|Words by F LoBuono|
When you think about it, it's hard to deny what a huge impact culture has on the current debate over Gun Regulation and The 2nd Amendment. How can one say that what we watch, what we read, what we learn, what we say, what we BELIEVE is not affected by, while at the same time contributes TO, the soup of ideas and images that we call CULTURE? We are barraged by these ideas and images on a daily basis and in a manner unprecedented in Human History. This is the area of infinite information; the 24 hour News Cycle, Google, and the Internet. We stream information. We beam information. We absorb information. Tons of it. And it is two sides of the same coin. It is a blessing and it is a curse. We are smarter. But we are more banal, too. It is yin. It is yang. In a sense, culture is the indicator of what we ARE. So, when you think about it, it is not only reasonable to assume that culture plays a key role in our debate, it is essential that we do.
With that in mind, I found myself conducting an impromptu experiment: after work, as is my custom, I'll sit on my living room couch, have a beer or a bourbon, fire up the computer, and turn on the TV in effort to unwind from what was probably a most crazy day. It's around 11:30 pm. I'll spend an hour or so, writing, catching up, before the beer-and/or bourbon, and the riggers of the day catch up with me and I'm off to LaLa Land for a few hours before I start all over again (hopefully LOL!). Anyway, in effort to maximize that relaxation, I ALWAYS tune in Family Guy, followed by the best satire on television, South Park. I'll save as to why I feel that way for another entry. I took note of the commercials that aired over a half-hour period. After all, what better arbiter of culture than the commercials we watch? In them, we buy and sell what we NEED. Or, what we are TOLD WHAT WE NEED. It's pretty direct and simple. The so-called market shapes the commercials and the commercials shape the market. It is, often like TV News, a symbiotic relationship. It became obvious within the first few commercial cycles what type of commercial would dominate: newly released movies and DVD's. Here's a list of what I saw. The descriptions are my own:
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The #1 Movie in America. Really?
Hansel and Gretel
The old German fairy tale gone bad. The kids are all grown-up and now bounty hunters, stalking witches with high powered weapons. Really?
Bullet To The Head
Starring a newly tattooed, but still mumbling and aging Sylvester Stallone as an aging bounty hunter who dispatches bad guys with high powered weapons. Really?
The Last Stand
Starring a not tattooed, but still mumbling and aging Arnold Schwartzenegger as an aging, small-town sheriff who dispatches bad guys with high powered weapons. Really?
Starring an actor I did not know, as an avenging lawman who dispatches bad guys with high powered weapons. Really?
Starring Jamie Foxx as a black bounty hunter who dispatches evil slave holders and the like with high powered weapons. Really?
Starring Tom Cruise as a lethal operative who dispatches evil bureaucrats and the like with high powered weapons. Really?
MY GOD!!! All in half a fucking half-hour!!! Are you kidding me? It's a cornucopia of guns, death, and violence!!! "Bullet To The Head"?! And you wonder why we have psychotic people walking the streets? Really? If this keeps up, I may have to join them!!
Look, I get it. This is a complicated issue. But some things are NOT that complicated - and this is ONE of them. We cannot continue to barrage our children AND ourselves with these relentless images of violence, where EVERYTHING is solved at the point of a gun. Just as it is reasonable to assume that spewing tons of pollutants into the atmosphere just might contribute to global warming, so it is reasonable to assume that these constant images of extreme violence would affect our very nature. When you think about it, it really is a no-brainer folks. It's time to smarten up. It's our only hope. Reject violence in all it's forms.