I get a huge kick out of hearing people complain about violence in the media. For my part, I tell them to go ahead and entertain themselves with “Teletubbies” and Celine Dion. Now stop blocking my view of the TV because I love this scene – it’s about to zoom in on the Desert Eagle .50 engraved on the pistol. But whenever I finish my adventure in passive entertainment, I have to admit that there is a point worth considering: As much as I hate to admit it, any form of entertainment encourages a set of values.
And while not all violent films glorify cruelty and slaughter, some of them do. Some are even pretty darn entertaining while they’re at it. The ability of shady characters to be so goddamn cool subtly changes our perspectives on what is appropriate. Rap music won’t capture a sensible person and transform him into a thug who slaps around bitches and hos, but just talking about women in this way reinforces the ideas of those who already hold such backward views toward our fair sisters.
In fact, I’d bet money that someone reading this right now is thrilled that I just called them hos. What a jerk.
But the effects of entertainment on one’s lifestyle are highly exaggerated. Normal people like at least some amount of controversial entertainment and it never affects them.
Perhaps you play marathon sessions of Grand Theft Auto. Maybe “Sex and the City” is your thing. Maybe you lock yourself in your room late at night and watch videos of people kicking small dogs. As long as you weren’t in the “Sex and the City” category, you’re probably still okay.
Sure, violent and lewd entertainment has been linked to violent and lewd people, but most people have the cause and effect backward. Bloody movies don’t make you violent. Rather, you appreciate the blood more because you have violent tendencies. Similarly, listening to the Village People won’t turn you gay, but you just might like them a little bit more if you are.
Politically speaking, it’s silly to do anything more than talk about entertainment. No matter how revolting you or I may find “Gay Axxx Murderers” or “The Adventures of Bible Man,” we have no right to impose on everyone else’s freedom to buy 20 copies. You can get mad, denounce works publicly, and even try to embarrass the poor suckers who don’t happen to share your values, but you really can’t do anything to stop them.
Unless, of course, you don’t value freedom. I guess then it would be okay to pass laws against sedition, sodomy or obscenity. Thankfully, articulate people have a better option. A good argument will probably stop more people from doing their thing than some silly law anyway. And if you don’t have a good argument, then you probably shouldn’t demand that people obey you anyway.
For my part, I would like to go to Snoop Dogg and say, “Snoop, I love your music. But I take issue with your treatment of women as objects. Sure, you can have sex with any of a dozen gorgeous women, but if you got to know them as human beings, you’d find your relationships even more rewarding.”
He’d have no choice but to agree.
Daily Nexus columnist Loren Williams actually has a bit part in “Bible Man 2: The New New Testament.”