With Love and Gratitude

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For Love’s Sake, Tarantino Should Can Violent Film

Children today are inundated with violent films and games. Is it boycott time?

What ever happened to love stories on film? And why is it that filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino must make movies that spew blood instead of love.  At a time when children have lost lives due to gun violence, it is time for all filmmakers to read the Report of the Media Violence Commission of the International Society for Research on Aggression. 

The report was issued in May of this year, and yet three big films this holiday portray violence: Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Reacher, and Tarantino's Django Unchained

Why single out Tarantino? Because of his remarks reported by the BBC:

The red carpet screening and party for Tarantino's violent western Django Unchained was canceled on Monday out of respect for those lost in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. But it seems that Tarantino is none too pleased.

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He said at a press junket in New York for the film on Saturday that he was tired of defending his films each time the US is shocked by gun violence.

"I just think you know there's violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers," he said, adding: "It's a western. Give me a break."

Django Unchained is nominated for five Golden Globes at next year's awards. (The BBC.)

And shame on those who nominate such films for Golden Globes!

Movie makers should read violence report and hang heads in shame

The report of the Media Violence Commission of the International Society for Research on Aggression was clear—violence in video games and movies affects individuals. The report found that media violence can increase not only aggressive behavior in a variety of forms, but also aggressive thoughts, aggressive feelings, physiological arousal, and decrease pro-social behavior.”

It was also reported that “media violence effects have been found in all types of media examined (TV, movies, video games, music, cartoons, etc.) (Anderson et al., 2003; Kirsh, 2012).”

Connection found between media and aggressive behavior

“The effects are remarkably consistent regardless of the type of medium, age, gender, or where the person lives in the world. It is for this reason that scientific bodies such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association (among others) have all concluded that “the data point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000). A large body of research accumulated since then corroborates this conclusion.] Report of the Media Violence Commission

With tragic pain beyond words, time for parents to take action

In a world in which children are inundated with violent images—even during family time commercials for violent films—parents need to take charge. The way Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) changed laws, shouldn't we all take it upon ourselves as parents to stop violent movies and video games? If the source of revenue for violence dries up through boycotts, then perhaps moviemakers will listen. 

Is it time to form a national Parents Against Violence in the Media group? I’m not suggesting a return to Little House on the Prairie, but an end to violent video films and video games.

My favorite movie line is from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." Can filmmakers take up the challenge of portraying love, caring, and gratitude in film and hype a blockbuster?

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.

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