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Let Them See Death

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I have never quite understood the attraction of gory films and especially not the modern type of horror movies such as Hostel I and II, the Saw series et al. However, their attraction is something that rather interests me both from a psychological and creative perspective.

I have figured out why young men – and they are mostly young men – like this sort of thing. They feel it's a virility test to sit through and not cringe or look away. It's even more so if there is a woman around who balks at the scenes on the screen. Why is this a manly test? Its because the media in the West, more specifically the Anglosphere, are keen to keep young adults naive about death and destruction.

They are so keen to create a bubble for people to live in that they have desensitised a whole generation of young men. These men seem to enjoy seeing depictions of torture and over-the-top violence. Is it any wonder that some of them, once in the military or another position of dominance, act in a despicable manner?

I am willing to bet that most of these viewers could not sit through a live autopsy or even in some cases an operation. Because violent entertainment is "not real" they can handle it, but when it's genuine, they would likely have a hard time. These are the types who are perfectly happy to see people disemboweled on screen but the thought of dressing a deer turns them off.

These sort of things show up on TV and in the newspapers in all but certain Western countries. I can remember, as a very small child, seeing pictures of the bodies that resulted from Hurricane Fifi in Honduras. Their press could care less about showing a dead baby recovered from a buried house. They were reporting the news as it happened, pulling no punches.

Now you see I am not calling for anything to be banned. In fact I want there to be less news censorship on television, not more. When these young men are exposed to the real thing, perhaps they'll have less of a penchant for mainstream snuff films. If they don't buy tickets, Hollywood will stop making the films. Because whatever you think of Hollywood, we can all agree that money talks and bullshit walks there. If it doesn't sell, they won't make it.

My solution to this problem? Very simple. It's time that the media should start showing the not-so-nice bits of accidents, terrorist attacks, and war. They should no longer mollycoddle their younger viewers and allow them to see the real world in all its gory detail. Burnt and dismembered bodies, explosions and killings should all be shown for what they are.

The excuse that it's saving the feeling of those involved does not seem to hold any weight. Networks were perfectly happy to show people jumping from the Twin Towers after 9/11, but balk at showing the body of someone shot in the street anywhere in the world. Those who loathe Western civilisation say we are all getting soft.

It's time to take the blinders off. News should be reality, however ugly it might be.

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About Marty Dodge