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Attenborough blames films for violence

Knife.jpgRichard Attenborough, the famous psychologist and documented researcher has said that violent scenes in films were responsible for making guns and knives seen normal.

Oh wait a minute, he’s neither of those, he’s a director and actor who once played a knife wielding killer.

Okay, it’s a bit extreme, and I think Richard Attenborough is an amazing talent, but I think he’s talking complete rubbish.

Right now there are so many different moves from different groups to try and censor films and television for so many different reasons – smoking, sex, violence, bad behaviour in general, I think we’re heading back for Victorian times, and lord knows that they were ideal.

They never contended with knife, or blade, crimes, any crimes to do with guns, in fact no violent crime at all. After all what did they have to influence them?

Let me tell you now ,the problem is not guns, knives or desensitising the public to crime, the problem is people. Humans are to blame for the violence, we’re the ones who are capable of and are actually committing the crimes.

The real issue is crime, punishment, rehabilitation, and what makes people commit them, and surely it's not cinema that makes someone commit a crime.

Richard Attenborough does not agree according to the Daily Mail. He not only said that scenes of crime, gun and knife use in films and television are to blame, but it’s also the desensitising of the public to acts of violence.

In the article he says:

“Thirty years ago if Gary Cooper pulled out a gun the audience would give a sharp intake of breath”

Well that wasn’t just the appearance of a gun, and I would expect such a renowned film-maker to know that, it’s the tension building in the story, the fact that the character will be portrayed as a kind and fair man, and the music, all these things would build the tension so that there is a shock when the moment comes.

Come now though, is the fact that he pulls a gun out really the problem? In the real time of cowboy’s were killings not occurring because they didn’t have films that contained scenes that Attenborough said “abhorred the pornography of violence”?

Of course this has nothing to do with society today, the fact that media is so quick to report attention grabbing stories, that law and order is eroding away and that punishment and sentencing is going down the tubes with celebrities and rich people getting away with more and more and presenting poor examples of living. Of course it’s nothing to do with this or the fact that some people are predisposed to crime.

Oh no, it’s cinema to blame.

Of course, as usual, the very media that I said is part of the problem has blown up this story. Here I was writing this and ranting away, and we get Attenborough’s actual comments into the story:

“Now the act of violence with a gun or a knife is the norm and we in the entertainment industry are partly responsible in making the presence of weapons such as knives almost an acceptable commonplace.

So now knife crime is not thought of as something that is horrific and to be abhorred. It is part of normal existence.”

Well that’s a lot better. However, we’ve seen various reports in the past couple of years that say there is not a link between entertainment and violence, with similar reports for videogame playing. Of course if someone is predisposed to crime and is subjected to these images constantly, there is an effect, but a person like myself who has seen terrifying horror films since before he was a teen and has never committed a crime is unaffected.

There was even a report that showed violent crime decreased when there was a release of a major violent film in the cinema.

Gordon Brown, who is successfully running the UK into a pit, and David Cameron, who could well be the next leader of the UK Government, are both concerned about the amount of violence in films. In fact Cameron would like to review the British Board of Film Classification and do the same for videogames, possibly bringing back more censorship and enforced editing.

Interestingly the newspaper goes on to say that these politicians were called to do something after the BBFC released the film SS Experiment Camp which had been banned for twenty years. The BBFC themselves said that there was no evidence that the film caused harm to viewers.

Then the paper decides to go to town and wind the public up with the following claims:

“There have been a string of murders and attacks in recent years by youngsters with an unhealthy obsession with gruesome films.”

Oh has there? Well it goes on to say that the Virginia Tech University shootist had been repeatedly watching the…

“Korean slasher film Oldboy.”

Well first up it’s not a slasher film, it’s actually a very intelligent film and the shocking factor is nothing to do with gun crime. In fact is there much to do with gun crime in there?

Before Oldboy was released there was still gun crime, there were still massacres.

Then, and we can always rely on the religious element to leap on a bandwagon and start screaming about the end of the world and the degradation of society, the paper says that the Pope spoke out against violence on television, the internet and film saying it was causing great harm to society.

Oh yes, Oldboy probably caused the church led crusades, the Spanish Inquisition were inspired by Monty Python, and on and on and on. For an organisation which has a history of violent and bloody crimes, and crimes greater than that of the Virginia Tech shottings, this does taste a little sour.

The paper carries a quote from the Pope with the chequered past:

“I ask myself, could anyone standing face-to-face with people who actually do suffer from violence and sexual exploitation explain that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered to be merely entertainment?”

Wow, I’m not going to mention that chequered past as a counterpoint, but I might mention sexual exploitation within the church. Could a studio head stand up and address a group of people publicly, in front of the world's press and say “sorry for all that”, be forgiven, and move on doing the same again? Well it works for the church.

Look, I'm fed up of entertainment being blamed for the failings of humanity and society. Violent crimes and mass killings where occuring before film and television came along, what was their excuse? Novels, poetry, the written word, and we're not about to start book burning again are we?

All in all this is a case of people blaming symptoms and not going after the real causes.



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