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Thread: Recommended Daily Allowance of Violence

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    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Recommended Daily Allowance of Violence

    Do you think there's a need to be more concerned about the number of violent acts a person sees in childhood or course of his or her life?

    Do you believe the number of violent acts people witness affects (or has affected) society?

    How often do you grimace when seeing violence in the media? Do you think you've become at all desensitized to violence?

    Do you think the current measures to limit adolescents' viewing of violence are enough?

    What forms of violence would you say are more/less damaging than others? (E.g. Shark Week and Looney Toons are OK, GTA and Hostel, not so much)

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    I'm not extremely concerned with childhood exposure to Hollywood violence or even News coverage of violence that is far removed from the child's life.

    As a product of as much, I think children exposed to violence, or the threat of violence, to themselves and loved ones is very damaging.

    I'm glad to see that the courts now recognize this with stiffer penalties for domestic violence in the presence of a child.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    New Member Oaky's Avatar
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    A few thoughts.. hmm.. If child sees violence and is inspired by it rather than disgusted, that'd form some sort of nurturing difference. If a child sees violence and the parents somehow insinuate that these are good to learn it can distort the child's values about it. There is also the idea of desensitisation from violence, where it becomes easy and normal to watch, or even a habit or preference. Minds can certainly consciously alter the differences between real life and media, but as long as the values against it are stronger than values gained of watching it, it shouldn't be much of an issue.

    Statistically it wouldn't be able to be easily proved. If 10 kids watch violence, and 3 of them are violent when older, and 1 of those 3 became violent by any of the factors raised, it wouldn't be obvious.

    I think most who watch violence don't have an issue, and it doesn't have to be a matter of quantity watched also.

    Personally, I cannot watch much blood without getting nauseous. I have a psychosomatic reaction to seeing any form of gore or imagining excessive gore. Most other violence don't tend to be as much of an issue.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I feel like witnessing certain kinds of violence has made it harder for me to watch those kinds of things in the media. I guess that makes sense, I can relate more and it brings back some troubling memories. Context matters a lot as to whether it will bother me though. It's difficult to put into words exactly what bothers me but I fairly frequently find myself disturbed by otherwise innocuous-seeming content. I don't know, I think seeing someone punched or kicked or grabbed must be more intense for me than it is for most people by the way it tends to be treated.

    I really dislike content portraying violence as righteous or justified, and especially when the actual violent act is relatively bloodless or tame. It seems like that's usually the way it is but it should be the opposite, it should be disturbing and wrong. In the real world violence is pretty much always fucked up and sad no matter the winner or outcome. But we have all these narratives that glorify it and people apply them to real life and we get all these people thinking they're justified in hurting each other. I hate it.

    If I get to have kids I'll be more concerned with what kind of violence they're seeing than any sexual content. It's normal and healthy for people to have sex, it's not normal and healthy for people to attack each other.

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Just happened to watch this Mental Floss just now and they speak about the conflicting research results related to exposure to Game Violence making us desensitized to Violence. At the 2:45 mark:

    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I don't buy that violence in media or video games desensitizes one to violence. I think there is an 'uncanny divide' effect going on where a human brain clearly differentiates between make believe and real.

    I've seen scads of media violence in my life, but not much actual violence. When I am exposed to actual violence (bar fight or whatever) I find it has a much greater emotional impact. So my personal experience has been media violence hasn't desensitized me at all.

    OTOH, I think repeated exposure to real life violence (domestic abuse or high levels of neighborhood street crime for example) would likely desensitize a person to other real world violence.

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    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye View Post
    I don't buy that violence in media or video games desensitizes one to violence. I think there is an 'uncanny divide' effect going on where a human brain clearly differentiates between make believe and real.
    I agree, but what I think makes the difference today however is how ubiquitous the internet is to everyone including adolescents. Most of us grew up without the internet, so we were instilled with practically inescapable cultural morays locally either via parents, guardians or communities. The internet can easily subvert that learning validating behaviors that would otherwise be considered negative as it has no sensor and no restraint, and it is nearly impossible to control. A parent or guardian cannot possibly be there to monitor every moment of a child's life and their contact with the internet. I'd point to the Slender Man stabbings in Wisconsin as an example of my case.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    it's not normal and healthy for people to attack each other.
    I disagree here. Though the emphasis of my disagreement is on the normal--the healthy is up for debate simply because of the normalcy, but in general, I think it is unhealthy for those involved.

    The reason I think it is normal isn't just because having a violent urge toward another person or toward a thing that isn't behaving the way you want is ubiquitous. I think it is far more abnormal to not have violent impulses than it is to have them daily. But the common case is self-restraint. That's a major defining feature of civilization in my mind: that the common case is self-restraint, and not just because of fear the fight wouldn't go your way.

    People have been using violence to assert and maintain dominance forever. As our interactions have grown more complex, we've wasted no time in finding ways to use those interactions for violence against each other. Economic and emotional violence may not be as visceral as physical violence, but they are still fundamentally about hurting people and asserting dominance. Cyber-bullying, like physical bullying, is a form of violence in that sense: the intent is to assert dominance and control by inflicting harm on others.

    However, even if we restrict ourselves to looking at physical violence--I'm aware of no point in history where physical violence or the threat of physical violence were not the principle means of keeping people in line. Even if we strip out armies and war between nations, physical violence and the threat of physical violence remain the primary tools of modern jurisprudence.

    The threat, the reason for most people to turn aside from criminal activities, is the societal consequences of being caught and convicted. Primarily imprisonment. But I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks simple imprisonment isn't that big a deal for most people--especially with access to amenities like books or the hypnotic balm of cable TV. I think what most people are most afraid of regarding imprisonment isn't being imprisoned but who they will be imprisoned with, and the risk of abuse by those charged with monitoring them.

    People don't want to go to prison because they fear for their lives and bodies. The goad is the threat of unpredictable violence in an environment with a perceived higher propensity for violence. After all, we're talking about an environment where we concentrate people who've committed violent acts already--and the combination of boredom and drive to establish pecking order imply a higher propensity toward violent behavior.

    This is to say nothing of the implicit violence of police response in the first place.

    Without the official, authorized threat of violence, I have my doubts we'd have much civilization at all. But it wouldn't take much to bring violence back through unofficial channels. Without a sanctioned body of thugs to enforce laws by packing people in places of heightened danger, people would be kept in check by the fear of retaliatory lynch mobs. We'd just band together in gangs. Hell, we do that anyway.

    Violence is just too conspicuous and historically prevalent to dismiss as abnormal behavior.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    I wonder about desensitization. I can remember around 99/2000 listening to a lot of radio, like at work, so plenty of clean versions of songs. Then I was out and picked up the then new CD by Mystikal Let's Get Ready. As much as I loved it for being so raw and illuminating, for lack of a better word, I felt bombarded by the profanity. It wasn't like I was appalled or offended or anything like that it was sort of a shock to they system. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard and chimed into over the years but with the corporate environment I had been living in and not taking much of it in in what I was listening to at home it was a bit like having a soda or junk food after a health binge.

    Same sort of thing definitely has happened to me in regards to MMA. In the mid to early 90s, when they were still in the single digits as far as promoting big fights on ppv, a buddy of mine told me to turn to some Spanish language channel when I was talking to him on the phone. They were showing a replay of some MMA night of fighting that was maybe 6 mos or a few years old. It was horrifying! I couldn't last 30 seconds. There was a shock/disbelief/uncertainty over what I was watching and then it was just all blood and nothing resembling skill or strategy. I asked him if he liked it and he said no but the morbid curiosity kept calling him back. I don't know if it was the crowd cheering or the victor's lack of compassion to continue to want to beat on someone who was a bloody pulp that was barely conscious. I'm not just talking taking shutting off a killer instinct within athletes, it was just a slow beating of a match I couldn't believe would be allowed to continue. There was a fight, I think between Larry Holmes and Randall Tex Cobb where Holmes was just overwhelming him, and I don't know if it was Richard Steele, who had been criticized for stopping a championship fight too soon, who was reffing the fight but several times Holmes looked over while he was pounding Tex in the corner as if to ask, "When are you going to stop this?" Just cuz Tex wouldn't fall, he hadn't thrown a defensive jab in half a minute. I was pretty young but I can still remember the announcers talking about how appalled they were. In fact, I think it was Howard Cosell's last boxing match because of it.

    I did get a chance to meet Dana White and asked him about what his goals were when he came into the sport. It took awhile to get over his sales pitch and bravado and how he told everyone to kiss his ass who doubted him and now look where he and the sport are, he did say one of his chief goals was to clean up the sport to make it "TV friendly". It's still not something I'd normally choose to watch but I can definitely seen an evolution to it. Part of me wonders if I had seen MMA as it is today for the first time back in '94, would I have been more accepting of it then because it wouldn't have been so bloody and grotesque or is it not too off putting to me now because I've become more used to it?

  10. #10
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i'm reminded of roger ebert's review of a clockwork orange where he criticized kubrick's "celebration" (in the visuals and general treatment) of the "nastiness" of the main character alex. i agree with that point he makes, and that's the difference to me. there's violence that just happens to take place within a story, and then there's glorified violence that's made to be the story and the style, that you're supposed to look up to and romanticize. i think the latter portrayal of violence can be harmful to impressionable minds, so that's the kind i'd be concerned about. haven't thought about this much beyond that.

    personally i hate gore. i pretty much have the "normal" human response you'd expect to seeing blood and guts. i don't like seeing pointless, senseless violence unless it's treated like dance or there's something different about the artistic treatment of it that makes it an interesting spectacle. i find it hard to stomach cruelty and the ugly sides of human nature sometimes even in the movies, but i can recognize it as important to a story or character.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 07-15-2015 at 08:25 PM.

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