media darling

a personal record of how different forms of media and their content affect me (a college student)

the glorified gangster November 11, 2008

Filed under: violence in the media — katie @ 12:07 pm
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Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Bonnie & Clyde, Jules and Costello are all great American gangsters portrayed in movies. Gangster movies have been always been popular and will most likely remain a favorite genre for many years to come. Their worlds of violence, organized crime, and illegal activities are often glamorized in the media because they are so exciting to watch, but are people essentially supporting gangsters’ causes by supporting their stories so much?

An interesting aspect of the gangster life is that many mobsters and gangsters are portrayed as being very religious, and yet they kill and torture people without blinking. Good thing they pray a lot

Even music has developed a very gangster theme – especially in the rap industry. Every new rapper thrives to be the next biggest “G,” and their songs about the thug life often hit the Billboard Charts because people love hearing about the gangster life. Gangsta rap has been a legitimate genre of music since the 1980’s and remained popular since it’s arrival. Also, there are tons of new video games about the mafia and gangsters that are extremely popular with the youth today. Perhaps the appeal of gangsters is that their lifestyles give people their five minutes of feeling like a bad-ass.

Between movies and music about gangsters, there is so much that portrays them in an almost likeable, poignant way – which is kind of crazy when you think about it. The media portrays gangsters who are actually murderers, thieves, criminals, etc. as cool guys with awesome lives that are actually good at heart and just taking care of their families (in a nutshell…).


Violence in the Media October 9, 2008

I saw the movie “The Departed” for the first time a few days ago and thought it was a great film with amazing acting and so much violence I found myself not even noticing it by the end. At least in “The Departed,” the violence was relatively without suffering – there were many gun shots and some fight scenes, usually causing instant death. If the violence in films involves a lot of torture and suffering, I usually can’t handle it.

Violence in the media is expected and often time necessary to portray a theme or event. However, is there too much violence in the media these days? I would say so, considering there is overriding research on the mass media that exposure to media portrayals of violence increases aggressive behavior in children and young adults. The National Institute of Mental Health has reported that “In magnitude, exposure to television violence is as strongly correlated with aggressive behavior as any other behavioral variable that has been measured.”

There have also been studies that have demonstrated that exposure to depictions of violence causes desensitization, fear, and even a distortion of reality. Individuals with greater exposure to media violence see the world as a dark and sinister place – often called ‘Mean World Syndrome.’ Television programs present a narrow view of the world, and the world they present is violent. So, people who watch a lot of television are more likely than those who watch less to see the world as being violent, and they probably overestimate their chance of being involved in violence.

Because there was so much violence in “The Departed,” I got used to it and wasn’t even phased by it by the end of the film. The insane about of violence desensitized me to it for the two hours I was watching it non-stop.

If there are such drastic effects of violence in the media, then why is there so much? And why do people continue to watch it, knowing the effects it could be having on their children? It could be because most people who are watching these television shows and films aren’t immersed in comparable violent worlds and enjoy the violence as a thrill of something new and different to experience.