It’s nine days after the murders and injuries occurred in Aurora, CO. Several of the victims have been buried. We await the arraignment of the suspect tomorrow. And business goes on as usual in Hollywood, with the exception that instead of reporting the amount of money, “The Dark Knight Rises” earned on it’s opening weekend immediately, those figures were withheld until now, “out of respect for the victims.”
On January 18, 2012 thousands of bloggers and businesses “went dark” for twelve hours to protest what we believe was an attempt by the Congress to try to restrict freedom of access to the internet. You might have thought that sort of protest was something that would be orchestrated in China – but it happened here in the United States of America. I am proud to say I participated in that protest.
The bills passing through Congress were largely supported by the Hollywood infrastructure. Their reasoning was that these bills were designed to protect their proprietary intellectual property from theft. I support that principle because it is just and fair, but unfortunately the bills went further and could be interpreted far more broadly than it appeared from a superficial reading.
“Out of respect for the victims” I would have been impressed if Hollywood had done something truly dramatic – like simultaneously cancel one showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” at all theaters throughout the world. It would have cost them nothing and might have actually drawn more viewers who, like me, felt this was a display of true soul and compassion by the creators of this picture.
Perhaps there is a reason this did not happen – a good reason.
Since the shootings the mainstream media have been filled with discussions about weapons and restricting access to them. It sells tabloids and rivets us to our nightly news shows. Comparatively little has been said about the culture of violence in our society which might drive a person to commit the atrocity of which James Holmes is accused.
I remember, as a child, hearing that old Chinese expression, “Monkey see, Monkey do.” I understood it’s meaning as a six year old and nothing has changed in the intervening years to change that but merely reinforce it.
It is hard for anyone but the most zealous stalwart supporter to argue against the fact that the movies that are released have become more and more violent with each incarnation. And while this may not be the only cause for the increased violence and hostility in our society, it is hard to believe that it doesn’t bear at least some of the responsibility.
A person could make the argument that if consumers didn’t readily agree to buy what Hollywood has to sell, they would have to change their product line. That is an extremely valid point. But it is also one that could be made about a person who sells heroin or crack cocaine.
I in no way want to imply that I am looking to impose yet more regulation and censorship than already exists other than responsible self-regulation. To do so would be fruitless anyway as Hollywood is too snugly in bed with this administration.
But I would ask those producers and directors and screen writers to look back to a golden age in their history when they made quality, non-violent and just plain fun movies to which we could bring the kids without fear of what they would see or hear. That really happened, once upon a time in America.