django-unchained-violence

This week Joe West chucks sand on a flaming hot topic.

If you think about it, it’s quite easy to work out why those who are opposed to violent films and videogames take such a strong stance against what everyone else correctly perceives as innocuous fantasies. These same people would probably argue that without the moral compass provided by religion, or the threat of reprisal from a supernatural deity, they would instantly turn to murderous paedophile tax evaders. Because if no one’s watching or judging, why not give in to your basest urges?

While I’m ascribing beliefs to a specific group, it’s probably best to pile on a few more. I’ll wager that the kind of person who links fictional violence of any kind to its perpetration in the real world probably also believes that things were better in the more censorious decades of the past (they weren’t) and that the natural world is, by contrast with our own, harmonious and just (it isn’t).

The good news is that we live in a country that has regulations governing age restrictions for certain products, ensuring as far as possible that only those of an appropriately mature mindset will be able to access content that is intended for adult consumption. Anyone over the age of 18 who can’t separate the vengeful violence in Django Unchained from their own moral code and behaviour needs help. Although you could also argue that revenge is implicitly justified by the foreign policy of almost any major global power, as it always has been from the dawn of our tribal culture.

What I’m saying, right, is that this interview between Quentin Tarantino and Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy is infuriating. Asking him about whether he thinks there are links between screen violence and tragic current affairs, in an allusion to America’s spate of school shootings, is lazy, and he rightly refuses to answer.

That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a dialogue on this subject, but that this dialogue should go:

“Are violent films/games the problem?”

“No. They may appear to be peripheral to violent acts, but this is misleading. If the mentally disturbed did not have access to violent media, they’d be out kicking cats into pieces as they did before the invention of the camera, and have continued to do after it.”

For what it’s worth, Tarantino’s pulpy approach to sensitive subjects is clearly going to rankle evangelists on either side of the ideological fence. But for now, let’s put a pin in the topic of movie violence. And throw whatever it’s pinned to out of a moving car.*

*This is a metaphorical fantasy. You should never fly tip, since it is both anti-social and dangerous. This article is rated T for Twatbag.