Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Love of Violence

I act as an "artist in residence" in the "Documentary Studies" classs as San Pedro High School. At the moment, students are in the process of choosing the four documentaries that will be produced this semester. One of the most thought-provoking concepts proposed by the students asks why human beings - and in particular young people - are attracted by violence. Why are violent video games and gory movies popular? Why do kids gather in droves to watch a voilent fight, yet rarely interfere? The classroom discussion today explored some of the possible factors: family life, society, and the media's influence. Is our attraction to violence something that is a symptomatic of modern society - or basic human nature?


Stephen said...

Interestingly enough, I was just thinking about this subject. When I was young I used to watch all the new and popular horror/slasher movies - "Friday the 13th", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "Halloween" etc.

Then I went to film school and learned about "point-of-veiw", about how before Hitchcock's "Psycho", the camera was always in the POV of the victim, but in "Psycho" the camera put the audience in the position of the killer. This had become the popular norm ever since. Upon viewing one of the umteen sequels of "Hallowen", I saw that this was true, and moreover, that the audience really got off on killing. It creeped me out and I stopped going to those movies.

Now, I am in my 40s, and have seen enough real violence that I don't need it in my entertainment. And with all the ads for "Saw" and "Saw II" and all their ilk, I still get creeped out.

Stephen said...

I believe young people are genetically inclined toward violence so that they can "weed out the herd". Before the laws of modern society took over, the smaller and weaker of the species were probably killed off before they could reproduce.

Older people, who naturally interact with other older people well past their initial reproductive stages, would feel less of a need to cull the weak.