|It’s been a panties-in-a-bunch complaint since James Cagney first picked up a tommy gun, and it’s usually made by writers and pundits who know next to nothing about cinema or image culture. Adam Lanza might’ve owned and loaded his .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic and10mm Glock, the logic goes, but it was Quentin Tarantino and the designers of the video game Call of Duty that compelled him toward his morning’s work last December.
Michael Atkinson blogs at
Zero for Conduct
This is idiotic on its face, but not for the reasons you’ve been hearing. Yes, the scientific literature has demonstrated over and over again that consistent doses of violent media do increase aggressive behavior in children. But this conclusion is nearly impossible to separate from the quality and sensibility of all other types of media, economics, family structure, education, social support systems and so on. It’s likely that the proposition has it backward—media is and always has been a symptom, an expression, of our collective will, not its cause. A culture-wide phenomenon that entrances hundreds of millions of consumers isn’t a “seduction of the innocent,” as anti-comic-book zealot Fredric Wertham called it in 1954. It’s more of a collective lifestyle. [...]
I’m not concerned that ultra-violent films and video games exist; I’m concerned that, increasingly, that’s almost all there is. For several generations now, the homicidal reflexes that structure these media entertainments have become second-nature, and other narrative paradigms are being phased out. But the larger reality is that these reflexes are present everywhere in our pathology, in our global politics, our sports culture, our criminal justice system, our weapons policy, our right-wing TV cant, our ignorant myths of our own national history, even in our capitalism, which revels in the conquest over the hapless many by the moneyed few.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—A brief, and brutal, history of the Chamber of Commerce:
|Bill McKibben, Kossack, author, and co-founder of 350.org, a global campaign to fight climate change writes the definitive short history of the Chamber of Commerce.
From the outside, you'd think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce must know what it's doing. It's got a huge building right next to the White House. It spends more money on political campaigning than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined. It spends more money on lobbying that the next five biggest lobbyists combined. And yet it has an unbroken record of error stretching back almost to its founding.It starts with the New Deal. The Chamber "accused Roosevelt of attempting to 'Sovietize' America; the chamber adopted a resolution 'opposing the president's entire legislative package.'" Opposition to FDR continued, shockingly, through the Lend-Lease program, designed to supply the allies with critical material to fight the Germans, and which brought a tremendous boon to American manufacturing. But more, the Chamber opposed American involvement in the war, the war which "triggered the greatest boom in America's economic history."
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