violence? Even police don't have guns. But that doesn't mean they don't have violence, or murders. I can assure you they do have violence in Japan (just not with guns).

#2. Have you ever seen gun violence in anime?

True there's lots of violent acts.. but it's fantasy hand-to-hand violence (never seen a gun used in anime).

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Culture effects contents of movies.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Twin,

I completely agree that 40 years ago things were different. You never heard of someone shooting up a school.

But, we do hear about that today. And oftentimes it is minors doing it.

Where the heck do they get the guns? It is one thing if a kid breaks into a neighbors house (that has no kids) and steals a gun. But that is not the commons scenario we see.

I know people with kids who keep loaded, unlocked guns in the house. I feel strongly that a gun owner should be held liable when a kid gets an unsecured gun and does harm to themselves or others.

Why should I, or my kid be at risk because someone feels that they are not obligated to secure their guns?

Look at Sandy Hook. The mom KNEW her teen had issues and did not take the necessary precautions (possible assumption on my part) to insure that her troubled kid could not access the weapons.

Kids should NOT have unsupervised access to weapons. Period.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@FT – “It's supply and demand. Hollywood would not produce violent movies if society did not demand them.”

True, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK. Would you say the same thing with respect to heroin, prostitution, or cutting down all our old growth trees?

Conservatives rightly point out the decline in values as reflected in our media, and yet they often readily embrace the libertarian, value-free economics that in many ways is the real driver of this decline.

When business schools preach the mantra that making money (adding shareholder value) is all that matters, they are doing far more damage than the usual culprits conservatives often vilify as representative of this decline (gays, atheists, etc…).

Europe (usually miles ahead of us in many ways) has recognized this fact and has tried to make the Milton Freidman values-free model more comprehensive (e.g., Triple Bottom Line).

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

JoeBlow,

I understand that kids often get the guns from their parents and that there are folks who (inexplicably) keep loaded and unlocked firearms around. But again, there were (proportionally) more in the 1970s than now.

Agreed that gun owners should keep their firearms secured (or face liability). I think it was Slate that had an article about parents with loner, obsessive kids who feed their child's obsession with weapons.

Tyler D,

Agreed. I know I am starting to sound like an old man lost in reverie (and the 70s were far from ideal) but pre-1980s American business did have more of a sense of obligation toward community.

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