I Sensationalize, You Sensationalize: a discussion of increasing violence in the mass media

I Sensationalize, You Sensationalize…

(a discussion of increasing violence in mass media)

by Michael Gfroerer

Watching tv the other night, and probably relaxed, an ad for a tv show came on, and it was horrifying! Heads were being chopped off and flying. I think there may have been some flesh-eating cannibalistic zombies – I can’t remember because I turned the channel as quickly as possible. I’ve been struck over the past couple of years by how horrifyingly violent tv and movies have become – not to mention video games. To maintain their audiences, television, movies and video games have become insanely violent to achieve the same adrenaline high.

Decades ago, horror violence seemed about 500% milder than it does today. In “Jaws”  – which ruined just about everyone’s summer swimming pleasure for years – the most we saw was a leg bitten off by a shark. Films such as “the Extorcist”, which caused my sister to sleep with her bedroom light on for weeks, now seem laughably silly. Even “action” movies, seemingly high on adrenaline and hyper-choppy camera movies, have become not only un-enjoyable but unwatchable as well.  Action scenes in movies like the “Matrix” series and any martial arts movies have become interminably long and repetitive, ie, boring!

“Saw”. All I can say, is don’t.  “Saw” and movies like it almost seem more of a macabre cooking show.

Another example of how desensitized some people have become is the true story of how a young criminal who got shot by the police was surprised that it hurt so much; it didn’t look painful in the episodes of “Cops” he had watched, he later admitted.

Is adrenaline junkie violence the result of a drug addiction-like disease where we increasingly need more of the substance for the same “high” (a physiological dependence), or have we merely become more greedy and ghoulish in our appetites for horror violence and an adrenaline junkie high (a possible psychological obsession).

Another question: has the stunningly remarkable advances in special effects caused a higher excitement baseline for an adrenaline high. (Thrill seekers and dare devils admit that they require higher, more dangerous and sometimes more deadly challenges to excite themselves. (In an episode of the travel show “Destinations” Justin wishes he could experience the same heart-pounding terror he experienced in his first bungee cord jumping  experience.)

…to be continued

Christmas, Christ, Winter…

Well, here I am. Sitting if a coffee shop, online. Typing as quickly as possible because the Christmas music is that bad! What a shame they aren’t playing J.S. Bach’s Christmas Cantata – all 3 or 4 hours of it. Funny how the older I get, the more I seem to be drawing back from the mainstream Christmas activities. Best to chose, I guess.