I’ve had the age old debate again. Not nature/nurture. Not God/no God. But the other one: Violence in media and violence in life.
There’s always been the debate, generally started, so it seems, by middle aged mothers and non-mothers and people who need a defence for their horrible crimes. The debate about violence in media causing violence in life. The Judas Priest suicides were blamed on (as if its name didn’t give it away) Judas Priest, the band. Two guys from Nevada in the winter of 1985 spent all day drinking booze, then listened to some Judas Priest albums. They decided, in their infinite wisdom, that they should go out to the woods and blow their brains out with a shotgun. What one lacked in common sense, he made for with dumb luck, and accomplished his self-destructive mission. The other was not so lucky, as it were. While he lived, which might be classed as lucky or unlucky, the same could be said of the bargain of his survival. He was left horribly disfigured, and their mums took Judas Priest to court in 1990, stating that the band had used subliminal lyrics, such as “kill yourself” and “do it, do it, do it”. Judas Priest made a point of showing up and testifying. They pointed out that if they were going to use subliminal lyrics they’d just make children buy more albums.
Now, I have a few problems with this. Surely if you were so upset that your adult son (one was 18, the other was 20) was dead or terribly scarred, you’d do your best to make sure justice was done as soon as possible. A high profile case like mother-of-dead-man vs. Judas Priest would very swiftly make it to the news and courtrooms. But for some reason it took 5 years for them to do something about it.
Next problem, surely the biggest catch in the argument here is the booze. The legal age for drinking in Nevada is 21, so what the hell were two underage kids doing with alcohol in the first place? Especially so much that they felt suicide by shotgun is a good idea? Also, a full size shotgun is a really hard thing to kill yourself with. It’s long, heavy and difficult to wield and aim towards your own head.
But my biggest problem is the things that have been blamed for violence. The cartoon Tom and Jerry was removed from TV because, apparently, modern children find it difficult to understand that you can’t get blown up or hit with a frying pan or thrown out a window, and be fine. I remember growing up to Wile E. Coyote blowing himself up with a mountain sized pile of dynamite, but I never felt the need to blow the neighbours kid up. Despite the fact that he was noisy and annoying. If they wanted to take them off because they were old, fine, but don’t lie about it. No truth is so bad that a lie is better.
My main argument, and one that generally, the other half of the argument tends to exclaim “harumph” and either wander off or get angry, telling me I’m “obviously not a mother”. No, of course I’m not a damn mother, what gave it away? The fact that I’m not covered with vomit? Or drunk out my skull on wine to deal with the stress? Maybe it’s the fact that I still have hair left on my head? I choose not to be a mother, I chose before, thought about changing my mind then had the choice taken away from me anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Instead I’m a cat-mother, or a slave, I’m not 100% sure.
Anyway, main argument. People have lived on this planet for roughly 15-20 million years. The most likely time they evolved into homo sapiens, or modern man, was about 250,000 years ago. And in that time, we’re battered, attacked, warred and murdered our way into position at the top of the food chain. Since the time of Christ, we’ve considered ourselves civilised. But we wrote/found (to stop another argument) a book that is filled with murder, hatred and revenge. So either we’ve always been a bunch of murderous bastards or we learned it from religion. Pick one.
People blame films, TV, video games and gangs. But the simple fact is I’m fairly certain that the ancient Romans didn’t break out their Xbox’s or Playstations before they lined up for the gladiator arena. Were those who first wrote the bible watching obscene amounts of violent movies? I can pretty much guarantee they weren’t. Did Cain need movies, games or TV to smash his brothers skull? Either it’s false story written by incredibly violent lunatics who thought fratricide was the best thing since sliced bread or Cain existed and all he needed was the simple human desire to attack and prove dominance over everything.
It’s considered uncivilised to be violent. But we need to be, by trapping basic human rage, we make it fester. We need a place to get that rage out. I suggest a room filled with light, balsawood furniture and candy glass crockery. People fo in, they smash everything, they get the rage out, then they pick up their coat and go home, free of that ever present anger that prevails amongst the human population, the anger that helped us beat short-fused and short-nosed bears and furious mammoths.
There is a would-be murderer in the news at the moment, who poisoned, unsuccessfully, her mother, and blamed it on an idea from TV show Breaking Bad. No, no, no. Fuck off with that bollocks. Poison, and its users have existed for centuries; Claudius (15-59 AD), Nancy Hazle, also known as Nannie Doss (1905-1965), Mary Ann Cotton (executed in 1863), Dr Crippen (executed in 1910). The list goes on, and will continue to go on. Poison is one of the most popular, and insidious, ways people choose to ‘inhume’ their rivals.
The simple fact that everything boils down to is this: Morals. If you have shitty morals, or none at all, it doesn’t matter what you do, see, hear or play, you’re going to be a shit human. If you really want to kill someone, you’ll find a way, and if you’re a massive twat, probably find a way to blame someone else. As ‘Red’ Ellis (Shawshank Redemption) said “I’m the only guilty man in Shawshank”.
Accept responsibility for your actions and choices, or don’t make any at all.