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Graphic (fictional) violence

  • 25-01-2020 2:42pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    I hear this question come up from time to time(hope this is a good sub forum for it) and it is whether graphic violence is harmful to the producer and receiver of the "product".

    I admit to not being aware of the sociological studies that surely exist and must be important ....

    It seems to me that violence has always been depicted in plays,books etc in the past but I wonder if in the new age of virtual reality it is a means of communication that may need to be regulated.

    Any opinions?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    amandstu wrote: »
    It seems to me that violence has always been depicted in plays,books etc in the past but I wonder if in the new age of virtual reality it is a means of communication that may need to be regulated.

    Any opinions?
    Plays, books, television, and movies have historically depicted violence, and for movies an age rating system exists, but does not successfully ban underage viewers. Many games already have a similar age rating system, but like movies, enforcement has not followed. Parental guidance has been assumed for movies and games, as for all other sorts of viewing experiences not currently age rated.

    I just finished an historical novel about violent civil wars in the British Isles, one of a series of such fictional books I've read, but there was no age rating system in place at our public library, or by the publishers. I cannot think of anything more violent than the detailed descriptions of warriors fighting in shield walls against each other. Makes me wonder where the game-regulators have been when the screaming, splattering blood, and **** from eviscerated guts were depicted from stabbing below, between, and over shield walls? What about issuing regulations for reading the Old Testament of the Bible, too? Any violence there comparable to fictional novels and games?

    Henry Jenkins (2013), The War Between Effects and Meaning: Rethinking the Video Game Violence Debate, in Chapter 2 of Digital Generations: Children, Young People, and the New Media raises a similar point about violent books and games.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    There is an element of fascination in our relationship to fictional violence. In a sense it is a sanitized version of the real thing and there may be an element of "vaccination" about the experience.

    I too recently watched the recent episodes on the BBC documenting the depravity in the court of Henry the eighth and other rulers.


    That was quite affecting since I feel very much part /recipient of that historical process.

    It was salutary in that it took the scales from my eyes from the rose tinted picture we may have in Britain concerning our "glorious" past.

    Certainly that was not a pill that I would have wished be sweetened.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    amandstu wrote: »
    There is an element of fascination in our relationship to fictional violence. In a sense it is a sanitized version of the real thing and there may be an element of "vaccination" about the experience.
    Long before today's violent media and gaming debate, I recall reading about the debate about violent television and movie exposure, and whether or not such viewing may influence human behavior. Cannot recall the literature source (without some searching), but it was from a psychoanalytic viewpoint. One set of psychiatrists suggested that fictional violent viewing may lead to real violent behavior. While yet another group took the antithesis view, suggesting that such viewing may remediate potential future and real violence by working it out on the couch in a catharsis way; thereby removing the energy and need for violence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    I think there is a viewpoint that indifference to other's suffering is a worse problem than an active infliction of harm.

    On that basis , maybe anything that normalizes (relativises?) bad behaviour can be seen as pernicious .

    On the day that is in it ,I saw the headline that it was the indifference of the majorities that allowed the depraved behaviour of the minorities when the Jewish populations (and others) were so terribly treated in living memory.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    amandstu wrote: »
    I think there is a viewpoint that indifference to other's suffering is a worse problem than an active infliction of harm.
    Is this a contradiction? Or a Derridean dichotomy? Certainly there are other alternatives not shown here.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    "...exposure to violent television or video games were not predictive of youth violence and aggression."

    Source:
    Christopher J.Ferguson, Claudia San Miguel, and Richard D.Hartley (December 2009). A Multivariate Analysis of Youth Violence and Aggression: The Influence of Family, Peers, Depression, and Media Violence. The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 155, Issue 6, Pages 904-908.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 228 ✭✭ ghost of ireland past


    TV violence definitely contributes to real world violence in at least one way. People replicate what they see on TV. Perhaps they might have been violent anyway but that's not true in all cases.

    Examples of copycats would be your own children who copy professional wrestlers, who jump from the top rope for example. No-one can argue that they would have done that without seeing it on TV. Other examples would be anything memorable, like a kerb stomp, from American History X. That's the horrific type of thing that can be copied.

    It seems obviously wrong to say that serious violence, such as that depicted in the Saw movie franchise, has no effect on the viewer. Of course it has an effect. We're just very willing to ignore the obvious as a society but I'm not sure that all violent art should be banned, we should just question who would want to watch certain types of violent art, like the Saw movies. It's called Torture Porn for a reason, but I accept written books can be just as graphic.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    TV violence definitely contributes to real world violence in at least one way. People replicate what they see on TV. Perhaps they might have been violent anyway but that's not true in all cases.
    If "People replicate what they see on TV," then how do you explain what was found by Gordan Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna in their study: DOES MOVIE VIOLENCE INCREASE VIOLENT CRIME? Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2009?

    Their data includes: "The audience for strongly violent and mildly violent movies, respectively, is as high as 12 million and 25 million people on some weekends..."

    Are you suggesting that many of these 12 to 25 million viewers will "replicate what they see?" Or just an isolated few, perhaps also affected by many other independent variables besides violent viewing?

    The study concludes: "We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004, and study the effect on same-day assaults. We find that violent crime decreases on days with larger theater audiences for violent movies."


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 228 ✭✭ ghost of ireland past


    I consider that people who want to watch movies like The Saw franchise are mentally ill. If they wanted to observe the same things in real life as they see in the film they'd be widely considered mentally ill. Why does it matter that it's on TV?


    People's experiences matter.
    It's known that people who are sexually abused are more likely to be abusers themselves. Violence is the same I believe, that people who experience violent behaviour are more likely to be violent themselves. If this is true then exposing people to violence is a bad thing.


    There is also escalation of people's behaviour. For example, the knock out game. Some people, idiots it must be said, would attack unsuspecting people and attempt to knock them out with a single punch. This was taken up by others and led to a crime wave of these types of attacks. Several people died.
    I know that real world violence isn't fictional but what if a movie character killed people at random?
    I have watched Natural Born Killers. It's a dangerous movie as it incites random violence. Art is very powerful. When Micky turns to the camera, during his interview from inside prison, and says, 'I'm a natural born killer' and incites a prison riot it is very powerful. Major similarities with the Joker movie, which has similar themes, and which is almost certain to inspire real world killings, or to be referenced in a real world killing.


    In my view violence on tv does lead to real world escalation, and that's obvious.

    The academics simply have it wrong if they've concluded otherwise. Not all violence on tv leads to real world violence but you cannot say that violence on tv never leads to real world violence.


    American society is objectively very violent and its media and culture matches. So many superhero movies.


    On the theatre example. It's possible that whatever is leading to bigger cinema audiences on some days, perhaps better weather for example, is also leading to less violence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    I consider that people who want to watch movies like The Saw franchise are mentally ill. If they wanted to observe the same things in real life as they see in the film they'd be widely considered mentally ill. Why does it matter that it's on TV?


    People's experiences matter.
    It's known that people who are sexually abused are more likely to be abusers themselves. Violence is the same I believe, that people who experience violent behaviour are more likely to be violent themselves. If this is true then exposing people to violence is a bad thing.


    There is also escalation of people's behaviour. For example, the knock out game. Some people, idiots it must be said, would attack unsuspecting people and attempt to knock them out with a single punch. This was taken up by others and led to a crime wave of these types of attacks. Several people died.
    I know that real world violence isn't fictional but what if a movie character killed people at random?
    I have watched Natural Born Killers. It's a dangerous movie as it incites random violence. Art is very powerful. When Micky turns to the camera, during his interview from inside prison, and says, 'I'm a natural born killer' and incites a prison riot it is very powerful. Major similarities with the Joker movie, which has similar themes, and which is almost certain to inspire real world killings, or to be referenced in a real world killing.


    In my view violence on tv does lead to real world escalation, and that's obvious.

    The academics simply have it wrong if they've concluded otherwise. Not all violence on tv leads to real world violence but you cannot say that violence on tv never leads to real world violence.


    American society is objectively very violent and its media and culture matches. So many superhero movies.


    On the theatre example. It's possible that whatever is leading to bigger cinema audiences on some days, perhaps better weather for example, is also leading to less violence.
    If academics have it wrong it should be easy to prove that.

    I too find it apparently "obvious" that graphic violence consumed for entertainment is harmful but unless it can be shown to be the case ,I am very much reserving judgement.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan



    In my view violence on tv does lead to real world escalation, and that's obvious.
    It's not obvious, consequently the debate on this issue that has existed for decades.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 228 ✭✭ ghost of ireland past


    When a child jumps from the top rope, and injures his little brother, it is obvious that he is copying what he saw on TV.

    Therefore, case proved. Violence on TV directly led to real world violence.

    I only have to prove or demonstrate a single case, as I've done there.

    Fictional violence led to real world violence. Deal with it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    When a child jumps from the top rope, and injures his little brother, it is obvious that he is copying what he saw on TV.

    Therefore, case proved. Violence on TV directly led to real world violence.

    I only have to prove or demonstrate a single case, as I've done there.

    Fictional violence led to real world violence. Deal with it.
    We are discussing overall levels of violence in the main .Your point ,whilst easily conceded is really a separate issue and may boil down to the changing character of specific kinds of violent behaviour .


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    Why stop at movies and TV shows? The news often shows the aftermath of secondary school shootings, bomb blasts and murder scenes on a daily basis (hourly if you have a 24hr news channel). Violence is everywhere, and it sells. Why do you think the phrase "if it bleeds, it leads" is a mantra of news media? This has always been popular. Long before video games, long before movies.

    To focus on just one area and say "this is the cause" is missing the big picture. Violence is weaved into the tapestry of society, in some cases under the guise of "state security" and other such things. That is not the only cause of violence in society, but to gain an understanding it is always best to avoid taking the easy option of scapegoating. One must treat it holistically, otherwise they risk wasting their energies on a fruitless endeavour.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    When a child jumps from the top rope, and injures his little brother, it is obvious that he is copying what he saw on TV.

    Therefore, case proved. Violence on TV directly led to real world violence.

    I only have to prove or demonstrate a single case, as I've done there.

    Fictional violence led to real world violence. Deal with it.
    This is not science, it is anecdotal, not representative, nor can it be generalised to a population of millions of viewers. Furthermore, science does not prove anything, rather it suggests.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    Reading about this issue elsewhere. Seems folks are often strongly for or against. With few in the middle.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    Fathom wrote: »
    Reading about this issue elsewhere. Seems folks are often strongly for or against. With few in the middle.

    Very true Fathom. To be honest, I can understand why. One way or another the question about the impact from the media we consume has gone back long before the digital era, and will rage long into whatever eras follow it.

    If I had to give a short answer, I would have to say some are defiantly more susceptible to copying violence acts they view than others. The reasons behind that are too numerous to mention.

    I don't believe any form of text is to blame for the violence. If it wasn't that, it would be something else.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    Before media games violence play, going way back when boys played war, played cowboys and Indians, etc. Where were the regulators back then?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    Black Swan wrote: »
    Before media games violence play, going way back when boys played war, played cowboys and Indians, etc. Where were the regulators back then?

    Also the John Wayne western movies of the time would have been quite popular. Maybe regulators believed these served the interests of the nation so censorship was not applied? The Cold War message could be sold with a binary narrative.

    I should add I have no evidence for the above. Just a random thought that entered my head.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    "Make my day" Clint Eastwood films on screen and endless TV reruns. Would it have been unpatriotic to censor WWII war films during war?


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    mzungu wrote: »
    I should add I have no evidence for the above. Just a random thought that entered my head.

    Might be a good research topic?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    Fathom wrote: »
    "Make my day" Clint Eastwood films on screen and endless TV reruns. Would it have been unpatriotic to censor WWII war films during war?

    I think it would not have served the national interest at the time. The movies were essentially the propaganda battle at home to pacify those not at the frontlines. Make them thing all was good with the boys out on the battlegrounds of Europe and the Pacific.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    Fathom wrote: »
    Might be a good research topic?

    It would too. State propaganda is always worth an investigation. Adorno and Horkheimer might have touched upon themes of this within their book Dialectic of Enlightenment and primarily in the chapter titled "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception". Essentially, all forms of media reaffirm the values of popular culture. No reason why this could not be extended to reaffirming the official state narrative during wartime.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    "Some artificial intelligence experts think role playing adventure games will help machines learn to be as clever as we are" per WIRED 28 Feb 2020. They recommend Dungeons & Dragons over chess to facilitate machine learning akin to human learning. Should only AI learning be facilitated in this way and not teens and young adults? What are the downsides of placing restrictions on game playing?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,459 ✭✭✭ amandstu


    Black Swan wrote: »
    "Some artificial intelligence experts think role playing adventure games will help machines learn to be as clever as we are" per WIRED 28 Feb 2020. They recommend Dungeons & Dragons over chess to facilitate machine learning akin to human learning. Should only AI learning be facilitated in this way and not teens and young adults? What are the downsides of placing restrictions on game playing?

    Are you suggesting that it is feasible to envisage placing no restrictions at all in this area? Or simply asking what are the disadvantages of the restrictions (on gaming) that are inevitable in any civilized society?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional Midlands Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators, Regional South East Moderators, Regional North East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 8,372 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    amandstu wrote: »
    Are you suggesting that it is feasible to envisage placing no restrictions at all in this area? Or simply asking what are the disadvantages of the restrictions (on gaming) that are inevitable in any civilized society?
    Can't answer for Swan. Why single out games? Films and TV already have age rating systems. So do games. They issue warnings. Assumes that parents and retailers will comply on behalf of under age minors. What about boys and girls playing pirates, or war, or cowboys and Indians in their backyards? Backyard play can be violent, too. Should backyard play be regulated by the state? What about reading public library books? Should there be age restrictions on violent novels and non-fiction? The Old Testament has highly violent parts. Should the Bible have state enforced age regulations, with serious penalties for non-compliance?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 409 ✭✭ Titclamp


    Black Swan wrote: »
    It's not obvious, consequently the debate on this issue that has existed for decades.

    TV has only been around for decades.

    If you can't see the negative influence TV can have on the unhinged then its purposely blinded ignorance


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 409 ✭✭ Titclamp


    Fathom wrote: »
    Can't answer for Swan. Why single out games? Films and TV already have age rating systems. So do games. They issue warnings. Assumes that parents and retailers will comply on behalf of under age minors. What about boys and girls playing pirates, or war, or cowboys and Indians in their backyards? Backyard play can be violent, too. Should backyard play be regulated by the state? What about reading public library books? Should there be age restrictions on violent novels and non-fiction? The Old Testament has highly violent parts. Should the Bible have state enforced age regulations, with serious penalties for non-compliance?

    People have been radicalised by the Koran and killed so yes maybe it's should be regulated.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,099 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    Titclamp wrote: »
    TV has only been around for decades.

    If you can't see the negative influence TV can have on the unhinged then its purposely blinded ignorance
    Makes me wonder if the "unhinged," which represent a tiny fraction of the total population, will also be exposed to other "negative influence(s)," and that failure to control for these other persons, places, or things may disproportionately attribute the affects to gaming, or any other variable singled out by the media or other interest groups as the utlimate "negative" deserving of regulation by some state? I am reminded about historic religious wars (Crusades, etc.) or Salem witch hunts, or today's terrorist propaganda, both real and not, exhibiting a Derridean dichotomy nightmare of good and evil depending upon your political or religious positions (e.g., terrorists vs freedom fighters).

    To add to the list of "negative influence(s)" by Fathom above, what about the potential "influence" of political leaders like Donald J Trump? Should there be state enforced age regulations on whether or not underage children should be allowed to view and listen to the current US President, or read his tweets? There have been several examples of violent speeches and tweets by said President over the past 3 years, and before during his campaign. As to how such verbal or graphic depicted violence by Trump may pose as "negative influence(s)" on the "unhinged," I am reminded about the 2008 presidential campaign where VP candidate Sarah Palin displayed target bullseyes on political opponents, and coincidentally (or not), an "unhinged" person shot US House Representative Gabrielle Dee "Gabby" Giffords shortly after Palin's bullseyes that included Giffords. But if you suggest such regulation in America, you will be confronted by freedom of speech advocates, which may or may not include those that would not regulate TV, films, games, etc., depending upon their special interests.


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,290 Mod ✭✭✭✭ mzungu


    In some cases censorship has been used as a way to suppress alternate ideas or indeed impartial home truths (think Stalinist Russia). How can one measure the negative influence of any form of media? You really can't. That means we have no idea whether or not its overall impact can be a negative for society. Even theorists in this area have problems. For example, Stuart Hall and John Fiske. Taking the ideas of former like "encoding and decoding" whereby one part accepts the belief that the audience understand and engage the medium but also in another accepts that at times they do not. There is kernel of truth in there, mainly, IMO, that different people can interpret media in different ways.

    I do think panic about movies and computer games is manufactured moral panic and serves a purpose other than the protection of society and our morals.

    Go back seventy years and people would have been saying the same thing about The Beatles.


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