Batman Movies Don’t Kill. But They’re Friendly to the Concept.

 

Update 7/28/12: In the week since this has run, some people have read it and understood, and, as the comments show, many have read it and not understood. Earlier this week I posted the caveat below to try to clarify. For some, that didn’t work — so I made this argument in a different way, with more context and specific examples, in Batman Returns: How Culture Shapes Muddle Into Madness. You may want to go there if the post below doesn’t work for you.

Note 7/26:: Since hordes of readers seem to miss that I’m writing about the effect of media on psychotic or psychopathic people, I’ve bolded those passages. And please take note: I’m not saying movies turn average viewers violent, make people crazy or homicidal, or make our country as whole more violent. I’m saying  that culture, including movies, can shape the way people express these urges. I’m not making policy recommendations.  I’m trying to get people to think a wee bit differently about the relationship — to recognize there is a relationship — between these killings and culture. As noted above, I explore these dynamics more explicitly and fully in  Batman Returns: How Culture Shapes Muddle Into Madness.

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Let me apologize in advance, seriously and sincerely, to my many friends who love the Batman movies. But I think this needs saying.

This, from the Times today, is frightening in more than one way:

Chief Daniel Oates of the Aurora police praised the arresting officers on the CBS program “Face the Nation” for noticing that Mr. Holmes’ gear was not quite like that of the other S.W.A.T. officers or he might well have escaped, mistaken for one of the responders.

This is part of what I was getting at in my little editorial about a culture of violence at the end of my piece on Aurora the other day. I may have been closer than I thought when I wrote:
…the shooter went out the exit door and to his car in the parking lot and there surrendered without trouble to police similarly clad and armed. I found it too easy to imagine that he felt a sort of fraternity with his new captors.

And his captors nearly felt a sort of fraternity with him — one that might have let him walk, at least for the time.

So a man bent on mass murder dons SWAT garb that a) makes some in the theater initially think his live-action IRL appearance is part of the extraordinarily hyped special midnight showing they’re sitting down to and b) damn near fools the SWAT team outside into thinking that he was one of them.

I don’t think this is a side-issue. We don’t know what led Holmes to do this, whether he was, to use David Eagleman’s distinction, psychotic or psychopathic or  something else altogether. But unlike Anthony Lane and many other commenters, I don’t think we can give the movies a free ride here by saying they had nothing to do with it and just provided a stage. They gave this actor his lines and stage directions.

I’m not saying the movies made Holmes crazy or psychopathic or some such. But the movies are a enormous, constant, heavily influential part of an American culture that fetishizes violence and glamorizes, to the point of ten-year wars, a militarized, let-it-rain approach to conflict resolution. And culture shapes the expression of mental dysfunction — just as it does other traits.  This is why, say, relatively ‘simple’ schizophrenia — not the paranoid sort — takes very different forms in Western and some Eastern cultures. On an even simpler level, this is why competitive athleticism is more likely to express itself as football (the real kind) in Britain but as basketball in the U.S. Culture shapes the expression of behavioral traits. The traits don’t rise inherent as an urge to play basketball or a plan to shoot up a Batman movie. A long conversation between the trait and the surrounding culture shape those expressions. Culture gives the impulse form and direction.

When I expressed this idea (perhaps clumsily) on Twitter two days ago, someone said, “That’s the argument that violent video games cause violence.” As I replied then, It’s NOT the same argument. My older son played lots of shoot-em-up video games when he was a teen, and you’d have to look hard to find a gentler, sweeter, more caring 22-year-old than he is. But it’s silly to think that we can live in and support a culture so saturated in images of violence and in the absurd availability of guns and not have that culture steer certain unhinged or deeply a-moral people toward the sort of violence that has now become so routine that the entire thing seems scripted. This isn’t a plea to ban Batman. It’s a statement of implications. It’s a fantasy to think we can indulge in fantasies like the ones we indulge in at Batman movies and pay no price.

Is this art? I haven’t seen Dark Knight Rising and had not planned to before the opening and do not plan to now, because I saw the prior two movies in the series and found them, like so many superhero movies and movies of dark, supposedly profound violence before them, entertaining but empty; overproduced, overwrought, pretentious. (I’ll admit I did like watching Michael Caine run the empire for a time.) But we’re not watching Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde here, nor Mystic River or Unforgiven. These superhero movies strike me as the Hill Street Blues of the 21st cinema: They entertain us freshly enough that we mistake their novelty for originality and their polish for art. On later review it’s clear they’re nothing special.

If this is the culture you want, well, fine, I suppose. But you’re fooling yourself if you think it stops at the exit door.

 

Addenda 7 July 2012: Daniel Lende gets at this and much more far more successfully with his “Inside the Minds of Mass Killers,” which is the single most (truly) provocative, original, and forward-looking thing I’ve read on the killings. Don’t, please, go there to bloviate. Go to read and think. Respond to his “call to expand our moral imaginations.”

Exit-door photo by jennlynndesign, used by permission. Some rights reserved.

46 responses

  1. Not only is US culture saturated with violence and the glorification of all things military, but actual US policy is one of endless war and destruction. This is what societies in collapse look like.

  2. So it’s a good job the Roman’s didn’t have films – imagine Nero after an episode of Miami Vice! Spanish, Nazis, Ivan the Terrible, Europeans in Africa, America, Pacific region, China Cultural Revolution – wonder what the Khmer Rouge were watching?
    Crazy people act crazy, somewhere down the line, they find an excuse to do it, don’t blame the catalyst for an event

    • good job missing the point, he explicitly said that it is not a direct cause and that we shouldn’t ignore how influences like the movies shape the outlet of expression.

      being ignorant to any kind of effect allows our culture to proceed in this way – is that really what you want?

      • The statement that this is not a causative argument looks like disingenuous hand-waving to me. Thinking about how “the movies shape the outlet of expression” IS causal, you’re just shifting from the causing of a *desire* for violence to how the violence is carried out. Well, you can argue that the ways violent crimes play out have changed because of cultural influences – that would be difficult – but you cannot argue that a generalised “culture of violence” has made things worse because rates of violent crime have unwaveringly declined in most industrialised nations, the U.S. included, in the past 3 decades. With these simplistic arguments, you could even suggest that our “culture of violence” has helped to decrease the crime-rate. Think about things.

      • and yet the crime rate in our violence glorifying country far exceeds the crime rate in other western countries. but this point is not relevant to the argument in the article which pertains merely to the psychological affects of our culture of violence to the already mentally deranged — hand waving? no, just your rc fail.

      • What’s the point of such an argument? That if we have an entire culture-shift away from violence in films that we might save a few tens of people every so often? It’s ridiculous. If we’re actually concerned about stopping the deranged from killing people, it’s no use pointing to a HUGE portion of culture at a time when crime is falling anyway and a change in culture would have negligible impact, we should be addressing social inequity and the ability of the deranged to obtain weapons legally. Pointing and screaming at the “culture of violence” is a useless, populist distraction from more important issues, even if an effect could be reliably demonstrated.

      • “and yet the crime rate in our violence glorifying country far exceeds the crime rate in other western countries.”

        Actually, for very significant portions of the crime rates, our rates are lower, and dropping, and even where they are higher, they are dropping. Which ones are lower? Things like “Hot Entry Burglary”. In Britain, burglars knew for years that it’s illegal to have a weapon capable of stopping their violent assaault on a homeowner. So, they don’t care nearly so often if you are home when they break in, as long as they believe they are stronger than you, or illegally armed themselves. If you remove from the statistics those places in the US where home defense is banned, the differential in rates grows to massive proportions.

        As to the mentally deranged, there are far more reasons than seeing violent movies for them to believe they’ll get what they want out of killing someone. Most prominent is the same one bullies usually perceive, …permission. This is perceived from the attitudes of society that they are not responsible for dealing with whatever pain they experience, and for doing it inside themselves. It is also from the obvious permission given by the fact they know no one was likely to be able to stop them, because, in this case, no one would be armed to stop them, in a movie theater.

        To focus only on movies is to take a *very* small part of our culture that affects how a sociopath or psychopaths will anticipate the reaction to their actions.

    • actually, please think about what you said..

      in this case you are the one making an excuse for the behavior:

      “They’re just crazy” Period? No. What is the cause of the craziness?

    • Just because they didn’t have films doesn’t mean they didn’t encourage violence in other ways.

  3. If the assumption is that violent fantasy movies make us more violent, then we should have seen less violence in the absence of such movies in the past. We have not. This assumption is complex to verify for sure. I think bad movies have more impact in devaluing the meaning of life than violent movies have on making us violent. And without any psychology experience to back this up, I would still argue than one kill in cold blood more easily when not valuing life rather than being of a violent character.

    • it’s not so much as violence causes violence (which is also true), but its manifestation in modern culture.

      I.e. going on a shooting rampage vs. shouting from the top of a mountain and punching some rocks. which scenario would you prefer?

  4. I think the sound tracks on these films are problematic. For one thing they are bludgeoningly, stupidly, deafeningly loud. TDKR which I saw with my family in a crowded Irish cinema has a constant pulsing “shimmer” of background tones designed to hype the fear atmosphere which I think functioned as white noise, partially absorbing the lower voices of the actors. So silly not to get that right with huge budget/top filmmakers. I also think the background anxiety track might be quasi-hypnotic. When you combine the relentless anxiety soundtrack with the monotonous, no relief, grey-black visual environment… and then you add grotesque ceaseless sado-masochistic violence and an offensively feeble script riddled with implausibilities and logic loopholes…that is a recipe for mental/emotional harm. I felt my mind had been somewhat injured.And I have quite a strong, critical mind. Think what these films are doing to viewers and children who are more vulnerable.

    • absolutely right — thanks for this brilliant analysis. to think our sensory perceptions do not constantly and meaningfully affect us is willful ignorance at least.

    • This is absolute wild speculation. Tempting though it reads, without a scientific basis for it there is no use just believing it at face value.

  5. Your contention that your argument is different than the “violent video games cause violence” argument doesn’t hold up. Your son’s behavior doesn’t prove much, and if anything, it lends credence to the counter argument. Your son was exposed to violence, he isn’t violent, therefore “we aren’t what we see.”

    • If you’ll read again, with special attention to the several parts I just put in bold since 3/4 of those objecting seem not to have read them, I am discussing, as explicilty stated, how culture shapes the expression of psychopathy — not how movies warp the minds of the normal or cause higher violence generally. Unless you’re responding to that idea, you’re responding to arguments I didn’t make.

    • Hello, I’m the son.

      What he is saying is that “culture shapes the expression of [already possessed] behavioral traits” (addition mine).

      I was exposed to violence and am not violent. That is not because what I have seen doesn’t shape me. Indeed, it does; I can probably imagine more vividly what happened in that theater based on what I know of gunfire into crowds and theater bombings because of what I have seen portrayed in movies and video games.

      If I was a person — as is being reference in this blog post — who had a “mental dysfunction” that was shaped by culture, as this post says, I may very well have recreated some of the violence I was exposed to. It isn’t the exposure, but the mental state of the person being exposed, that shapes the violence.

      Movies and videogames don’t create the minds that do this, they shape them.

  6. So … what’s Dobb’s proposed solution? Stop making movies with violence? Have psych tests before people are allowed in movie theaters?

    • how about starting by changing your kind of attitude?

      it’s easier to say “Look at me, I’m fine, doesn’t affect me.” – until it does, in some way or another, internally or externally – and live in denial, rather than to deal with the cognitive dissonance that occurs when you realize “oh shi-, I enjoyed that movie, what does that make me?”

      “Nope, nevermind, not me. Too much trouble, carry on.”

      • My “kind of attitude”? Infer much? The article makes the case that “culture shapes the expression of psychopathy.” With this in mind, what is the solution for lowering the number of related, public acts of violence? Or is the point of discussion to just point out that culture shapes expression? And if someone does enjoy “The Dark Knight Rises” (which I haven’t seen), what do you think that makes them?

      • I think you’re having your cake and eating it too because you haven’t thought things through. You simultaneously say that films like Batman don’t cause general trends of increased violence, yet that they will also result in deaths by the hands of the unhinged few, and from this you don’t offer a solution – so what is the point of all this except to verbosely state that films have violence in them? Obviously, you cannot expect an entire culture-shift in order to prevent some unpredictable massacres.

        Let’s actually address the ROOT problem. Even if films like Batman do influence how the unhinged carry out violent acts, we ought to be considering why they want to be violent in the first place! Batman is not the initiator of that kind of mental corruption. Many sociopaths are not born killers, but they are born in dysfunctional societies that create killers through inequity and abuse. But then railing against those is much less fun, and far harder to address.

  7. Ok — “culture gives the impulse form and direction.” But if the gunman hadn’t already seen the movie, can we really lay blame here on “The Dark Knight Rises” or other superhero movies? People who commit these acts often seem more inspired by people who did similar acts before them. Did Holmes dress up in SWAT-type gear because he wanted to look like Bane or because he was assaulting people and using tear gas? And maybe superhero movies aren’t conveying messages like they think–aren’t heroes supposed to defend people against violent acts?

  8. For a column in the science section, you should have taken a look at some crime statistics before writing this, though it doesn’t surprise me that you didn’t as your penultimate paragraph gives way to your pretentious agenda. Allow me to furnish your thoughts with some actual numbers. First, even if you shift the blame from films or video games to a general “culture of violence” (conveniently generalised to avoid criticism), you’re still suggesting some kind of causal connection. Yet, in the U.S., there was a peak in all varieties of crime at 6,000 per 100,000 people in 1980 that has steadily decreased to around 3,500 in 2009. Even if you isolate violent crime, those peaked around 1991 with around 750 per 100,000 and have seen the same downward trend towards 450 in 2009. Even more specific, the same is true of homicides.

    Now, the U.S. does have a disproportionate level of violent crime with more than double the rate of homicide of countries in Western and Northern Europe, but all of these countries have witnessed the same downward trends in recent decades despite very similar entertainment cultures. However, you and others would have us believe that this “culture of violence” is a recent phenomenon aided by modern forms of entertainment, but if we are to take these simplistic correlative arguments seriously, then we can surely only conclude that films like Batman and video games like Grand Theft Auto are reducing crime. Whether you argue that the “culture of violence” is a cause or only a manifestation of something else, you’re flat-out wrong to say it’s a problem because the numbers don’t lie.

    • you fundamentally misunderstood the arguments made in this article. there seems to be a rash of poor analysis today.

      • On reading the article again, I think you’re right that my response above doesn’t directly address the arguments, but my defence is that it was very badly and misleadingly written. I have offered something I think is more reasonable elsewhere in the comments.

    • Violent crime in the US did not peak in the 1980s. The 1890s, perhaps. But this discussion is not about that statistic and the author has not suggested the causal connections you…provide him with.

      • Discounting for a moment whether or not I’m addressing the wrong things (which I actually already conceded if you read two comments below this), let’s get your facts straight because it seems you’re just pulling things out from goodness knows where.

        First, my claim was that *all* varieties of crime peaked in the 1980s. I said that *violent* crime peaked around 1991. Still, I assume you’d take issue with that. Well, my claims are based on numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics which very clearly demonstrate that violent crime has never been so high as it was in 1991 with approximately 750 violent crimes per 100,000 (as I cited), whereas today we see about 450, which was also the case in the early 1970s. Violent crime was lower still in 1960 with only *150* violent crimes per 100,000. In between 1960 and 1991, there was a steady rise, and between 1991 and today, there has been a descent. Violent crime peaked in 1991, and that is something you cannot argue with.

        Now, are you actually going to cite some sources to back up your claim, or is this just a pure fabrication based on your fact-less ideology?

  9. You say you found it “too easy to imagine” Holmes’ bond with his eventual captors. I’m afraid that much of your fear is imaginary as well.

    Sure, we can’t rule out with complete certainty that this specific movie or those like it served as a trigger to desensitize a sick man into resolving inward or outward conflicts in a grotesque manner. But it’s fair to say that it’s extremely sloppy to link the two, at least at this point. We could write laundry lists of possible societal triggers for an event like this (politics, drugs, frustrations with a PhD program), and choosing superhero movies simply because this horrific event took place during a Batman showing makes it sound simply like you want to blame something and you’re picking the nearest thing.

    “Culture gives the impulse form and direction”. And so within that culture you single out movies? You single out dark superhero film fantasies that are perhaps the stories most disconnected from reality, with the exception of talking Ice Age animals and Hobbits? Is fantasy more dangerous than gritty realism? We celebrate Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan for their unfiltered lens into the depths of humanity’s evil and heights of heroism, but a man in a rubber suit who chases clowns and mutant penguins is worth mentioning as representative of a genre that is supposedly triggering sick people to carry out sick desires? How do the wicked need to be punished in order for the moral tragedy to be safely portrayed on film? Dark urban environments and SWAT suits on film aren’t okay, but the romantic tale of bank-robbing, police-murdering lovers is painted as part of a different, less dangerous sort of violent film?

    David, you’re very smart and a very talented writer. This is a disappointing attempt to portray the scene of a horrific crime as its cause.

  10. Having seen “The Dark Knight Rises” I can tell you that it does not in any way shape or form glamorize violence. This trilogy has been about how people (politicians, police officials, and average citizens) should stand up against terrorism in a post-9/11 world. This movie shows the result of corruption and terrorism, and yes, those cause violence. I agree that people are influenced by culture, but if this is the culture you are referring to than the influence should be to not give into terrorists like the Joker, Bane, or this shooter. We should not give them the satisfaction and that is exactly what we are doing. We are immortalizing this man. There are plenty of movies out there that glamorize violence, but this is not one of them.

  11. I must also add that Batman is not friendly to the concept of killing. A huge portion of The Dark Knight is Batman’s one rule: not to kill.

  12. To start with I just can’t let this statement stand, and have to call you on it – “But the movies are a enormous, constant, heavily influential part of an American culture that fetishizes violence and glamorizes, to the point of ten-year wars, a militarized, let-it-rain approach to conflict resolution.”
    That’s pure B.S.
    How exactly did “Mr. Poppins Penguins” for example “fetishize and glamorize violence”? Or if we’re limiting this to more adult fare how did “Nell” fetishize and glamorize violence? Even if you limit this discussion to films that depict explicit and extreme violence how did “Saving Private Ryan” or “Shindler’s List” fetishize and glamorize violence? Even if you limit this discussion to “Super Hero” flicks, what about the X-Men series of films? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the entire theme of the X-Men series of films that “violence isn’t a solution to our differences, and that one way or another we’re forced to find ways of getting along peacefully despite our most profound differences”?
    You’re painting with overly broad brush here bro. “Movies” like people, are individual entities, and as soon as you start generalizing about “the movies”, and “Hollywood these days”,  you’re bound to fall into the same traps and frankly dangerous tropes as talking about “Those People” and “kids these days”.
    Films like the Batman series (as distinct from the tv show which was pure camp), and the Death Wish series of films, belong to an exceptionally narrow genre generally referred to as “vengeance fantasy” stories, and are by no means limited to American culture.
    The film “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” was adapted by Swedish film makers from a Swedish novel by Stieg Larson which, after a successful run in Sweden, was remade in Hollywood. Sweden is hardly a culture awash in guns and violence, and yet it was an unusually popular film there.
    Lastly, “vengeance fantasy” stories are an exceptionally OLD and very broadly distributed genre found in just about every Human culture. In fact when it comes to “fetishizing and glamorizing violence” Batman and his attendant Super Villains are baby stuff, pure amateurs. Read a few of the ancient Greek classics featuring the “Erinyes” or “Furies” meaning quite literally the “Avengers”. Batman and his foes are kindly and compassionate  wimps in comparison to the Furies – Tisiphone, Alecto, and Megaera. 
    So what exactly is your point here? That basic human nature in what passes, and has passed for entertainment, for as long as humanity has existed, and in all cultures is … what exactly? Dangerous because it will on occasion set off a nutcase? So what are we supposed to do about that? Wring our collective hands? Do something about it? What should we do? What’s the point here Dave?

  13. Hitler’s testimony to the power of cinema was closely mirrored by Goebbels’s belief that cinema was “one of the most modern and far-reaching media that there is for influencing the masses,” which in turn echoed Lenin’s famous remark: “of all the arts, for us cinema is the most important” (both cited in Chapman, 2000: 683).

  14. Dobbs reminds us that we’re much closer to Holmes than we like to believe. When we talk about our culture — the American culture — we like to mention freedom and self-expression and hard work and all that good stuff. But we are no less wedded to violence, bullying, and self-delusion. It “comes with the territory” — the territory that we made and continue to fashion.

  15. You are suggesting that ‘Culture gives the impulse form and direction’ – which sounds like you are saying that we would not have to endure tragedies like this if violent movies didn’t exist? If we only had happy, friendly movies (what – romantic comedies? better to ban cinema altogether, methinks) then crazy, violent people would not do things like this?
    You think that ‘certain unhinged or deeply amoral people’ require comic book movies to inspire them?
    I would do a little research into mass murders to give you some examples of how childish this line of thinking is, but it would be too depressing for me. But I wonder – did Charles Manson just finish watching a comic book movie before he went to that party all those years ago?
    Do you think that The Catcher in the Rye really caused someone to murder John Lennon? Millions of people have read The Catcher in the Rye and (as far as we know) only one person thought it told them to kill.
    You haven’t seen this movie – the killer probably hadn’t seen this movie. But it is violent without the quality of drama that you feel other violent movies have. Or you don’t like the costumes and would prefer something violent directed by Dirty Harry.
    What is it you were trying to say?

  16. Good thought-provoking article. On one hand visual media sells 30-second ads promising customer impact, yet they say 2 1/2 hours of violence has no effect. How can they hold 2 conflicting ideas at the same time?
    Of course it has an impact on us, especially when it’s usually the solution to the hero’s problems. Our fantasies are about beating up that rude person or leaving a demanding boss helpless by quitting, not about harmony. But these shows become so lucrative by tapping into basic human triggers that it’s hard for me to imagine movies without them. I wish the movie and tv industry in general would at least admit some responsibility and moderate it.

  17. Violent movies don’t create a fetish in humans for violence but merely serve a pre-existing compulsion. Do we think we eliminated our Neanderthal competitors without a specifically evolved pleasure in killing? Similar to that of chimpanzees, our nearest DNA relatives, who wage war for territory and food resources? Do we think the all the terrible wars in history were fought without a widespread pleasure in killing? Read the Iliad with its many repeated scenes of thrusting, crunching and bone-splintering. It is time we realized that a taste for killing is not confined to “crazies” but is hard-wired into normal human brains. That the necessities of civilized life usually put a restraint on this urge merely scratches the surface of eliminating it. Of course, though, in the U.S., effective gun control would put a substantially deeper scratch in that surface.

  18. I heard this argument years ago. One side claimed our culture encouraged violence, the other asserted that it wasn’t the culture at all but ‘the guy was nuts’. Still I found it rather curious that the one who said he was nuts later went ballistic when the defense brought out the ‘not-guilty by insanity’ plea and shouted ‘He’s faking it!’.

  19. You’re an immature writer reproducing dimwitted and silly arguments that have been around since the 1950’s in one way or another. You seem to have a few mixed up quasi points in this article and also basically just blaming Batman movies while at the same time saying you aren’t. Make a point and give us the details. That’s all. We don’t need this rambling BS and talk about your perfect son.
    Batman is a superhero who beats up the bad guys that prey on the weak and the innocent. What is wrong with that? How is a hero supposed to deal with bad guys? Talk them into not raping,stealing and killing?
    I knew that this lone nut gunman would cause a storm of equally crazy people to write up their opinions all over the internet. And then to question these movies artistic weight and basically just give it a bad review without seeing it as well as getting the title wrong is just amazing to me. The film is called “The Dark Knight Rises.” At least get a point for getting the title correct next time junior.
    What I get out of your sad excuse for an article is that basically this was all just a way for you to give a film you had not seen,a bad review.

    I have some advice-Don’t see the film or any other films because I don’t think you can take it. You might see something that makes you want to cry.

    If you don’t like our culture,you can move away. Just never think that we might want to hear you spew this poorly thought out jumbled up nonsense. We don’t want to hear you. You have nothing to add.
    I bet you are the type of person who would want to ban Rock N Roll in the 1950’s!
    I hope you respond so I can talk with you some more. I am certainly ready and I am looking forward to putting you in your place again. I can match wits with anyone on anything and I need some good sparring right now. You would be a welcomed soft touch.

  20. Culture absolutely has to matter. But you’ve hit a nerve because there are areas of our culture which any reasonable person who does not participate in them can easily place on a short list of possible suspects of contributing factors. One of those cultures is the “gun culture” but people in that culture are used to this accusation and the science probably does not support a link between gun-nuttiness (and I use that word affectionately) and things like spree killings. But the gamer culture, with first person shooting and all that, and the cultish darkish fantasy fiction culture that overlaps with that are also on that short list.

    Your title says it all and you were clear in your essay though people will miss the obvious: friendly to the concept, minimally. The thing is, the subculture itself might be a bit xenophobic and prone to 4chan-esque rampage “anti-social” networking. Which is either ironic or scary, depending.

  21. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy isn’t as violent as most Hollywood fare. Batman does not kill indiscriminately and doesn’t use guns. He rarely takes lives.
    And it’s also been reported that the trailer for the new movie “Gangster Squad” contains a scene in which mobsters shoot directly at a theater/cinema audience. Was the idiot madman James Holmes inspired by that trailer? Does anyone know? And was Holmes planning a “suicide by cop”?
    Stop blaming movies.

  22. So, in summary, media doesn’t make you violent, but it does. This makes as much sense as the old ‘guns don’t people – people do’ chestnut.

  23. I’m so sorry you had to keep explaining yourself over and over again!! This argument makes perfect sense to me. Jesus christ people are idiots sometimes.

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