Re: DIPLOMACY: Memetic Morphing

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 15 Nov 1998 12:58:09 -0500

Patrick Wilken wrote:

> >If TV is a really great source of violence, then the natives of Rwanda must
> >really have been watching a LOT of TV before they went out with machettes
> >and killed several hundred thousands of their fellow citisens with
> >machettes.
> A bit of a strawman argument no? Do you really mean to say that if TV leads
> to violence then its the only cause of violence?
> More to the point: I don't think critics of TV violence are trying to say
> that TV leads naturally to more violence, but perhaps desensitization to
> it. Some argue that it is bad that we teach our children through television
> that violence is a game and that death is not important. There is some
> bizarre statistic that by the time a child reaches 15 they've seen upwards
> of 10000 deaths depicted on television.

So how does this compare to a child who sees hundreds of his or her neighbors slaughtered in front of them by government or guerrilla thugs? Also, how does this compare to children who grow up on farms where animals are slaughtered as an everyday practice? How about to a child whose parents are abusing each other and their children on a daily basis? I'm sure that compared to a baby raised in a bubble there may be a difference, but compared to children raised in the real world, not in the suburban fantasy land, I doubt that there is much difference. Making suburban kids aware that the rest of the world does not grow up in their saccharine way of life may even be of benefit to them when they leave their cocoons...

> Note: I don't necessarily believe TV does any harm to a child, but its
> silly to misrepresent the argument.
> >Exposing the
> >biggest problems in society so that it is possible to act upon them before
> >they becomes reason of mass violence.
> I wasn't aware that most children's shows dealt with real problems. Did I
> miss that episode of Scooby Dooby Doo or Lost in Space? OK. So I'm showing
> my age, but I do not believe TV shows have become that much more socially
> relevant in the intervening years (nor perhaps should they).

Any show that glorifies the perpetrators of violence would obviously have a suggestive impact for the negative. However the perpetrators are almost always defeated by normal people meeting fire with fire, which is a rational, logical, real world solution to agressors like Saddam Hussein or the local gang banger.