I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a film or work of art that in any way glorifies child rape. I’ve never seen any context in which sexually assaulting a child is viewed favorably. Given our overwhelming disapproval of such acts, it makes perfect sense that when they occur we are genuinely outraged and shocked. What is less clear is how we justify that same outrage and shock over senseless acts of violence; acts we constantly glamorize, glorify and celebrate in our everyday lives. 

What happened in Aurora, Colorado was an absolute tragedy. A gunman opened fire at a midnight premier of the new movie, The Dark Knight Rises. 70 people were shot and of those, 12 were killed. Certainly our thoughts and prayers extend to the victims and their families first and foremost. After this, we must think critically about this tragedy and ask ourselves some tough questions.

In the first place, we must seriously ask ourselves whether we, as a nation, still have the moral authority to be outraged when there is gun violence. Let me be clear: I’m not speaking of the victims or their families; I’m talking to the rest of us. Can we truly be outraged? We are outraged by the child rapist, for we in no way celebrate his actions nor do we lend them our support. However, over the weekend we all paid to sit and watch a Batman movie loaded with violence from start to finish. We clapped, cheered and celebrated every bloody, violent moment. After celebrating violence, can we be outraged when it manifests in the real world?

My point is not that violent movies and video games cause violence. Neither am I arguing that somehow we are bad people for going to see Batman. What I am suggesting, however, is there is an inconsistency in our thinking. Once again, no one celebrates the child rapist in movies, music or anywhere else. Therefore, it seems completely logical that we should be outraged and shocked when a child is raped. Yet we glorify violence in our music, movies and our choices of entertainment (think MMA etc.). We love it.  It is only when that which we glorify pays a personal, human visit that we abhor it. 
Perhaps if we treated murder and gun violence the way we treated pedophilia the matter would be less confusing. Under those conditions, it would make sense that we reject acts of violence when they occur. Until that time, yes, it is somewhat perplexing that we constantly enjoy and crave blood but reject it when it comes. Batman, violent video games and sports are not responsible for what happened in Aurora. One lone gunman pulled the trigger. Even so, as a nation we provided the perpetrator with the notion that there was some admirable and redeeming quality to that which he did. When we admire hyper masculinity, violence and gun play, we should ask ourselves when it really happens, “are you not entertained?” 

3 comments

Duane Terrell

Movies:
What people generally like are larger than life stories where good triumps over evil and if it means things have to blow up for half and hour and bad guys get shot left and right then fine, all the better. If violence was what people were "celeberating" then the transformers (and possibley the Friday 13th) movies would have been held as some of the greatest movies of all time.

People are convinced that bad guys use the system to their advatage all the time and take advantage of the rest of us without firing a shot. People want that carnal indivual to come in and have the courage to do what's necessary to defeat evil. (This is the main reason Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. They are looking for Rambo not Joel Osteen.)

Media:
Again, larger than life stories gets people's attention. It's the reason why a movie about MLK would bee seen where as a movie about my life would be boring and people wouldn't see it. People don't need the media to give them a story about some guys harddrive that crashed. They are interested in a story where a bomb blew up and flung a grand mother in to a tree and she survived.

People who make it a point to "glory" gun play, special effects etc (see star wars prequals) often find that their products don't sell very well or are critized negatively, unless you are George Lucas who has a francise with name recognition but even that wears off after awhile.

Is sex with children "larger than life"? I guess in a sense it is, but can anyone think of a reason it could be used to enable good to triumph over evil? And so in any context child porn is frowned up and rightfully so.

What this guy did in colorado was not good triumping over evil. It's what happens in the begining of the movie before Arnold Swartznegger investigates who's behind it and murders and tortures all the bastards resopnsible for it.

Eric Williams

I believe America has a love affair with guns and violence period. Bad boys wielding guns get just as much, if not more, fanfare as the hero. Just look at America's fascination with prohibition era monsters. Elliott Ness is the least talked about character (albeit he worked for the IRS). When I was in college, so many people had movie posters of scarface, the godfather, and many other shoot-em up movies taped to there walls. Not to mention hangers rap and heavy metal. Nevertheless, we will be at the next candlelight vigil in our neighbor when someone falls victim of these very acts that we openly call entertainment.

Eric Williams

"Prohibition era mobsters", "gangster rap"

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