The return of blaming Hollywood for real world violence
Resentment of Hollywood by political conservatives is very much a national pastime by now, but the biggest time of the year for that is typically Oscars night, and the couple of days after. Can you believe all of those out of touch liberal celebrities said those out of touch liberal things, while honoring those out of touch liberal films? This is the reaction to the Oscars, every year, regardless of whether it’s actually true or not.
…forever resentful of actors and comedians, while at the same time desperately wanting to BE actors and comedians.
“To every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony, to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents…Your Time is running out. The clock starts now." –@DLoesch#Oscars90pic.twitter.com/SDVjeTxyfB
Trump also proposed a Hollywood ratings system – something that has existed, in one form or another, for nearly a century.
This year’s usual Oscars reaction followed another, more old-school right-wing freakout over entertainment. When the Parkland high school massacre led to more of an anti-gun cultural groundswell than such tragedies typically have, those on the other side of the issue – from the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to Donald Trump himself – turned to a typical alternate scapegoat: Hollywood, and video games.
The video game side of the equation, which saw the president meeting with video game executives, serves to alienate the partisans of Gamergate, the noxious “political movement” that served as an earlier forerunner of the Trump-supporting alt-right. But the blame-Hollywood-for-Parkland movement may be even more of a non sequitur, and not only because Trump has always been a wannabe celebrity himself. Trump also proposed a Hollywood ratings system – something that has existed, in one form or another, for nearly a century.
No legs to stand on
The idea that violence in movies causes violence in real life has never made a whole lot of sense. Films featuring violence have been around as long as the medium itself, including some of the greatest movies ever made. And there’s never been any research showing that movies, or video games, lead to mass shootings or other violence.
The other strange thing is that violence, especially violence involving guns, is much less of a part of film these days than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. That’s because most of the prominent action films of the current era don’t feature guns or other traditional weapons, but rather… superheroes, using their superpowers. Other major action films, like the Fast and the Furious movies and Baby Driver, are more about car chases, crashes, and other non-gun-related stunts.
…most of the prominent action films of the current era don’t feature guns or other traditional weapons, but rather… superheroes, using their superpowers.
Sure, there are exceptions, such as the John Wick series. And several of the recent films that most prominently feature guns such as American Sniper, and the Death Wish franchise (most recently revived with Bruce Willis), are the ones that appeal specifically to the right wing.
The conservative side of politics is probably always going to resent the entertainment industry, for reasons that are both complicated and sort of pathetic. But whatever you think of the Oscars or the political views of celebrities, they’re far from the ones to blame for Parkland or any other recent tragedy.