I doubt any of us has escaped the well-meaning lecture from parents or teachers about how violence in video games is turning the youth of America into debased, violent killing machines. There is some truth to that. Children that are exposed to violence on the screen have less sympathy for the pain and suffering of others.
We’re a violent culture. Trying to remove violence in media isn’t going to happen. The boundaries of what can be shown on TV are being pushed further and further.
There’s currently no specific FCC regulation regarding what is too much violence. Most of the FCC’s standards for regulating indecent or obscene material is designed to shield viewers from hard-core pornography rather than disturbing gore and violence.
The season premiere of TV’s go-to source of gore, The Walking Dead, seemed to top the brain-bashing zombie genre with over the top gore and outdid itself in terms of violent deaths. Spoiler Alert: A series favorite met an untimely and gruesome end by means of a barbed-wire covered baseball bat. The episode didn’t pull any punches (or bat swings), and the camera barely flinched away from skull cracking, brain splattering, eye-ball popping action.
We wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find similarly gory deaths on basic or cable television. Game of Thrones fans are still trying to recover from the infamous “Red Wedding”.
Instances of tragedy and violence on the news seems more like a cliche in a TV show then what’s actually happening in the world. When a fictional character that takes a hit or suffers some other devastating injury the act of violence itself is fictionalized.
This might be why it has become easier to watch catastrophe and tragedy on the news and still feel unaffected by it.
There is way more to world events than just violent television shows, but when we watch a violent scene on the TV and then flip over to the news it’s hard to adjust our frame of mind from what’s happening to fictional TV characters in a zombie apocalypse to the tragedy in Aleppo.
Violence as entertainment is nothing new. It’s a hook for television shows to see how far they can toe the line each week. I’m all for good brawl every episode now and then, but violence as the plot itself makes the actual reality of the action numb.
We can’t get rid of all violence on TV, but we can change how we normalize it when viewing the rest of the world.
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