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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Les Miserable or Django Unchained: More Grace or More Violence?

I finally was able to see the movie version of Les Miserable. Stunning performances by the actors, beautiful cinematography and an incredible story of grace and forgiveness. One could not help but be moved by the message—every life is of value and worthy of God’s forgiveness and grace. I was moved to tears.

But the contrast of the movie trailers preceding the film is what struck me.  Every single film had intense violence in the trailers. I felt assaulted. Especially considering the timing. We just witnessed the burial of first graders gunned down by a heartless trigger happy adult, and now we promote movies in which violence still reigns supreme and “entertains” Americans.

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I might be alone in this, but I find nothing entertaining about the download of violence that continues to be promulgated by Hollywood. And one of the new movies in the trailers was Django Unchained, an incredibly violent movie with an over the top massacre scene directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino is known for creating violence on the screen. It is his trademark.

Yet, he became incensed by reporters who asked about the connection between movie violence and real violence. He refused to answer a TMZ reporter when the question was posed and became rude. He told the TMZ reporter that he had no obligation to explore the topic of real life violence. He reportedly got hostile with a British interviewer as well.

Hmmm…becoming hostile when asked about violence? In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary violence, is it really a leap to ask about violence on the big screen? Does Hollywood have any culpability in helping curb violence in our culture?

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Hollywood. Home of the entitled and privileged, many of whom feel they can do whatever they want with little consequence. And how dare we ask them to explain their actions or thinking on the heels of one of the worst violent crimes in recent years. While violent films may not create a violent killer, the jury is out on the impact they have on all of us. Issues like desensitizing us to violence, creating fear and anxiety in terms of a world view, have been determined to be a result of violent media.

It’s time for media producers to do a little self-examination. We can have all the conversations we want on gun control, safety in schools but don’t tell me that the constant bombardment of violent images, graphic brutality doesn’t play on the minds of the unstable. However, Hollywood continues to award this type of violence and take a hands off approach regarding their own culpability when it comes to our violent culture.

The question to ask is, what good does all this pictorial violence do for average American viewer? Does it help us become better people and treat our brothers and sisters with more care?

For me, we could benefit from a lot more of Les Miserable and a lot less of Django!

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