Pandering to Warped Thrills

From email:

...where will it end?

We're on "Survivor IV," with the subjects facing even more impossible odds for money, we have people engaging in horrendous acts while viewer ratings soar, and now we have two networks in a race to get a show on the air featuring hapless subjects strapped into a chair while enduring various tortures.

Are American audiences sick, or what?


Television and film content can, and often does, lift us emotionally and spiritually.

But, it's often easier and quicker to grab and hold an audience by pandering to the lower elements of human nature.

Profit-driven (ratings-driven) networks and film studios constantly push the shock envelope right up to the threshold of major public opposition.

And each time they do they move the level of tolerance a bit higher, and it takes more to hold an audience. According to a study released in 2007, TV and film in the U.S. have reached a new high in violent content.

I'm reminded of the Roman Circuses. They started out as simple, harmless entertainment in an arena.

But, each week audiences wanted more excitement.

Eventually, these circuses progressed to displays of violent public killings and rapes. And even then a jaded public wanted more.

Looking down this road, the well-known film and TV director David Putnam put it very simply: "We are destroying ourselves."

There has been public opposition to TV content, of course.

Conservative action groups have tried boycotting TV shows—unsuccessfully. But even when these groups attempt to boycott TV shows, it's almost always because of sexual content and not violence.

But, it is violence that constitutes an imminent threat to human life and is most linked to hate and carnage. And it is violence that is the common currency of today's hate groups.

And there is the very real question discussed elsewhere of whether media violence encourages violence in society.

Unfortunately, given the ever more commercial and competitive nature of television, I don't see a way out of this.

However, not only are suggestions welcome, but by coming up with a solution to this issue—one that doesn't violate laws or constitutional freedoms—you will undoubtedly see your name in the history books.

Solve this problem and you will be famous!


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