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Big Media Gatekeepers Prohibit Substantive Discussion, Shift Blame for Gun Massacres

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Violence pornographer Quentin Tarantino was featured on Iowa Public Radio this morning as a guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. It was shocking to hear Tarantino say that media violence has nothing to do with violence in society. Tarantino complained to Gross that talking about violent media content is disrespectful to the memory of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School gun massacre, "totally disrespectful to their memory." He told Gross that her questions about media violence were annoying. "I'm really annoyed. ... Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health" [sic].

Newtown Massacre
Newtown Massacre
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One wonders, does anyone at IPR or NPR realize how very dangerous, disgusting, immoral, and insulting to the social science community this kind of self-serving and self-indulgent rationalization by a wealthy and socially and politically influential megalomaniac in defense of his supposed art is? Is Tarantino's "art," which incites deadly violence, any less deplorable than, say, the notion that, "evolution is not science because it is not observable or testable"? After all, the evidence that violent media content is a significant factor in societal violence is compelling. The research is persuasive beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was habituated to violent first person shooter (FPS) video games. So too was the Heath High School shooter Michael Carneal. So also were the Columbine killers Harris and Klebold.

But Tarantino, who routinely glamorizes and glorifies violence, mayhem, and murder for profit, doesn't want to discuss - or allow any substantive discussion of - the role of violent media product in gun massacres such as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 first-graders were murdered by a deranged young man who had become habituated to violent media product. Neither does the Big Media mob's well-heeled gatekeeper David Brooks.

Brooks, who in 2012 bought a $4 million dollar home in Washington DC's exclusive Cleveland Park, declared on NBC's Meet the Press just days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that there is no significant connection between FPS video games and school massacres. The following Sunday in the same venue, Brooks delivered himself of the opinion that President Obama, "governs like a visitor from a morally superior civilization." In 2013, Brooks is scheduled to teach a course at Yale University on philosophical humility. (Couldn't make this stuff up.)

Violence is central to American popular culture because violence is central to the entertainment industry's most lucrative product lines and revenue streams.

Tarantino has made himself a fortune and become famous by creating, promoting, and peddling socially-destabilizing violent media content to huge audiences. Maybe if these wealthy mobsters, Brooks and Tarantino, were forced to ride along with the first responders who interact with the victims, the dead and the wounded, to ride along with the first responders who investigate the massacres caused in part by the Big Media violence porn industry they so vociferously defend, maybe if Brooks and Tarantino were tasked with mopping up the blood of the dead from the floors and cleaning the spatter from the walls of American schools, shopping malls, houses of worship, movie theaters, and workplaces they'd form a different impression with regard to the social impact of violent media product.

Again, the scientific research regarding media violence as a significant factor in real world violence is conclusive, beyond any reasonable doubt. So too is the relevant Christian religious teaching generally accepted.

By the way, if you disagree with my characterization of Tarantino as a creator of violence porn, consider his thinking on that issue here.

"In 2006, when Tarantino sat down to write the script for Death Proof, his contribution to Grindhouse, the first scene he came up with revolved around the tale of Jody the Grinder, a character from black folklore with, as Tarantino put it, 'the biggest dick.' Jody, so the story goes, was perhaps a bit too generous with his anatomical endowment. When his master finally caught Jody in bed with both the master's wife and his daughter, that was it for Jody.

"Post-hanging, Jody ended up in hell. 'He met the devil, fucked the devil, and the devil sent him back to Earth, with a curse to walk the Earth for eternity, f*cking white women,' Tarantino says today, laughing.

"He ultimately couldn't fit the tale of Jody the Grinder into Death Proof, but his interest in that kind of 'uber-masculine black male figure of folklore' carried over into the character of Django," [the protagonist in Tarantino's current production].

Not surprising, then, that some influential producer s and stars are boycotting Tarantino's latest orgy of violence.

Not surprising, either, that some people in other cultures, cultures that don't revere or reward violence pornographers, cultures that don't wallow in entertainment product that glamorizes, glorifies, and incites violence, are inclined to view America as the Great Satan, or merely as a society and a culture dangerously, and perhaps terminally, obsessed with violence.

If you can stomach Tarantino's arrogance and stupidity , his remarks about media violence are about 2/3rds of the way through the interview.
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Michael Gillespie writes regularly about peace and social justice issues. A 1999 graduate of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University, he was inducted a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor (more...)

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