Why are you pointing fingers at my beloved movies and anime? Stop it!
In the light of recent ‘Dark Knight’ shooting in the United States, I want to share my thoughts on the subject of violence on screen. Do note that my opinion comes from my personal context which may or may not be similar to yours and I will discuss this topic in general rather than based specifically on the recent event. My view can be interpreted as an outsider’s perspective since you all know I live in Asia (and we use swords and poisoned darts more than guns).
Man, movies and violence
Movies, anime, music or books do not turn people into the dark side. It’s not that simple. A man’s action is the cumulative effect of many factors both intrinsic and extrinsic. But on the contrary, movies, anime, music and other similar media draw inspiration from what happen in real life. And in real life, there are many people in the dark side. Just in case you are arguing that there are also fantasy stories that cannot be real, don’t forget that they are ultimately human story regardless of the fantastic setting. So no matter how otherworldly the stories look, they are the stories of human and human are real.
Is it fair to blame it on movies and related media?
I don’t think it’s fair. Entertainment media has always been popular target when bad things happened because we have seen those kinds of things in the media before. But like I said above, I think media function like a mirror. It’s not fair to blame the mirror when we just don’t like our reflections in it. What happens in movies, books or anime have happened before in real life in one form or another.
Nevertheless, I am not entirely comfortable with what I see on screen these days. Everything has bright side and dark side and all range of colors in between. It’s not good to show only one side and shun the other. Nowadays most of the things shown on screen are the worst side of people. I have heard many talked about getting desensitized by onscreen violence, that someone with potentials to commit crimes could be pushed over the edge by what he saw. That may or may not be true but even if it’s the case, blaming the entertainment media still seems to too easy and irresponsible. Obviously this is a complex problem that needs to be systematically attended to. With that said, I am no expert in these things and I cannot offer any practical, effective way to solve this problem.
But if you need to do something quick and easy anyway like putting something under tight control (however shallow that may seem), control the guns not movies.
On a somewhat unrelated note: The Dark Knight Rises was a very good movie. Go see it if you can, especially on Imax.