Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Pornography of Violence

As I'm writing this, I'm watching a popular primetime television crime show. Tonight's episode is all about a serial killer whose m.o. is immobilizing his victims, then dismembering them while they're still alive. I've listened to talk of this process in excruciating detail; I've also seen a severed head, a mutilated female corpse, and clattering porch windchimes made with human rib bones.

It's horrible, sadistic, vomitrocious stuff. But the common wisdom seems to be that if you pair horrendous story lines and gory, nightmarish imagery with noble, good-looking crimefighters who always get the bad guys in the end, that somehow makes the rest of the show okay -- "must see TV"; pop some corn and sit the kiddos down to watch too.

Interesting, the silence from the direction of the nattering Christian guardians of virtue. Evidently the positive portrayal of gay folks and the occasional bare breast or naughty word are more objectionable to them than, say, women's limbs being buzz-sawed off their living bodies.

4 comments:

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I can't protest about something I don't watch.

But your point is well taken. And it does make me wonder about the minds of the writers and actors, etc.

However, apparently there are plenty of "church women" types who watch some of the daytime slimy soap operas. Or so we are told.

Tom in Ontario said...

I didn't watch the program to which you refer but I admit to liking the CSI shows but the kids are in bed when I'm watching. I think there's a little "cop show" and "reality show" overload on TV these days and not nearly enough of the sitcoms that I'd be glad to let my kids watch.

We've been buying "Home Improvement" on DVD to watch, and we've got every season of M*A*S*H on DVD. We seem to watch more discs than what's being broadcast.

But I know exactly what you're saying. A lot of TV is going more and more over the top.

chartreuseova said...

We vote with our remote and money. You'll almost never find a crime show on in our house. And we send a donation to our PBS station each year. But then we don't fit in the "guardians of virtue" mold either since reasonable sexual themes like you mention might be found on our TV screen and we allow our 5 yo to watch the Simpsons (yeah, we're bad parents!) with adult supervision. However, she is no longer allowed to watch SuperNanny.

I completely agree that it is pornography, not mere violence. Just yesterday I was ranting about this very subject & said much of what you said in your last paragraph. Although you said it more eloquently.

Anonymous said...

Is there ever pornography agains men? Maybe that is why the Christian establishment doesn't protest.