July 26, 2012

"Some of the sadness and frustration following Aurora has to do with the fact..."

"... that no one thinks anyone can, or will, do anything to make our culture better. The film industry isn't going to change, the genie is long out of the bottle...."

78 comments:

Moose said...

Ann - not all of us have free subscriptions to the WSJ thru our place of work.

Just sayin'

edutcher said...

Only the first paragraph or so visible at the link.

What's there, however, is drivel.

The only people who can make the culture better are the consumers of that culture. Get rid of the teacher unions and the William Ayers curricula and teach them what good writing is and to demand it and the "culture" will improve because there will be money in doing so.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Fine. No genie back in the bottle.

Two things that would actually be easy to do, if we had the will, are:

Minority Report the crazies, instead of bending over backwards to give them unwise 'rights' ( thanks ACLU and legal profession, in general)

Shoot back. There are a finite # of them. And some not-yet-too-far-gones will be dissuaded by publicized shoot-back successes.

tiger said...

The culture is NOT a 'prix fixe' dinner, it's a freaking smorgesbord(sp).

No one is required to read, watch, listen to anything.

As for Aurora - there are nuts out there and considering the U.S. has over 300mm people the surprise isn't that these things happen but that they don't happen more often.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about the subscription link. That's a bad way the WSJ has it set up.

I tried doing it a different way.

Can you get to it now?

Paul said...

The nutjob was off his meds.

So I doubt it had much to do with the movie itself except to be 'cool' as he killed and killed.

And no, he was not fully crazy cause he meekly surrendered and told the cops about the bombs.

His days are numbered.

mccullough said...

I just saw the movie. Thought it was very good.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

"The culture" is going to change these people so as to prevent such acts? You people are nuts.

Why not "the ether"? Or magic fairy dust?

You just want to control people. Culture wars are code for the conservative's desire for/reliance upon control as a way to shape behavior.

Methadras said...

I don't give two shits if he's a nutjob or not. He planned and executed this. He needs to die for what he did and die the next minute after sentencing. Why is this so hard to fathom?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Even the behavior of psychopaths - who tend to be, for some odd reason, notoriously resistant to such forms of coercive persuasion.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The fact that mass murderers existed (and continue to exist) in authoritarian societies is pretty much all the proof that the ideologically challenged need to understand that psychopaths are immune to cultural persuasion.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about the subscription link. That's a bad way the WSJ has it set up.

I tried doing it a different way.

Can you get to it now?


'Fraid not. If you can get it, people will probably have to turn on Javascript if they have it off.

rcocean said...

The things in film and on TV effect people - especially borderline nuts.

People talk out of two sides of their mouth on this issue. No sexism or racism on TV/movies 'cause that has a bad effect on people - but Mass murder and normalizing killing - sorry no effect on real people. "Don't censor Hollywood!!!".

Kylos said...

There's an easy way around the subscription firewall. Just google the headline and access the article from the results. The wsj displays the full article for google search results.

Lem said...

Can you get to it now?

I can only see one paragraph..

Maybe you can include a couple of her salient points.. ?

Give me something I can rip to shred.

Titus said...

How much money are we going to have to pay out for these victims?

traditionalguy said...

The last 50 years has clapped its hands for victories in a war on Judeo-Christian morality that restrains evil, and also on the Christian message that men have a real hope for eternal life that provides them a meaning to the chaos developing from the mega doses of knowledge available suddenly.

Holmes had the latest mega dose of knowledge in his brain neuroscience studying perception ( Plato redux), and it literally destroyed his person from hopelessness. He defaulted to the zombie like Joker of a comic book fantasy he percieved as real in his self indulgent game.

rcocean said...

BTW, Noonan has really turned into a old, droning bore.

She's better than Dowd, but man she always wants to give everyone a cookie & a nice cupa tea and sigh about how much better the old days were.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe she wasn't responsible for the sub-head on the opinion piece, but does Noonan really expect me to take her seriously if she uses the old canard 'Everybody knows...'?

Conventional wisdom is that I will not.

MadisonMan said...

How much money are we going to have to pay out for these victims?

Ugh.

Will it help Obama's election chances if the survivors get some government money?

ricpic said...

Peggy made our culture immeasurably better by going all weak in the knees for Commiebama in '08. She sees a culture all blown to hell but at the moment of truth she threw in her lot with Doctor Destruction. No more Peggy Noonans. No more weak kneed "conservatives."

Martha said...

I just saw Dark Knight Rises --fantastic escapist entertainment.

WSJ's own prize winning film critic Joe Morgentern gave the movie a rave review.

It is a stretch to blame the batman movies for the Aurora massacre. The alleged killer was not a rational person. Who knows what caused him to lose his mind and kill.

Indigo Red said...

Though always optimistic about the possibilities of the American social system, self-improvement authors of 156 years ago lamented the moral disintegration of character. John Todd, author of 'The Young Man' (1856), described his time as one of "failures in business, of cheating and awful delinquencies of moral character -- an age of suicides, of maniacs and of murders."

Nothing is new.

Indigo Red said...

Thanks, Kylos. That truly works. Here's the whole article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443343704577549390094138950.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

bagoh20 said...

Everything with moving parts requires a little maintenance now and then. Let's get back on the road. We got places to get to, things to see.

bagoh20 said...

Oh no you don't Ritmo. Get in the back seat.

Lem said...

Anybody who writes "the genie is long out of the bottle".. what could they possibly have to say.. thats any newner?

As the professor has pointed out here in the blog... Noonan is breaking the first rule of Orwell's guide to good writing.

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

In fairness, I break that rule all the time.. but then again I'm no Peggy "touch the face of God" freaking Noonan.

Lem said...

How much money are we going to have to pay out for these victims?

omg.. is this being though and spoken of like another 9/11?

I haven't seen that.

rcocean said...

"the genie is long out of the bottle"

No, its that well-to-do's like Noonan have no stomach for fighting Hollywood. And anyway, better to let a few people die than be ally one's self with... PAT ROBERTSON!!!!!

Better not to make a fuss. Better to just write a thoughtful column and have a nice cupa tea.

Revenant said...

My frustration about Aurora is that people with agendas -- Noonan among them -- are going to relentlessly hammer on the nonsensical idea that there's some deeper problem with society, morality, or the law that let to this.

Repeat after me: shit happens. There is no master plan.

Revenant said...

Minority Report the crazies, instead of bending over backwards to give them unwise 'rights' ( thanks ACLU and legal profession, in general)

Do I need to point out the problems inherent in letting government officials declare someone crazy and lock them up without due process?

Eric said...

I distrust people who have the explicit goal to "make the culture better". "The culture" isn't responsible for one nut job going off like that.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

It seems to me that Noonan has taken something of an overtone reflective of an underlying issue which can't be presented because it is so passe' and yet subtle and controversial. What part of 'Thou shall not kill' do you not understand? That delves into Jewish and Christian practice and reflection. The movies are in part an entertainment titillating at denying that prohibition. Which isn't so bad perhaps if there is something balancing, such as religion or law. Religion is a bit in the corner. As for law, I wonder about the influence of Justice Kennedy's decisions such as that in regard to the Missouri 17 year old murderer who cheekily predicted in spite of what the law said that he wouldn't be executed and the Justice proved him right.

Lem said...

... people with agendas -- Noonan among them -- are going to hammer on the nonsensical idea that there's some deeper problem with society..

Actually, I think we should all find it offensive to be thought of as a potential marauding band.. as Elisabeth Warren put it..

When the lamest of stats does not bear this doom and gloom out.

Historically this events are as rare as plane crashes..

Again.. when a plane crashes we dont halt every plane and sit on our hands and worry that it might happen again.

We take it for granted that of course its going to happen again.

But we take it in with the good.. the risk that has afforded us the most prosperous and long living life in the history of the species.

Lem said...

"The culture" isn't responsible for one nut job going off like that.

True that.

Lem said...

Even after passenger planes were used as missiles... we were flying again within days.

Bender said...

Some of the sadness and frustration following Aurora has to do with the fact that no one thinks anyone can, or will, do anything to make our culture better.

Is Noonan still looking for some worldly savior to come and create some utopian heaven on earth? Still??

Sadness and frustration? What is sad is this woman's utter cluelessness.

Evil exists in the world. It has existed in the world for a long time. It often causes suffering, sometimes horrific suffering. Much of the time, such evil and suffering is caused precisely by those who sell people on the idea that they can, and will, do something to make our culture better.

Bender said...

The elitism that continues to spew from Noonan is what is part of the problem, the idea that if only we had the right people, the right experts, the best and the brightest, then these lords would engineer a better society.

Noonan's pals in the elite media, by sensationalizing and glamorizing the latest shooting, treating the perpetrator as some kind of twisted American Idol, is a far greater influencing factor in producing fame-seeking mass murdering copycats than any Hollywood production ever could.

bagoh20 said...

Violent crime in the U.S. is the lowest it's been in my lifetime, and NOW we think we have a problem. Get some perspective Noonan. If this event rattles you that bad, you're just getting old.

Ralph L said...

Do I need to point out the problems inherent in letting government officials declare someone crazy and lock them up without due process?
True. This is what families are for.

Stella!

Ficta said...

All I could think was: why Coriolanus? I don't remember it being any more violent than the average Shakespearean tragedy. Titus Andronicus on the other hand, is as appalling as anything I've ever seen out of Hollywood.

And speaking of poor writing: Why does she even bring up Shakespeare when she has no answer to that argument? I mean none. Is it supposed to be self evident that Shakespeare isn't as disturbing as The Dark Knight? Because if you think that, you *haven't* seen Titus Andronicus.

Lem said...

"Flower and fat... life goes on."

I just finished watching Perfect Sense (2011).

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

Let's face it, the American film industry makes money by purveying pornography.

An example in extremis: The "Final Destination" series, distributed by Warner Brothers through New Line Cinema. Each of the five films is purely and simply about people getting killed in shocking and gruesome ways. There's hardly any plot, except to glue together the death scenes.

Each "Final Destination" film is pornography, period. They are all calculated to appeal to our prurient interest in graphic violence. That makes Warner Brothers a pornographer.

I think the public needs to realize that violence IS pornography. Violent movies, violent video games (the "first person shooter" games) all have consequences in the way children and adults relate to the world. We have to understand what these are, and make personal choices for ourselves and our families about the kind of lives we want to live.

Rusty said...

Scott.
Only if you confuse what is on the screen with reality.
If anything the violence is an outlet. A 110 minute fantasy. Only the delusional would act on it. Or think that President Obama is a "good man".

(That last one was a dig at our hostess.)

Civilis said...

Violence in popular culture has always been there... see the original Grimm fairytales, for one. This may sound odd, but I hope to some degree that the violence continues to be there in fiction, as a reminder of what can happen in the real world.

Violence isn't pornography. The way you talk about movies and computer games suggests strongly that you have no first-hand experience and are just repeating someone else's talking points.

I, for one, worry that we're causing problems in media by going too far the other way in sanitizing the real world. Kids today expect a perfect world where everything can be made nice; where everything bad can be fixed and good always triumphs over evil. The real world isn't like that, and kids need to know that what they do has consequences, sometimes permanent and tragic. Better they learn this lesson through fiction rather than through reality.

Rusty said...

Which begs the question; What is our culture that it needs improvement?

gerry said...

To view the whole thing without a subscription, paste the title of the WSJ article into Google and view one of the returned links. I don't know why, but it works.

Pogo said...

I'm more worried about our cities all turning into the continuous violence of Chicago than the random nutjob murder of Aurora.

The former is a product of what got Obama into office, whom Noonan lauded and promoted into office, an indelible feature of the blue state approach wherever practiced.

Detroit.
Cleveland.
St. Louis.
Oakland.
Minneapolis.
Milwaukee.
Anaheim.
NYC.
Philadelphia.

She and her Washington elites are the destructive ones; not Batman movies. Whatta dipshit.

She's an idiot, and entirely misreads the situation.

Pogo said...

Contra Revenant, psychotics that refuse their meds and begin acting bizarrely should not need to murder someone before other citizens can demand protection from them.

Freedom to be nuts only goes so far.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Anybody who writes "the genie is long out of the bottle".. what could they possibly have to say.. thats any newner?

Any time you see a genie out of a bottle, it's a sign that the center cannot hold. It may also indicate that the sands of time are running out on something or other.

Tibore said...

"... that no one thinks anyone can, or will, do anything to make our culture better. "

Why is culture being blamed for the derangement of the individual? We're all exposed to the same culture in this country, yet for every person that commits such an atrocity, there are literally millions who wouldn't even dream of doing so.

Culture is being blamed for this shooting? Yet, on other pages in these same news sites there are stories praising the people who shielded their companions from gunfire and died for it? They were at the same movie partaking in the same cultural event!!

At some point, these bloviators must understand an individual's cuplability in choosing to be deranged. It's too gullible and simplistic an out to blame "culture" for a man choosing evil.

Tibore said...

I mean, seriously: What's actually broken in this case? Culture? Or the individual that shot everyone?

This bloviating is driving me nuts. 9/10ths of the people sounding off choose to blame everything and everyone but the gunman. What the hell?

Mitch H. said...

Meh. I see a lot of people on this thread screwing up their mouths and kicking the high chair because nanny's trying to feed them something they don't like. Look, it's all well and good to reject the Nanny State, but the first step in not being a child in the hands of an angry mother is to take responsibility for your own choices, and that includes your own, personal contribution to society and culture.

Culture isn't synonymous with society, and neither are synonymous with government. We don't marry, we don't demand standards of public behavior, we don't punish and exclude those who put their own desires and financial interests ahead of public order. That's all on our heads.

Look, not long after we decided to place "inside the bedroom" outside of the area of the public interest, we let "inside the bedroom" rules become the template for how we regulate the public sphere. We have far too many people "scaring the horses" these days. That contributes to a degradation of public order, and that sucks.

Folks are bragging about the lower rates of violent crime, but that's comparing against a truly hellacious peak of public disorder and violence in the three "Boomer decades". It's still unacceptably high, and much of the improvement has been due to massive incarceration rates and the positive effects of demographic shifts. The culture had precious little to do with that.

Scott said...

The problem with trite arguments that "violence is just a fantasy" is that enjoying a movie requires suspension of disbelief.

You don't sit there and remind yourself constantly that it's a fantasy. You put your disbelief in suspense and actually experience what's on the screen at a visceral level.

It's the engagement in violence on that level that makes the violence pornographic. Just as watching pornography gives a man an erection, watching violence makes one's heart beat faster and, for a time, makes the viewer a part of the violence. (Disbelief is suspended.)

Violence is not innocent and harmless entertainment. It's likely that the Aurora shooter was living a fantasy that was fostered by watching movies. Trivialize this at your peril.

Christopher in MA said...

it's that well to do's like Noonan have no stomach for fighting Hollywood.

The Hays Office is looking better and better all the time.

Culture wars are code for the conservative's desire for / reliance upon control as a way to shape behavior.

It's a wonder "conservatives" ever have a conversation at all, as apparently our entire language is nothing but code.

And YMMV, Ritmo, but I tend to find that people who imagine conservatives desire to "control" people often intersect with those who are convinced that 1950s America was a wasteland of repression, stultification and conformity.

Christopher in MA said...

Violence is not innocent and harmless entertainment.

At the risk of sounding exactly like the sort of person I criticized Q for being on the "fat" thread the other day. . .

I see no, absolutely no reason that celluloid abominations such as the Saw, Hostel or Final Destination series should be allowed to exist, let alone trash like the endless Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes remakes.

Violence done and evil punished is an ancient trope. But violence simply for the sake of wallowing - I can't (if you'll forgive the expression) stomach it.

exhelodrvr1 said...

A certain subset of the population is susceptible to these problems, and the culture today, with the violent and pornographic entertainment that is available, provides much more potential to trigger those individuals. The family and religion cultural aspects that worked to offset these negative influences are decreasing in strength.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Revenant said...

Do I need to point out the problems inherent in letting government officials declare someone crazy and lock them up without due process?


Ah yes. Yet another person who puts all and undue weight on the person they can see (or imagine) - in this case, one not quite crazy, but committed anyway - far beyond the ones he cannot yet see (e.g. >10 dead in Aurora) - the inevitable future innocent victims of a too loose policy. Names added to their faces, later.

There are costs to your policy too, my friend.

Christy said...

We commission studies that find no link between film violence and behavior. So why is the advertising industry so huge? People with big bucks are willing to put money into cute little commercials that induce us to buy stuff that is counter to our self-interest. Corporations believe what we see on TV influences our behavior to their benefit. Don't you believe what we see on TV influences our behavior?

Rusty said...

Don't you believe what we see on TV influences our behavior?


No. But then I'm sane and of higher than normal intelligence.

Revenant said...

Ah yes. Yet another person who puts all and undue weight on the person they can see

I'm bright enough not to shit my pants in fear at one-in-a-million causes of death, if that's what you mean. Sorry to hear you aren't.

Revenant said...

Corporations believe what we see on TV influences our behavior to their benefit. Don't you believe what we see on TV influences our behavior?

By that logic you can cure cancer by snorting heroin. After all, drugs are used to treat diseases all the time, right? Who are you to deny it?

"Targeted advertisements can encourage some people to buy Coca-Cola" does not imply "entertainment media causes people to kill".

Christy said...

Yes, Rusty. So why is the advertising business so big?

prairie wind said...

Violence as porn: the stabbing scene in Saving Private Ryan.

Alex said...

You just want to control people. Culture wars are code for the conservative's desire for/reliance upon control as a way to shape behavior.

Yet it's Herr Bloomberg trying to ban guns. Zig Heil!

Alex said...

Ritmo - go eat you some fried chicken and grits, load up!

Bender said...

The radio news here in D.C. reported this hour that police just raided a Maryland home and found a cache of weapons, and they believe that the owner was planning to go on an Aurora-type shooting spree.

So -- What movie did he see in the last few days to cause him to want to do that? What rap song did he hear that put the desire in him?

Or did he see all the publicity that this Aurora guy got and he similarly wanted to make a big splash?

Bender said...

The news now is that the Maryland guy said that he was "the Joker."

Hmm. I wonder where he got that from, given the pervasive publicity that that is what the Aurora guy said.

Did he steal the idea from the movie or from the mainstream media sensationalizing the Aurora shooting?

Rusty said...

Christy said...
Yes, Rusty. So why is the advertising business so big?


Just a wild guess here, but I imagine it's because there's money in it.



What was the last thing you were forced to buy against your will?

Nathan Alexander said...

Do violent video games teach you to want to kill, or act as catharsis so you don't want to commit violence as much?

A high school kid kills himself. A look through his playlist finds Metallica's "Fade to Black", so they conclude listening to music about suicide caused him to follow through. But I'm pretty well convinced that the song is the reason I'm still alive right now, because when I was troubled and depressed in my teens, I always felt better after screaming along to the song.

No one has said it yet, but it needs to be said: correlation is not causation.

traditionalguy said...

The analysts are forgetting about the role of peer pressure that sets some boundaries among the youth.

The shock value of cruel torture and lust for killing and dismembering other humans can be eliminated from peer pressure boundaries by repeated familiarity.

Sure the horror reaction is being titillated for emotional catharsis and that sells tickets.

Horror has to shock or get more horrible. But the side effect is a loss of a horror to cruel torture and killing.

I saw Silence of the Lambs on cable TV last night. No big deal. Still has great acting and a dramatic story.

But the first time I saw that movie it had a great horror impact as the over educated psycho coldly killed and ate people and removed their faces.

After sensitivity to such horror has been replaced with a casual familiarity, what will stop the over educated mental cases from playing that game?

yashu said...

Is it supposed to be self evident that Shakespeare isn't as disturbing as The Dark Knight? Because if you think that, you *haven't* seen Titus Andronicus.

True that. (Inside joke for Cook, is "true that" less annoying than "this"?)

Grimms' Fairy Tales, anyone?

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Revenant said...

But the first time I saw that movie it had a great horror impact as the over educated psycho coldly killed and ate people and removed their faces.

Um, t-guy... none of that's in the movie. In "Silence of the Lambs" Lecter kills one person on camera; the other murder (and the only face-removal) happens off-camera. He doesn't eat anyone at all; he just talks about doing it.

EMD said...

Making the culture better usually results in compromising individual liberty.

It's a shitty trade off that rarely works.

EMD said...

Violence is not innocent and harmless entertainment. It's likely that the Aurora shooter was living a fantasy that was fostered by watching movies. Trivialize this at your peril.


Scott does not believe in the free market of ideas.

creeley23 said...

I was horrified when I saw the first Alien movie in the theater. I was sure that there would be a nationwide backlash against that Hollywood blockbuster (based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre btw), but there was none, and these days Alien looks almost tame.

It seems that these graphic depictions of horror and violence ought to be affecting us and I suppose they are, but it is not clearcut. Ed Gein was the real-life inspiration for Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs, and not the other way around. We've had real-life monsters in the US and everywhere else with and without Hollywood's help.

Fortunately monsters are rare. Short of totalitarian monitoring of everyone, I don't see how we stop them.

If we are truly concerned about violence in society and the overall blighting of the young, I suggest we look to broken families where the children are double, triple and quadruple more likely to have mental problems and violence.