I re-watched the “Breaking Bad” episode when Walt defeats Gus for the third time this weekend. “Could I possibly be a sociopath?” flashed through my mind as I realized I was watching three men get blown up in a retirement home. And, dare I say, enjoying it?
This is a constantly debated issue in America and all over the world today: violence and censorship in the media.
While no concrete studies have proven that violent television and video games leads to violence, organizations and advocates against media violence continue to believe there is a correlation.
The United States currently has no censorship laws about violence in the media, only censoring sex and sexual acts. While there is an age-rating system in place, violent material is more readily available to young people in our country than in many other places in the world.
So what does this mean for me, my “Breaking Bad” addiction and my neurosis about possibly being a sociopath?
I take comfort in the fact that viewers of violent material are a much larger number than the percentage of people who actually commit violent crimes.
We have to acknowledge our countries obsession with violence. It’s a very accepted part of our lives.
The “Saw” franchise made seven movies, and more blood and gore is available in media today than ever before. What is it that makes us drawn to violence?
A new study will aim to discover just that, and the results will be released later this year at the International Communication Association in London. Some researchers believe that people may be drawn to the pain and suffering of others because it will offer some insight into their own motivations and the deeper meanings of their lives.
Others argue that by seeing negative after affects played out on-screen, people are less likely to turn to violence in real life. The strongest argument in favor of violent media content remains that an average person would not be persuaded to harm someone else after simply watching or playing something violent. Only an individual who already had these tendencies would be pushed to that extreme.
Still, how does this apply to me?
Well, I think that writing this is a pretty good indication that I won’t be committing an acts of atrocious violence in my life, but as I said earlier, my main source of comfort is in numbers.
I am not the only person who enjoys “Breaking Bad.” Or Quentin Tarantino. And there is obviously a large enough audience for “The Human Centipede” that they created a whole second movie about is (disclaimer: if you are a person who watched either version of this film and found any enjoyment in it, please re-evaluate your life choices).
So we can’t all be evil, right? I also find solace in the fact that at this point in history, we are doing pretty well as far as violence is concerned.
On the whole, our world is less violent at this time than it has ever been. I mean, we literally used to tar and feather people.
So I won’t fret anymore when I go to Netflix and immediately search for “Once Upon a Time in the West” when I’ve had a bad day. “Reservoir Dogs” when it was really bad. Because we all need to feel connected in misery sometimes.