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Friday, August 10, 2012

A Listener Responds to Episode 3 of the Amirica Podcast

In Episode 3 of the Amirica Podcast, Robert Fortuin shared his views on violence in the media.  In response, a critical (yet cordial) listener wrote the following: "It troubles me that Amir had no opposing viewpoints." So, in the interest of impartiality, I decided to paste his comments below:

As a precursor, Robert is my best friend in the world. We don't agree on everything but I love him to death and vice versa. So, please don't read any kind of attack here.

OK, so here's my problem with all of this. If we look back a early American history, there was a hell of a lot more violence than we see today. By way of example:

"In 1851 &1852, the California legislature passed several Acts authorizing payment of over $1.1 million to reimburse citizens for "private military forarys." And again, in 1857, the State authorized an additional $410,000 for the same purposes. And the U.S. Congress reimbursed the state for what was nothing less than subsidized murder and genocide." (http://www.cabrillo.edu/~crsmith/anth6_americanperiod.html)

These were "Christians" with a sense of manifest destiny who as a society wiped out nearly 10 million people without blushing. Then we had the nerve to protest Japan's imperialist expansion attempts and ignored our own guilt. 

As a society, America has always cherished violence. Not merely for entertainment but actual, deadly violence torture and abuse. 

To my mind, violence in the media is simply a reflection of the American consciousness, a consciousness that was born in and suckled on the extermination of millions.

I disagree with Robert's idea of stylizing. Compare Saving Private Ryan to any of the old John Wayne westerns and you can clearly see that modern movies take great pains have to make the violence as real as possible on the screen. Add to this shows like CSI where slow-motion up-close reenactments show a bullet entering a body and showing precisely what happens. 

And as far as "ends justify the means" and the idea of vengeance, well, ever read the Bible? There is some horribly graphic (and real - not for entertainment) violence that fits that bill all throughout.

It troubles me that Amir had no opposing viewpoints. Next time, let me join the conversation and let's see where it leads...