In the last few years, I have noticed that on screen violence has become as common as a Cheesesteak in Philadelphia. People often argue that the violence seen on screen is influencing our culture, yet each year the amount of viewers’ increase. It seems that in order for your film or program to be successful it must contain violence. In my opinion, this constant levitation of violence on screen is due to our cultures’ infatuation with the art of violence.
Violence is present in the most of our cultures most enjoyedfilms like Independence Day, daytime talk shows such as Jerry Springer and even in cartoons that have been around forever like Tom & Jerry. I can recall a time when daytime talk shows (Donahue, Oprah) would hardly ever have audience feed back and very few panelists. My how times have changed. On today’s talk shows, such as Jerry Springer, there is always a boisterous audience member, or an insane guest. Just as sure as you will find Abe Lincoln on a penny, you will see a chair fly on Jerry Springer.
The Springer show was the first show to have guests’ fight without stopping the camera. Jerry Springers’ blatant disrespect for daytime show rules stirred controversy in the media but it also stirred up something in the public. interest. Although Jerry Springer had gone against all the rules of daytime, his rebellion had made his talk show the most watched show in the nation. When the Springer show surpassed the ratings of all time favorite Oprah Whinfrey, it was re-established that violence sells.
Recently the Springer show has stopped airing its’ fierce and very real fights for many reasons, one being that 23% of the people that watched his show are under the age of sixteen. Although Jerry Springer is a show intended for adults, childrens’ shows contain violence as well. When I was a child, I saw nothing wrong with the Elmer Fudd hunting Rabbits or other Looney Tune characters being blown up, shot, or thrown off a cliff. Wile E. Cyote was always being killed while scheming to catch the Road Runner. The most popular cartoons always contained violence.
Though not the most violent, Tom & Jerry exhibited the cat and mouse chase with a little extra. There have been countless times I have been glued to the TV as Tom was beaten up, cut up, or strangled by the witty mouse Jerry. It did not even strike me as violence, but it was. I watched Tom & Jerry a few days ago, I realized that the whole show was based on Tom and Jerry trying to kill each other. Tom trying to kill Jerry to eat him or keep his master and mistress happy and Jerry trying to kill Tom to save his life.
There weren’t a lot of weapons used in Tom & Jerry except for a few explosives here and there but never any guns like in many big screen movies. Everyone loves to go to the movie theatre with their over priced snacks and sticky floors, but what makes movies sell? The films that make the most money at the box offices are usually action films that have many fist fights, explosives and big guns. Independence Day grossed more at the box offices than any other film in history. The movies plot was typical. A group of fearless humans attempts to save the earth from vicious extraterrestrial.
Will Smith fist fought aliens, blew up planets and clobbered all the bad guys. The movie was consisted of a visual feast of explosives, property damages, and incredible sound effects. Independence Day was to Sci-Fi what Twister was to disaster films. Although Independence Day contained a massive amount of violence almost every person in America went to see it, and loved it. Just because our culture loves violence on screen, it does not mean that we all have sick and tormented minds, we are not all just killers waiting to happen.
Our culture is obsessed with real issues being dramatized . There is nothing wrong with having violence in films and on T. V. If a person wants to sit down and watch Will Smith blow up a planet and save the world, then they have that right. I personally enjoy watching action films with explosives, fistfights and death counts at nearly one hundred. I love the feeling of leaving the theatre in awe of what I just saw. Violence is apart of our culture both on and off the screen, only we can make light of a serious matter through the production of films, talk shows and cartoons.