An experimental film fest I worked with had a secret programming rule: no guns, in any capacity. Literally cut out like 80% of the submissions.

Later I learned it was expanded to just simply, no violence. Not sure how much more that reduced submissions since guns were the defauot violence image.

Head of the festival had a whole speech about it, how there are other ways of showing conflict, more images to see, and how removing guns and physical violence forced filmmakers to be more creative.

It's definitely "can't unsee" territory. Once someone points out the number of films that rely on guns to move their story, you begin to wonder that the motion picture camera wasn't invented by Colt rather than the Lumieres.

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Endnote: Definition of "illogy" = the state of being illogical.

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Oct 22, 2022·edited Oct 22, 2022Liked by Thomas J Bevan

'Consuming misery' is a scarily easy trap to fall into! Great post - I'll certainly be making efforts to avoid the trap wherever I can!

Edited to say - thank you for your Type 2 diabetes and cakes reference in your footnote. As a Type 1 I appreciate the distinction you've made here. 😀

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Violence in every form simply isn't a logical choice for recreational. After all the word RECREATION dissected = "re-creation." I am biased in thinking "creation" is life, not death. Perhaps this culture is so bored, illogy is a natural default?

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Great commentary! I like how you skirt the details as that will devolve into a rabbit warren of people defending their program choices ha. I was never bothered by gun violence until gun violence affected me personally, then some of my favorite films were hard to watch for a while. The sheer amount of graphic head shots in the past decade in film and tv is shocking. I'd be curious about your thoughts on violence that is more creatively addressed, like in the Greenaway film i mention to DB below. I'm oftenn more horrified by violence taht is addressed without the usual tools. Anyway, great read - as always!

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Had this thought back in high school when I took my dad to an Avengers movie and not being much of a mainstream media consumer for most of his life, he was very uncomfortable and reeled at scenes which I had come to regard not just as normal but entertaining. Intense fights, action sequences, bullets, lasers, sometimes of thousands of people die in one scene. I feel the same way about true crime... A lot of my friends watched Dahmer, but I couldn't, is that where I draw the line? Where does our tolerance for violence and gore (even if on screen) take us?

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Oct 24, 2022Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Hehe, I had a wall of text that disappeared, which is just as well...

I appreciate this essay. I find there is much in the world of entertainment I cannot take in now. I remember recently turning on a film for some light entertainment, and the very first shot (IIRC) was a close-up of a head exploding. Hey, at least it let me know what I was in for right away. The fact that real-life footage of acts from tasteless to the criminal is not only accessible but hard to avoid probably does not help. Our eyes and ears are confronted with difficult-to-metabolize material constantly.

There are plenty of films and artworks that are bleak in narrative or conception without being gratuitous or shallow--often it’s older films. Such examples offer the opportunity for rich viewing, discussions, and enrichment in terms of what films can do. But with hollow examples crowding the screen, it becomes harder not only to find meaningful viewing experiences, but even to know what that might be. It is hard to learn to appreciate subtlety and ambiguity if they are in such short supply.

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Good take. I think it's the combination of human tendency to watch more evil as its relatable to the outside world and productions milking the genre. Part of the problem are streaming services too. There apps are filled with such shows the moment we login. So it takes some time before we dive deep to uncover things which are not "violent".

Good post. 😊👏

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Some theories of the thirst for violence: It can be an extended form of John Gottman's theory (also Marcial Losada) on "the golden ratio" of relationship, where ideally for every 5 positive experience there should be ideally 1 bad experience, and that this ratio should be between 3:1 and 11:1. Some amount of negativity is needed to calibrate ones perception. Unfortunately this means that having 91+% positivity can make someone have anxiety, or even pop a fuse and do violence.

Media becomes a release device for having tranquility in a hyper-stable positivity-driven hyper-entitled environment. Catastrophic abusive pornography seems to be preferred by the well-to-do class, whilst power phantasies (the "hustle porn" of the porn world) target those who are of the common man.

Good grief then, does that mean the only alternative is the "mosh pit" where people can rage and fear in a safe and sportsman-like manner?

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