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We Glorify Violence and Depravity
Television's Depiction of Criminals
Does television glorify our worst criminals?
Time and time again I see shows on television that show violent criminals in a positive light. Most recently I have seen documentaries depicting gang violence as exciting and admirable on the History Channel, (though I quite often see comparable material on several other cable stations as well).
As I'm watching these documentaries, I notice that the camera angles and lighting during the interviews are made to make the interviewee seem powerful and intimidating. The narrator's tone and and language further present the perpetrator as someone who should inspire awe. The narrator's gravely intonations describe how johnny the gangster is "hard core and knows how to outwit local law enforcement. He is among the most dangerous and respected of his organization and he has the scars to prove it."
This kind of shit is part of the problem! Now obviously you and I would not be inspired to become gangsters or drug dealers or serial killers by watching cable tv, but remember this: half of young kids have a below average IQ and/or are highly impressionable especially when it comes to televised images of power. These kids are apt to see this and honestly think, "Wow. Now that guy gets taken seriously. I want to be respected and feared like that and get interviewed on tv while some guy with a raspy voice tells everyone I'm a badass."
I know for a fact that many kids think this way because I have worked in a juvenile detention center and have worked with kids on probation for gang violence. There are tons of kids whose parents are way fucked up and never teach them the most basic things in life. Therefore, they learn everything from there peers, television, and now, the Internet. Glorification of violence and crime in mass media and our society has got to stop.
Take for instance the phrase, "Sexual Predator." How is the word Predator usually used? What sorts of images does it conjure up in people's minds when they hear just the word Predator? It sounds like something badass like a lion or tiger or eagle or shark. There's no way in hell that rapists and pedophiles should be lumped in with respectable animals that we see on National Geographic. They should be called "Sexual Scavengers" or "Sexual Bottom Feeders" or "Sexual Cockroaches." Even those words are too good for them, much less "Predator."
Then there's serial killers and mass murders described as "cold-blooded killers." Well, yes, they probably are cold blooded in a sense, but the way that the phrase is voiced by the narrator implies that this is a good trait to have if you're going to be doing some killing. Just listen to how they say it next time. It sounds like they're trying to sell us insecticide. "Use Raid Wasp Remover! It's a COLD-BLOODED KILLER!"
Glorification of violence and crime is detrimental to our communities and neighborhoods. Criminals do not deserve one ounce of admiration for their depraved and heinous acts. At best, they should be mocked and ridiculed for being a cancer to society.
Our kids need to be shown that respect is given to those who earn it rightfully, not those who snatch it illegitimately and shamefully. Hollywood style glorification should be saved for people who deserve it like those who promote peace, compassion, and wisdom.
We are all part of society, and we are responsible for it's condition.