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Video Games And Television Aren't Violent Enough

Updated on October 26, 2009

In recent years there has been a significant upswing in whining over the amount of violence on television and in video games. However I believe that the problem with video games, and indeed, the media in general isn't that they depict violence, it is that they lack realistic depictions of violence.

In a video game, you blow someone's head off and he crumples to the ground like a sack of potatoes, or if you're playing a high end game, like a sack of potatoes made of rag dolls. Sometimes his jaw might fall off. But he'll die there, immediately. He won't gurgle and gasp for life, you won't hear the rasping death rattle as he shuffles off the mortal coil, and you certainly won't hear him cry and beg for his mother as he bleeds out alone on a cold concrete floor.

On the news you hear of suicide bombers, military strikes against terrorists and increasing numbers of dead young soldiers. You hear of civilians caught in the cross fire along with their children. You know intellectually that these things are happening, but if you see anything at all, it is usually long range footage or a picture of the dead person in happier times. Violence is everywhere, but it is presented through a veil which sanitizes the horror of it and protects us from what is really going on.

When it was finally admitted that torture was being used on detainees, there were debates over the use of torture, in spite of the fact that experts state over and over again that torture doesn't work. Why were there debates over the use of the torture? Because the cowards who were proponents of it never had to actually see it. A 60 second clip of real torture would turn the stomach of most people and make it an unconscionable act. Instead the media focused on water boarding, a form of torture that is not nearly as graphically disturbing as beating someone close to death.

Thanks to the Internet, realistic depictions of violence are more wide spread than in previous years, but there are still not sufficient depictions of the real nature of violence in the mainstream media. Online, the Israel – Palestine conflicts brought with them horrific pictures of dead children partially buried in rubble. On the television news we saw only bullet marked walls and support for Israel continued unabated. Even after Israel denied, then finally admitted that it had used white phosphorous a compound which will burn all the way through flesh on civilian populations which included children, nothing was done. Nothing at all. The international community scratched their heads, said "Hm, crispy dead children, hm, okay," and carried on with their lives.

It's not violence which is destroying society, its the detached, cartoon way we approach it.Violence has become entertainment. Violence has become a sanitized spectacle to be leered over at a distance, which is why when we accidentally see realistic representations of violence, our stomachs turn, our blood runs cold and we are enraged. We should be enraged.

Many major channels refuse to show violence citing the fact that people would be disturbed by it. I think it is more than that, we would not only be disturbed by it, we would be hurt by it, we would feel empathetic pain at seeing what has become of the unfortunates caught in the cross fire and even seeing what became of the so called 'evil doers' themselves. In not airing images, the media shields us from pain and prevents us from switching over to lighter fare. The news is no longer news, it is a business which seeks to please in order to gain market share and advertising revenue and because of that it can no longer truly inform at all.

Violence shouldn't be something we are shielded from, especially if it is violence which is being conducted in our names. If we cannot stomach what is happening, then we should not support it. Burying our heads in the sand whilst men, women and children die, killed with weapons we paid for and by people who we financially support is morally wrong.

As citizens of the world and as tax payers of various countries who lend their support to regimes which condone torture and widespread killing, we should understand that this is not something conducted by people who have nothing to do with us far off in foreign lands. These people are extensions of ourselves and we are morally responsible for their actions in the same way we would be if we paid a kid to shoot a neighbor across the fence.

It is our problem, it is horrific, and the biggest tragedy of all is the widespread cowardice of populations who allow taxes to be taken from them and used for the perpetration of acts which would have made members of the Spanish Inquisition a bit queasy.So I say show more violence on television, let us see what it is that we are doing. Let us see the chaos and havoc and wrenching tragedy we inflict on our fellow man, and then let us stop it.


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    • Nethi profile image

      Nethi 8 years ago

      I completely agree with you. People are only going to be turned away from violence if they see it depicted realistically.

    • profile image

      ILoveLingerie 8 years ago

      Your absolutely right about what you say, but I don't think it is good to publish horrible images in the news. You should not let children see them.

      It is important to make adult people aware of the cruelty that is going on though.

      Videogames are not yet mature enough to depict real consequences of violence however I'd say.

      We mostly play games for fun, we like to kill things but we don't want to see consequences. That's mankind.

      "The man [human] is evil by nature" - Thomas Hobbes

    • profile image

      Matximusprime 8 years ago

      I agree with you 100%, News is no longer news but a franchise endlessly trying to please its viewers, the moments some news that may not be pleasing its cut off so it doesnt lose its more influencial viewers.

      Its sad its come to a point where the old saying of harden up and deal with it has been replaced with "Dont show it".

      It weakens society so where just the topic of violence is enough to start the average joe into a stupid hippy rant.

      Theres a reason why hippys never have amounted to anything.

      And thats cause there shit scared of conflict, something abundant in LIFE. They never want to work, never want to learn , never want to fight , never want to lose.

      Im so suprised to be honest that a social outlet built on laziness and stupidity was able to last more then 5 seconds.

      Yet this moronic ideologoy manages to somehow to survive in Western society as if for one second being lazy and stupid is a good idea.

      If you dont want conflict: Why live? life is full of conflicts, losing, fighting, learning and working truly the only whay to avoud such "Atrocieties" death is the only answer.

      OR you grow a pair of balls and DEAL with it.

      Frankly the only atrociety here in my eyes is the sheer laziness and lack of thought.

      There should be a shock collar invented triggered by stupidity.

    • profile image

      Neonach 8 years ago

      In three words: Humanity is disgusting. Violence is disgusting. However, violence in video games and television is hardly to blame. It's the fact that we except it OUTSIDE of video games and television that's the problem. In Half-Life, we saw places flooded with radioactive waste. If we heard of that IRL, huge numbers of clean-up crews would arrive and there would be a public uproar. If someone is shot and killed, it doesn't always even make the front page. Violence is disgusting. I may play violent video games, but even if a man stands over me threatening my life, I know that it is better to die then to kill him.

      Your Fan,


    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Hope, I'm in agreement with you. That's what terrifies me most about the types of violence that are most prevelent in what our children watch and play. As a parent, I've always felt that my duty is to make sure that my children are as ready for the world as they can possibly be. This "idea" of violence terrifies me. It really does. Will they be prepared when faced with real violence? Not likely if I realy on popular media. Thanks for this great post.

    • profile image

      starfiend 8 years ago

      Hope, you are just so right about this. If politicians and broadcasters refused to kowtow to the censorship of the bleeding heart liberals and the so called right wing christian moral majority (Where do they get off thinking they are either in the majority or moral?) and instead let people think for themselves, maybe, just maybe, this world would be a better place. People would be able to see the real violence for the human tradgedy is really is, and something might get done about it.

      Unfortunately these people have banded together to shout louder, so the politicians hear them, and all they are really interested in is being voted back into office, so they kowtow and the broadcasters have to follow.

      I'm all for watersheds, so that the really truly grotesque stuff is shown when ideally the younger ones are in bed - though these days even that's unlikely, but to treat the rest of us as children is despicable, and both directly and indirectly allows the horrors to continue.