16 August 2012

TV News and Horror Movies

Every time I accidentally turn on television news, I swear off it once more.  It’s difficult for me to believe what the people who make the programs see as news, what they present simply in the hopes of having better ratings.  This weekend I saw a three-minute newscast during halftime of a football game, and the top stories had to do with a little girl dying, a car accident in which someone died, and a shooting.  In a city of several million people, were these really the only “news” stories that they could find?  Why do they think that their viewers want to see only death and destruction?  And what does it do to us and our outlook on the world when we constantly fill our minds with such horrible things?

Somewhere along the way, we’ve come to think that anything that involves death is front-page news.  And we even see it become fornt-page news again sometimes, on the anniversary of an unsolved horrible murder, for example.  But there’s so much more to the world than this–so much more to our lives than deaths of people we never knew, or crimes done by people we don’t know, perpetrated against people we’ll never meet.

What do you fill you mind with?  Do you fill it with positive and uplifting ideas and material, or do you fill it with murder and mayhem, horror movies and crime novels?  Our entertainment also has taken a strong turn towards the awful, as horror movies–and even television shows–become much more graphic with their violence and crime.  And while it is “only” entertainment, we have to wonder what the cumulative effect of filling our brains with this sort of thing can have.  After all, cookies and candy are “only” cookies and candy, but if we fill our bodies with them regularly, we will see extremely negative effects on our physical health.  So what are we doing to our mental health when we constantly watch victims being brutalized by criminals, whether it be fiction or not?

Personally, I’ve sworn off horror movies.  I feel too strongly for the victims, and I feel awful after having watched a couple of hours of brutality.  I never want to reach a point at which I’ve desensitized myself, at which I can watch a rape or a murder without feeling intense feelings for the victim.  My sensitivity is what allows me to feel the compassion that I feel for my fellow human beings, and I don’t want to lose that.

We all have decisions to make in life.  Sometimes we fall into ruts in which we don’t realize that we really should make a decision, such as allowing tons of negative stuff into our brains.  It took me a while to realize that unless I was willing to close the door to that sort of thing, I would continue to hurt myself and desensitize myself by constantly watching the same types of violence over and over again.

(And on an artistic note, this type of violence in film and on our TV news shows nothing but a lack of creativity and originality on the part of the people who make the movies and programs.  It takes true creativity to present violence in ways that aren’t so brutal, and true originality to look for the true news in any community–and most of the people in the business are just doing what’s easy, following the status quo and not taking the time or making the effort to be creative and original.  It’s kind of a shame, really!)

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