Babylonian "Captivity"

Only 20 months to the next election, and not a single presidential candidate has taken a stand against Hollywood indecency. But they will, they always do. How can they resist the gift of the perfect kneejerk campaign canard? One that allows them the maximum of indignation with the minimum of consequence? They figure no one is going to come to the defense of pornographers or peddlers of violence on the screen except maybe awayward ACLU lawyer or film critic and believe the vast majority  of Americans will share their outrage at how sex or violence in the movies or in the media causes problems ranging from juvenile crime to Abu Ghraib. Yet again, they'll tubthump for votes by scapegoating those bastards instead of  doing something complicated like looking into the real causes of these problems.

An early sign of this issue becoming a likely political potboiler was the story a week or so ago in the “New York Times” about an upcoming Federal Trade Commission report on the marketing of violent movies, music and video games to children. Seven years ago they let the film industry off the hook and instead of regulating their ads for gruesome R-rated fare let them “police” themselves. Well, apparently the ads for “Saw” and “Hostel” and the recent outrage  over the “Captivity” billboards suggest they might not get off so easy this time. The article also suggests that the controversy might “kick the issue back into the political arena ahead of a presidential election.”

No shit. How much easier to blame the graphic images of bondage, pain, degredation, terror and sadism saturating pop culture than to confront the realities they reflect. Seven years of an administration motivating people through fear and revenge, a war against terror that sanctions torture, daily news reports about suicide bombers and death squad executions -- these aren’t the problem. Images from trashy slasher movies are. Well, that may be so, but as a symptom, not a cause of our culture’s ongoing degeneration into pathology and decadence.

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