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violence in entertainment is FAHRENHEIT 911

The title of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is a play on the title of the famous Ray Bradbury novel, "Fahrenheit 451" in which society has been transformed into an authoritarian, repressive regime, in which subversive ideas are crimes and books are burned. In the book, a lonely protagonist is awakened to this reality and joins the struggle to keep underground dissidence alive.

In Michael Moore's movie, he leads an above-ground assault on the Bush Presidency, questioning his legitimacy, his character, abilities and, most of all, his attempt to fight terror through the war in Iraq. And similarly, his method of attack is by trying to bring to light the facts that those in power have tried to suppress.

Just like every Moore movie, it shows people looking stupid to humorous effect and it shows the heroic tales of common people who have suffered tragedy. And Moore blames their plight on the rich and powerful. In his other movies, the presidents of General Motors and the National Rifle Association, for instance, bear the brunt of his blame. In this movie, it's George W.

In its best moments, the movie is a strong, anti-war documentary. It has truly moving moments of bereaved loved ones, mangled bodies in the streets, incredulous soldiers in Iraq, angry Iraqis and innocent teenagers being manipulated into enlisting. In this way, the movie presents a version of the war on Iraq that isn't shown much in the media. It improves our understanding of the war by giving it a human face.

Asking members of Congress to enlist their children in the war was a good idea, as it emphasized an important point of his: that it's the poor and
uneducated that fight the wars that politicians vote for. But it was probably one of those things that should have remained just a neat idea - the actual confrontations are just embarrassing for Moore, the politicians and the audience. Perhaps it's an embarrasing reality we all ought to face, but maybe it's just tasteless. Either way, the point remains forceful: the heroism of all these disadvantaged young people should only be used as a last resort.

But Moore's movie isn't just an anti-war movie. Part of the movie is an attempt to question and expose the political images being projected. This starts off with a dreamy sequence of Al Gore celebrating victory in Florida that, Moore says, was manipulated by Fox television into a Bush victory. But it's further emphasized by the Bush politicians getting their hair and make-up done before going on TV. And it takes on an insidious character when the misrepresentation, misinformation, and lies about weapons of mass destruction are exposed. The feeling we get is that they're trying to paint over themselves and their policies.

Moore also tries to reinforce the early image America was getting of the President, before 9/11: a man who bumbled and misspoke, whose ideas and agenda were almost none of his own doing and who, when tragedy struck, remained dumbstruck without anyone to tell him what to do. What's most scary about the images of Bush is just how transparent it is that he's saying things he doesn't understand fully and how forced his attempts to stay on message seem. Perhaps we would all do and say stupid things if a camera followed us around all day-and Moore is an expert at finding and exploiting just these instances-but this is hardly reassuring.

Moore also suggests that Bush didn't do enough to go after Bin Laden because of his family connections. The fact that the US sent in over
100,000 troops into Iraq and only 11,000 into Afghanistan to search for Bin Laden is certainly a telling statistic. But the movie labors to show
business connections between Bush and Saudi Arabia, which might be relevant as one fact among many, but by spending so much time emphasizing it, it feels like an ad hominem attack: the Saudis come off looking demonized, as if it was bad to be friends with Saudis. Bush's connections are suggestive of ill-motives but do not form a strong argument about what his intentions actually were.

To be fair to Moore, the Democrats are not presented well either, being shown as passive supporters of a wrongful war. ... more

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Youth Violence And The Mass Media

Introduction
The problem I am researching is the desensitizing of Americas youth through violence in the mass media, specifically television and video games. I am interested in studying it because as violence on television and the violent content contained in video games has increased, so has youth violence. I want to find if the increasing violence shown on television and video games has a desensitizing effect on Americas youth, thus, increasing the probability that they will commit an act of violence. I believe that this research is important because I think violence on television and video games is a form of classical conditioning. In the movie, A Clockwork Orange, the character was given negative reinforcement whenever he sees acts of violence shown to him on television. Eventually, he becomes repulsed by it and feels ill every time he sees or thinks of committing an act of violence. I think television and violent games are having a reverse effect on Americas youth. Violence is glorified in the mass media, thus youth become to associate killing with entertainment, they see violence as the manly thing to do, and they see how violence on television often goes unpunished. I feel this is a cause of youth violence because of the desensitizing nature of violence on television. One study showed that network programming averages 36.6 violent acts per hour. Is there any question that this would have a desensitizing effect on Americas youth over time?
Literature Review
I looked at five other studies that were related to my research. The first was from an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitled Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill. In the article, the effects of violent video games on youths were studied. What was found was that real-life violent video game play was positively related to increased aggressive behavior and delinquency. Also, academic achievement was negatively related to the overall amount of time spent playing games. This study involved two different forms of observation. The short-term effects (laboratory aggression) of the video games was studied using laboratory observation, while the long-term effects (increased delinquency) were studied using surveys.
Another study I looked at was an article from the Sociological Spectrum entitled Violence, Morality, and Television Commercials by Brenden Maguire, Diane Sandage, and Georgie Ann Weatherby. This study examined whether violence in television commercials was related to declining morality and rising crime among youths. A content analysis was performed of 1699 commercials shown over sixteen days and evenings in January and February of 1996 and June and July in 1997. What was found that only a small percentage of commercials contained violence and a small number of commercials exhibited behavior or attitudes contrary to conventional moral standards. Maguire et al concluded that although advertisers sponsor programs that feature violence, they do not wish to associate violence with their products. Therefore, commercials have little to effect on the increasing aggressive tendencies of Americas youth.
The third article I studied was from the journal, Aggression and Violent Behavior 4, entitled Film Violence and Young Offenders by Amanda Pennell and Kevin Browne. In this article, Pennell and Browne found that screen violence can affect consumer behavior by: imitation of violent roles and aggressive acts; triggering of aggressive impulses in predisposed individuals; desensitizing feelings of sympathy towards victims; creating indifference towards use of violence; and creating a frame of mind that sees violent acts as socially acceptable responses to stress and frustration. Pennell and Browne found young offenders like violent videos because of their aggressive backgrounds and behavioral tendencies, but concluded that whether such tastes in film reinforce violent behavior and increasing frequency of aggressive acts is debatable. The methodology used in this study was laboratory observation, with each youth being shown a violent video and their immediate reaction as well as their impression of the video late being noted.
The fourth article I used was entitled Cutting Film Violence: Effects on Perceptions, Enjoyment, and Arousal by Mike Berry, Tim Gray, and Ed Donnerstein. This article was taken from the Journal of Social Psychology. This study investigated the effects of cutting specific graphic scenes ... more

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