We are surrounded by violent images.
Graphic depictions of assaults and murders qualify as entertainment on TV and in movies. Scenes from movies like Hostel and Saw are more explicit than anything you would ever see on news programming.
It’s within reason to argue our society views violence as less harmful than depictions of sex.
In the 2006 documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, director Kirby Dick examines the Motion Picture Association of America’s system for rating films. The MPAA is a board supposedly comprised of average American parents who view movies and collectively assign a rating from G to NC-17.
Neither Saw nor Hostel received the dreaded NC-17 rating.
Showgirls was released with the rating attached and became the most widely distributed NC-17 film ever, though it was a commercial failure.
American Pie, Basic Instinct, Boogie Nights and Boys Don’t Cry were all re-cut to achieve the necessary R rating to receive mass-distribution.
If sex sells, violence sells double.
The world is obsessed with violence, but North Americans worship it. Mixed martial arts fighting is more popular than boxing, and the chances of seeing one of the competitors bleed is much higher.
Fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) saw Anderson Silva recently break his leg from every imaginable camera angle — and in slow motion.
Outside of the silver screen and the octagon, violence is often newsworthy.
Moose Jaw had a couple of stabbings in 2013 and several assaults involving bear spray.
Rarely is a reporter going to be at the scene in time to take a photo of someone who was just stabbed. But what if we did have a photo of someone who was just stabbed?
If we put a violent, but not overtly graphic, photo on the front page of the newspaper, would you be upset if your kids saw it?
For some reason there’s a disconnect between the violence in our entertainment and the violence in our news. Fictional violence has less meaning than depicting the real thing.
Showing someone get shot on a TV show doesn’t capture the pain of that moment. Rarely is there any attention to the agonizing consequences of violent actions.
When people get hurt in the real world, there are questions that need to be answered.
Two protesters have been killed by bullets in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.
Though they were the first fatalities since the anti-government protests started in Novemeber, there are no casual deaths, especially when the clashes were against police.
The facts alone are disturbing, but we are visual creatures, and the 40 photos available online added a new dimension to the story.
In the shots, we see faces. The eyes of a protestor as he bleeds from a gash on his cheek. The eyes of police peering out from behind their visors and riot shields.
We need these images to connect to situations occurring in another part of the world.
War photographers have justified their work by claiming they show violence in an attempt to end violence.
Showing the real consequences of violence is necessary to reverse our attraction to the glorified versions of violence we see as entertainment.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the ed