The medical and mental health communities are now famous for their unsophisticated condemnations of media violence–often quickly assuming the link to real world crime and mayhem based on observations of small children or from uncritically accepting spurious research.
Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is back on the warpath again, spurred on by recent mass shootings, as reported in the Los Angeles Times
“When the first “Die Hard” and “Terminator” movies landed in theaters in the 1980s, both were rated R. But their sequels arrived with PG-13 marks — even though the level of violence had actually escalated.
“Critics have blasted Hollywood’s movie ratings for years, claiming that the Motion Picture Assn. of America takes a prudish view of sex and foul language but a very liberal one when it comes to mayhem and bloodshed.
“A new report provides strong evidence for that critique, concluding that gunplay has tripled within PG-13 films since 1985, the first full year the rating was used. Last year, PG-13 films were actually more violent than films rated R.”We were absolutely stunned,” said Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, co-author of the report published Mondayin Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The MPAA website clearly says that R-rated films contain more violence. But PG-13 films now contain significantly more violence than R-rated films.” Continue reading “The new media violence moral panic”
Everyone was thinking this, and a few said it at the time, but this year the Academy Award show really crossed the line.
It’s always been an irreverent affair – poking fun at egotistical celebrities and, by extension, an overly commercialized industry. So, off-color jokes are nothing new. But this is a program that boasts a global audience
of one-billion viewers, many of whom watch in prime time. And this time it was frequently patently offensive. While the blame is currently being dumped on host and front-man Kevin MacFarlane, one can hardly conceive that one person is permitted to write the lines for such a heavily hyped spectacle. This is an industry putting its ugliest misogyny and racism on display, with bits of antisemitism thrown in for good measure. The New York times today summed up what people inside and outside of Hollywood have been saying Continue reading “The Oscars in retrospect”
For many years, the Worlding.org used to be invited friendly “Oscar Parties”– not the Hollywood kind, but the sorts of parties where guests bet on who they think will win awards. Unlike guests who would bet their own hunches, we would just copy the newspaper predictions. And we would always win-so much so that the invitations eventually stopped (at least we think that is the reason).
This year a similar version of Oscar predictions is all set to ruin the suspense, as election pollster has entered the fray. Below are his somewhat self-conscious preliminary words before he announces his picks: Continue reading “Oh no! Nate Silver predicts the Oscars”
The Invisible War has done something exceptionally rare. Rather than tackling an issue that’s safely in the past, Kirby Dick and his subjects have confronted an ongoing culture of sexual violence and grotesque indifference in one of the country’s most respected institutions, reports todays Daily Beast.“And instead of being dismissed as Hollywood liberalism, or creating a temporary spike in awareness that dissipates shortly after its release, The Invisible War is helping push forward action in Congress and substantive reform in the military itself.
“It’s one thing for a movie in Oscar contention to get snared in politics, or to seek out political relevance as a way of linking a film to a larger narrative. … Since The Invisible War’s release, federal action on sexual assaults in the military has instead accelerated. On January 23, the House Armed Services Committee held hearings on the investigation into Lackland Air Force Base, the site of the Air Force’s basic training: a staff sergeant stationed there was convicted of rape and sexual assault last summer, and 32 instructors are alleged to have sexually coerced or formed relationships with their students that violate military regulations. The New York Times wrote “that they are doing so is in large part a tribute to” The Invisible War, though Dick said he was frustrated that so many congressmen left the hearing to attend a vote, skipping the part of the program where assault survivors testified about their experiences.”
Full story at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/07/the-invisible-war-how-oscar-s-military-rape-documentary-might-change-everything.html
The boss of Electronic Arts (EA) has denied there is any link between video game content and “actual violence,” reports the BBC.
“John Riccitiello spoke out on the subject during a conference call with bank analysts following his firm’s latest earnings forecast. But he acknowledged that his industry did face a ‘perception issue’.
“The topic has become the focus of political debate in the US following shootings in a Connecticut school and a Colorado cinema. After the incidents, the National Rifle Association (NRA) – which itself had been accused of culpability – said the video game industry sowed ‘violence against its own people’. Continue reading “Game maker contests worries over violence”
Conventional wisdom has held that the entertainment industry has largely caved in to a teenage market demanding superficial thriller movies of the “chainsaw” variety.
But it seems that award season is painting a different picture.
Not a chainsaw was visible at the Golden Globes. And this year’s Oscar nominations seem to be going the same way. Leading Academy Award contenders like “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,”and “Life of Pi” represent both a more serious tone and show a refreshing diversity further manifest in leading nominees like “Silver Lining Playbook” and “Amour.” A.O. Scott remarks on this trend in the year’s movies in a recent article briefly excerpted below, observing that “ the Academy’s choices confirmed that 2012 was not just a strong year for movies, but also for precisely the kind of movies that are supposed to be nearly obsolete.” Continue reading “Fewer chainsaws in award season”