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Published:September 17th, 2009 14:36 EST
Pop Culture Saturated With Violence

Pop Culture Saturated With Violence

By Tony Graff

Dane Cook, a popular comedian, shares with audiences a sketch talking about car accidents. He mentioned how he, and probably many others, wait with our collective breath held whenever we hear tires screeching in the hopes of hearing a sick crash. His sketch shares more truth than he probably will admit. 

Looking at popular TV shows, such as House MD, Heroes, CSI, CSI New York, NCIS, and many others, images of gore and violence keep us riveted to our seats. On a personal example, back in 2007 I got the opportunity to assist in processing three deer that had been hunted, for which I received several packages of the venison. I, for the life of me, cannot remember the conversations that took place, but I do remember the amazing crunch as a deer leg was broken, and the splatter of the deer brain as the hunter removed the skull plate. Let me iterate that I am not crazy, nor have been diagnosed as such, it was just what I remembered. 

One of the clearest examples of our love of destruction and gore comes from the video game industry. Many of the most popular games are the most violent. Wolfenstein, Left For Dead, Prototype, Army of Two, Bad Company, Silent Hill, House of the Dead, Manhunt, and many others reward players for the grotesque pixelated carnage. 

The thoughts that hit me now wonder if there is a purpose for such entertainment. Even if we are naturally drawn to it, that doesn`t necessarily mean that we are to embrace it wholeheartedly. Ask a moth about lights. The people I have talked to about this state that violent games assist in venting stress. I have to agree on that one. If I shoot a couple hundred zombies in the head, then I am calmer than before. That I don`t question. If that were the majority, then I would think that psychologists and anger management specialists would have perscription pads saying "Wolfenstein, 20 minutes twice daily." I have yet to see it. The only time a video game, to my knowledge, has be prescribed is Dance Dance Revolution. Not violent. 

Even more minutely is military training. Rumors buzz around the internet that there are first person shooter type games that are used to train military. While the games I have seen look that accurate, and require using skills the army may need, that`s stretching it just a bit. 

When it all boils down, our infatuation with guts and blood will continue, and many will even making a living off of it. But we are still missing, in my eyes, a legitimate reason for this addiction. We seek peace, but glorify killing. We desire security, but reward simulated destruction. It seems we are first training the violent, then punishing them for being so. Let`s find something better. 

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