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Media has desensitized us to the reality of violence

The consumption of today’s digital media like cartoons, video games and news has made people less sensitive to violence and other legitimate issues. Credit: Jenny Chang/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Usually I’ll turn the TV off, complain about how “back in my day,” the cartoons were more appropriate, then go and gripe to my mother about how there’s never anything to watch.

The consumption of today's digital media like cartoons, video games and news has made people less sensitive to violence and other legitimate issues. Credit: Jenny Chang/The Foothill Dragon Press.
The consumption of today’s digital media like cartoons, video games and news has made people less sensitive to violence and other legitimate issues. Credit: Jenny Chang/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Usually I’ll turn the TV off, complain about how “back in my day,” the cartoons were more appropriate, then go and gripe to my mother about how there’s never anything to watch.

This whole routine is something most teens nowadays go through. Except the select few, including me, who add on a fourth step of complaining about how violent television and video games are.

I’m not much of a TV person. When I do watch TV though, I usually find myself watching whatever my siblings are watching.

On channels like Cartoon Network I’d hear my sister hysterically laugh-crying because of how funny it is that characters like Gumball and Darwin from “The Amazing World of Gumball” drive around in golf carts, destroying pretty much anything that gets in their path.

My 12-year-old brother spends hours locked in our garage playing “Call of Duty Black Ops” and other games meant to simulate being in the military.

As far as I know, my 12-year-old brother isn’t a marine or in any other branch of the military, so why would he need to “know” several different ways to kill a man with a combat knife?

Why is it that today we believe that without comical violence, disgusting jokes, or pure stupidity, entertainment can’t be, well, entertaining? What has caused our minds to deteriorate so much that we find homes blowing up and twerking cartoon characters entertaining?

Last time I checked, death wasn’t supposed to be comical, and I’m sure that if you get caught laughing at a funeral you won’t have much to look forward to.

Don’t get me wrong, I do realize that these things are for entertainment, but there are other activities that destroy fewer brain cells. Not to be cliché, but it doesn’t kill to read a book. There are so many things we could do besides watch cartoon characters blow up and shoot each other on TV.

However, cartoons aren’t the sole culprits here. You can change the channel to the news just as easily as you can flip to Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.

The media that is supposed to inform us can do so without showing the carnage of the Paris attacks or the bodies piling up in the hospitals of the Arabian Peninsula.

These are not only disturbing to see, but it also gives power to those who planned and set the attacks into motion. The last thing you want is to show a bully that you’re afraid.

Instead of watching the carnage of a terrorist attack on the news, we could help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, the strongest tropical cyclone in the Western Hemisphere.

The comical violence” in shows and games happens in real life. In real life people’s homes do catch fire and they do blow up. In real life there are homeless people who beg for money outside of corner stores. In real life there are actual terrorists who actually destroy lives and tear apart families.

The world that we live in today isn’t one of idealism. If it was, we wouldn’t be constantly looking over our shoulders in fear of a terrorist attack, starvation or homelessness. These would be things of the past, and government officials wouldn’t be taking bribes.

As much as I’d like it to be, the world isn’t ideal, but that doesn’t mean we should zero in on the things that make it unideal. Instead of publicizing, ostracizing, or laughing at it we should be trying to eliminate those things.

It’s wrong and disappointing that we’ve gotten to the point where a person getting shot is put into children’s cartoons and games for their entertainment.

Life is not a video game where we can press a button and restart, and if you think that’s what life is, then you’re in for a rude awakening.


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  • L

    Lillian LiJan 24, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I am an eighth grader, attending to DATA, and as a teenager, I have to admit I’ve been attracted to the idea of mindless violence as well. Just a few days ago, I asked my dad if I could play Assassin’s Creed, since we owned a copy. The copy was meant for my father only, but I’d been itching to play since I was in fifth grade. I had wanted to play for the historical elements, mostly, but I have to admit I was also drawn to the rush of the violence. However, after my father explained it was about “killing people as sneakily as possible”, I’m second guessing my desire to play Assassin’s Creed. I realized I should be happy with the more thought-provoking video games I play (and love)– games like Legend of Zelda and Kingdom Hearts. They have violent aspects to them, but they have violence that isn’t purely killing– you often go about defeating monstrous enemies that going up in an unharmful poof of black dust. In Legend of Zelda, it is largely a puzzle game. In Kingdom Hearts, the characters hesitate to resolve problems with violence.
    Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Japanese cartoon (called anime to those who don’t know) called “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. It was originally a manga (a Japanese comic), and was converted to an anime. I wholly enjoyed it, and accepted the over excess of bloody deaths in the series. That is, at least, until my mom started watching it with my brother and I. She enjoyed the series as much as we did, but some of the episodes made her cringe at the blood. One such episode: a state alchemist named Shou Tucker specialized in bio-alchemy. Later, the Elric brothers, the protagonists, discovered that he made horrific, pitiful creatures with his alchemy called “chimeras”– humans fused with animals. In the episode, we discover that his wife had become the unfortunate victim of one of his experiments. Worse, at the end of the episode he converts his own loving, four-year old daughter, Nina, into a chimera. He had fused her with her adoring dog, Alexander. The Elric brothers reported his terrible activities to Colonel Mustang, and soon he was under arrest– but not long before the murderer Scar found them. Both of them came to a visibly bloody end, as is the norm with Scar.
    Furthermore, the show features a lot of things such as this. While it is an arguably incredible show (despite the episode I described to you), making you question and ponder what it means to be human, it is a rather bloody series. Obviously, it’s not just violence– it’s psychological as well. During an episode we were watching together, my mom asked me, “Are you not bothered by all of the blood?”
    “No,” I answered. “It makes it seem more realistic.” I question that statement after I grew a conscience. Now, I cringe at the sight of an over excess of blood and violence. It feels like clawing my out the cliches and stereotypes of our age restored my humanity– and really, isn’t a realization such as that all a teenager could ask for?