Thursday, 14 January 2016

Hollywood Second Amendment Hypocrisy: Guns for Me — but Not for Thee

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What do you call someone who wants guns for his group but not for everyone else? Lenin? Any fearful and fear-inspiring dictator? Here’s another: Hollywood actor. After all, Tinseltown’s turpitudinous titillators love guns — just not in your hands.

In fact, People magazine just wrote of 113 stars who penned a letter to the president thanking him for issuing his unconstitutional executive orders on firearms and saying he was protecting their “rights” to “be safe” and “not to be afraid.” Perhaps they’re like actress Daniele Watts, who, after resisting a policeman’s lawful commands, screamed, "I know my rights.... I played a cop on TV!" Moreover, they must know just as much about guns, because they use them on TV.

And, boy, do they ever use them — just as their bodyguards carry them. Thus, the Hollywood set is exhibiting hypocrisy, say critics, and it’s no act. As American Thinker’s Jamie A. Hope writes today:

Hollywood’s first charge of hypocrisy is the very fact that they glorify guns and violence in their movies. Jennifer Lawrence [shown], star of the violent Hunger Games franchise and American Hustle, is no stranger to encouraging violence. Yet, according to Variety, she is on a council for gun violence prevention. Bradley Cooper played real life hero Chris Kyle in American Sniper, a movie about a man who saved lives and killed terrorists with his assault weapon. Yet, he was one of the celebrities that signed the letter praising Obama on control. Jessica Alba[,] who can be seen in a myriad of movies toting guns such as a Glock 19 and Ruger Blackhawk, also signed the letter of support.

Hope also points out that, as with ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg and so many other anti-gun zealots, Hollywood’s hellions demand an exercise of Second Amendment rights that they would deny others. Yet it is what they do to others via entertainment that’s truly damnable. As Hope tells us, “A recent study of people’s brains when exposed to violent movies show that those movies make people more aggressive. In other words, the violent movies that many of these celebrities calling for gun control make, contribute to violence and these celebrities are often paid millions of dollars for it.” Far more can be said about this issue, however — and it’s far more significant than most realize.

Ancient Greek philosopher Plato once observed, “When modes of music change the fundamental laws of the state change with them”; he also wrote, “Through foolishness they, the people, deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music — that it was to be judged good or bad [merely] by the pleasure it gave.” And what would Plato say about today’s far more influential entertainment, sight and sound fed to minds via the TV and Internet?

It would be something most wouldn’t want to hear, as it's very natural to defend one's passions. We grow up with certain shows, movies, characters, and music and often become emotionally attached to them and may, in fact, identify with them so closely that attacks upon them are taken personally. And it’s then we may hear that old refrain, "It isn't the entertainment; it's the values learned at home" (they're actually one and the same since entertainment enters the home with, in the least, the parents' tacit approval). But as I wrote in 2013:

Yet it appears few really believe that refrain. Sure, depending on our ideology, we may disagree on what entertainment is destructive, but that it can be destructive is something on which consensus exists. Just consider, for instance, that when James Cameron's film Avatar was released, there was much talk in the conservative blogosphere about its containing environmentalist, anti-corporate and anti-American propaganda. At the other end of the spectrum, liberals wanted the old show Amos 'n Andy taken off the air because it contained what they considered harmful stereotypes. Or think of how critics worried that Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ would stoke anti-Jewish sentiment or that Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ would inspire anti-Christian feelings, and how the Catholic League complained that The Da Vinci Code was anti-Catholic. Now, I'm not commenting on these claims' validity. My only point is that when our own sacred cows are being slaughtered, few of us will say, "Well, yeah, the work attacks my cause, but I don't care because it's the values taught at home that really matter."

As Plato understood, entertainment is powerful. This is why Adolf Hitler had his propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, and why all modern regimes have at times created their own propaganda films. And it’s why rural teens in New York’s Catskill Mountain Range (where I’ve spent much time) started donning baggy pants and reflecting "gangsta'" counter-culture about 25 years ago and were followed by a generation often sporting multiple tattoos and body piercings. The nearest urban center was many restless miles away by car — and a click away by remote.   

Speaking of which, many worry that a child witnessing domestic abuse will learn to be violent. Yet while a person can model behavior seven feet away from the television, he can also model it seven feet away through the television. And what is the effect? As I also wrote:

Much relevant research exists, and the picture it paints isn't pretty. For instance, a definitive 1990s study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that in every society in which TV was introduced, there was an explosion in violent crime and murder within 15 years. As an example, TV had been banned in South Africa for internal security reasons until 1975, at which point the nation had a lower murder rate than other lands with similar demographics. The country's legalization of TV prompted psychiatrist Dr. Brandon Centerwall to predict "that white South African homicide rates would double within 10 to 15 years after the introduction of television...." But he was wrong.

By 1987 they had more than doubled.

Then the Guardian told us in 2003 that, "...Bhutan, the fabled Himalayan Shangri-la, became the last nation on earth to introduce television. Suddenly a culture, barely changed in centuries, was bombarded by 46 cable channels. And all too soon came Bhutan's first crime wave — murder, fraud, drug offences."

Children were raised without modern entertainment for most of history. And while violence has always plagued man and any ancient or medieval village could occasionally be pillaged, it is a departure from the norm to wean youth on a steady diet of cavalierly portrayed violence, all served up with relativistic messages. This is especially significant because young children don’t distinguish well between fantasy and reality. Just as an eight-year-old I knew who’d been exposed to old Godzilla movies told me, “It actually happened” (referring to Godzilla’s reality), to a child witnessing a brutal TV killing, “it actually happened.”

This leads to a desensitization to violence that, says former West Point military psychologist Lt. Col. David Grossman, is the precise kind used to condition soldiers to kill. Of course, much more can be said about this subject than one article can relate. But we should take it seriously for a simple reason: Morality is a prerequisite for liberty.

As British philosopher Edmund Burke put it, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” Since having legitimate liberty is an imperative, we all have an obligation to not become “men of intemperate minds” — or to make others such. And this, most of all, is where Hollywood hypocrites are truly damnable. 

 

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