Thursday, June 12

Burning Music: The Irony Of Anti-Violence Violence

"We are considering having something similar to a rally where parents and children can bring CDs and video games that they consider are destructive to the mind set of our youth and have a burning, just like they had a gun buyback last year.” — Pastor Richard Patrick

Blogcampaigning summed up their take on a potential anti-music/anti-game rally as something that they thought only happens on the Simpsons, which is pretty amusing since the Simpsons would likely land in the fire. Otherwise, it happens all the time.

What makes this Newport story interesting is the amount of attention it has received. Slashdot even pointed to some studies that suggest what is on the burn list might not be to blame.

One study concluded that “there were actually higher levels of relaxation before and after playing the game [World of Warcraft] as opposed to experiencing anger, but this very much depended on personality type.”

The latter is true. You never know what people are going to do when exposed to any material. For example, four years ago, a 19-year-old poured grease on her boyfriend’s face during an argument about a Bible verse. The Bible, of course, had nothing to do with the decision.

So while the pastor might be right in that some youth emulate the material they are exposed to, encouraging “burnings” seems to be a same path alternative. After all, it’s one thing to teach youth and parents how to make positive life choices, but it’s another to encourage the destruction of everything disagreeable.



Anonymous said...

Hi Rich,

thanks for mentioning my post. Coming from Germany I of course always react sensitively when it comes to burning stuff... But yeah, the Simpsons would very likely end up in a bonfire - probably because they point out the idiocy of encouraging the destruction of everything disagreeable but encourage critical thinking (at least before Homer turned into a crash test dummy for cheap jokes).
Concerning that what is on the burn list might not be to blame, here's an interesting piece
by MIT professor Henry Jenkins: Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked
Also: Have a look at this graphic (you might have seen it before)

Rich on 6/17/08, 1:45 PM said...

Thanks jens,

Those are great resources as well. I especially liked the graphic that illustrates how the release of violent games correlates to diminished violent crimes. That is very useful and timely.

While there is some truth to the idea that our brain does not distinguish reality from virtual reality in terms of how it responds (a horror movie can still trigger a fight or flee response) in most people, it is possible to educate people, teaching them to be an observer with no emotional attachment to what they are witnessing. That's healthy, regardless.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)


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