In Defense Of Violence In Entertainment

In Defense Of Violence In Entertainment

Depictions of violence and adult content may be offensive, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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When tragedy strikes in the real world, there is always someone quick to blame the media. Adult content like violence or drug use in entertainment is a common scapegoat, resulting in censorship and moral panics.

It’s important to draw a distinction between depicting violence or any other manner of controversial content, and endorsing it. Art can depict the harsh reality of violence in order to condemn it, but censorship rarely appreciates this kind of nuance. A good example of this comes from the Comics Code Authority (CCA), a regulatory body formed by the comics industry to ensure that creators kept their stories appropriate for young children. The code may have been well-intentioned, but it was nevertheless one of the worst violations of free speech to befall entertainment in American history. Wholesalers would refuse to sell comics without code approval, making it difficult to circumvent the rules. Entire companies disappeared as the new rules eliminated horror comics and severely restricted crime comics. In banning any form of adult content, the code essentially restricted comics to a young audience, a reputation the comics industry still hasn’t fully moved away from decades later.

The CCA’s stranglehold over the industry weakened over the years, starting with a Spider-Man story about substance abuse. In 1971, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee received a letter from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (known today as the Department of Health and Human Services) suggesting that Spider-Man could be helpful in communicating to children about drug addiction. Lee happily wrote the story, but it was rejected by the CCA when Marvel submitted it for approval. Despite the story’s anti-drug stance, the code dictated that it was inappropriate for a comic to even acknowledge the existence of drugs. Feeling that the message was important for their audience, Marvel published the story without the CCA’s approval, something unheard of at the time. That very year, the code was updated to permit some discussion of drug-related issues and was loosened further in 1989 at the request of DC Comics. One by one, publishers left the code, choosing to regulate their output themselves.

Obviously, nearly all parents want to protect young children from certain content, which they have every right to do. However, the CCA shows that arbitrarily condemning adult content simply doesn’t work. It hurt smaller publishing companies, restricted artistic freedom (thereby violating the First Amendment), and actually prevented comics from imparting valuable lessons to their audience. While other forms of entertainment have been spared such crippling regulation, the same problems spring up in more subtle ways.

The closest equivalent to the CCA is the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the regulatory body that represents the major studios in Hollywood. It enforced an absurdly strict set of rules popularly known as the Hays Code from the 1930s through the late ‘60s. Thankfully, it switched to a rating system, but the current system isn’t without fault even after periodic updates. In the 1980s, there was a growing concern over films that did not feature enough violence to warrant an R-rating but were nevertheless deemed inappropriate for the younger audiences attending PG-rated films. After a few of his films came under criticism for their violent content, director Steven Spielberg called the president of the MPAA and suggested the creation of an intermediate rating, which came to be called PG-13.

At the time, the change was a huge improvement, bringing more precision and accuracy to the rating system. However, studios eventually realized that PG-13 movies were the most financially viable due to their wider audience, and began aiming for a PG-13 rating on films with subject matter usually reserved for the R-rating, especially action and horror films. Violence could still be depiction in massive amounts, but had to be sanitized. One study from a few years ago found that gun violence in PG-13 movies has steadily increased over the years, to the point that they actually depict more acts of violence than R-rated movies. While PG-13 movies depict more violent acts, they make it more palatable by omitting the graphic results.

Should we really be trying to make violence palatable? Many R-rated films have used explicit violence to show the horror and brutality associated with real life violence. PG-13 violence, by shying away from real consequences, seems more acceptable and justifiable in comparison. Violence is almost always inappropriate, and any attempt to make it appropriate is absurd and sends a far worse message than explicit violence.

There’s a fair argument to be made for labeling adult content in media (people deserve to know what they’re buying, after all), but most attempts to actually regulate content range from ineffectual to harmful. There are valid reasons for art and entertainment to explore controversial or otherwise unsavory aspects of life. Censors are ill-equipped to determine artistic merit and inevitably interfere in things best left up to creators and audiences.
Cover Image Credit: Frank Miller

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Red, White, And Blue, What Did You Do?!

Have you ever been pulled over by the police? Have you ever been on Live PD?! Maybe I've seen you on there!

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For the past week, I have been watching "Live PD" on Youtube and it's actually really interesting. Watching people give tickets and arrested for all kinds of things, high-speed chases, and shootouts... It sounds insane because it is! It is also really real and it happens because of bad choices. I assume that there are hundreds of people, probably, even more, getting pulled over by the police every couple of minutes, maybe even seconds. When driving around from city to city, I see police everywhere; especially pulling people over. Most of the time someone will get pulled over for speeding or for equipment problems. I have only ever been pulled over once in my life, for speeding, which was unfortunate, but I was speeding and now I understand the consequences - EXPENSIVE AND NOT WORTH THE TIME IN COURT.

A lot of scenes from this show are people getting pulled over for something more dangerous. Each episode of the show is police from different places all over the United States. Sometimes it's body footage (which is incredible and very scary), car cam, helicopter cam, or a cameraman. We all know these police officers much rather be pulling people over and giving them speeding tickets, but some people just don't know when to stop.

I am writing this article for all the law enforcement officers out there because I give them so much more respect upon seeing what they deal with almost every day. Not to say that all police officers deserve the same respect because some do not because of horrible mistakes and misjudgment of situations, sorry to say. Some make bad mistakes, but so do all of those people that they have to arrest. Police officers are following the law. They are taking every necessary precaution to protect the public, protect themselves and to potentially save those who could bring harm to themselves.

I searched how much energy one must go through to become a police officer and I found that on average they must spend 880 hours (22 weeks) of academy training which includes having them, "learn state laws, criminal investigations, patrol procedures, firearms training, traffic control, defensive driving, self-defense, first aid and computer skills." Along with those they must take part in, "physical training and fieldwork that demonstrates their comprehension of classroom instruction. Field exercises include investigating mock criminal scenes, directing traffic, operating police vehicles, arrest techniques, using firearms, fingerprinting and interrogation methods." Officers with K-9 units take a couple weeks to be initially placed into a department, then 3-4 weeks for actual training for narcotics or explosives. K-9 units often teach in German so when on the pursuit and they get released that those who are being sought after cannot stop or control the dog in control. Watching countless videos of K-9's responding to their owners by attacking the suspect, usually leave their mark by taking them down by biting their arms or legs. This ensures that the suspect will not go anywhere and it gives the police officers a chance to catch their breath, evaluate the situation, making sure it is safe, then arresting them.

Another show, taken place in the UK ("Nothing To Declare") deals with suspicious travelers in airports going through security (border patrol). They arrest countless people laundering money, and others traveling with (smuggling) hundreds of pounds of cocaine, marijuana, and other miscellaneous substances or objects. Within the show, officers work in tandem with sniffer dogs to detect possible packages of those illegal substances and excessive amounts of money. It is really very fascinating and impressive what the dogs find. They stop hundreds of people and arrest plenty of them. Before watching this show, I had no idea that dogs could detect large amounts of money. When traveling out of the country, one is only allowed to carry up to $10,000; if more then police have the authority to confiscate it from the owner.

People become erratic and make bad decisions. People have to understand that there is a law to follow and if they don't then there are serious consequences. A lot of the videos from Live PD are people that have warrants, illegal substances, DUI's, assault charges, and the list goes on… I'm not going to type out every reason for you to be an advocate to either side; law or injustice, but people have to understand that when police get involved it is for the fear of the safety of the public. The police are here to bring justice and to protect us. Not everybody does their job right. We all do things wrong, sometimes with other peoples lives in our hands. Hear me out- it is easy to avoid mistakes, it is easy to get yourself into dangerous situations. Watch the people who influence you; if they act poorly and have attitudes and behaviors then get away and STAY CLEAN. The world wasn't meant for violence. The reason why we have police is to KEEP THE PEACE.

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