The latest school massacre has all the do-gooders crying for more gun control, yet few have touched upon the blood-splattering, shoot-’em-up electronic games that the unhinged nerd who murdered 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut, played. His favorite was Call of Duty, a first-person-shooter game where participants use assault rifles, machine guns, and other weapons to slaughter scores of enemy soldiers and zombies.
The murderer sat alone in his bedroom for hours on end playing these videos and watching violent movies on television. He did not participate in sports and was an obvious sociopath. His mother, whom he also murdered, kept several guns, including at least one assault-style rifle, in the house. If that wasn’t a recipe for mass murder, I don’t know what is.
The media is going after the gun lobby because it suits them. The freedom to bear arms smacks of a bygone America that doesn’t. What I’d like to see is for somebody go after the Shylocks that produce the violence on screen, starting with Hollywood all the way down to video games. For starters, there is no doubt in my mind that, just as hard-core porn can lead to rape, extreme violence on screen can make the viewer immune to the horror of shooting a fellow human being in the face. I for one would love to see a rigidly enforced production code in the manner of the one during the 40’s and 50’s. Not so much about sex—married couples having to have separate beds and putting on a dressing gown the moment they got up—but certainly about violence in movies, which, like “fast food,” has become totally normal in America.
The New York Times was as dishonest as it always is following the shootings. It had a couple of its gay columnists change tack from demanding the states approve gay marriage laws to attacking gun permits. But not a word against Hollywood. Tinseltown, after all, has the same double standards and degraded morality as the Times. In fact, one week following the tragedy, the Times featured a 17-year-old black rapper, known for posting a photo of himself receiving oral sex, on the front page of its entertainment section. And praised the rapper’s gang-related boasts and threats. And quoted some of his “lyrics”: “Hit him with the cobra / Now that boy slumped over.”
Rappers who extol cold-blooded murder are a dime a dozen. The Times, instead of ignoring them or demanding they turn down the rhetoric, chooses to give them prominence and publicity. Par for the course. Ditto where movies are concerned. And when it comes to Christianity, the Times is in the forefront of the attack against “The God Glut,” as it chooses to call it. One of its columnists, a gay ex-restaurant critic, rails against prayer breakfasts at West Point, relying on one cadet who dropped out of the academy for condemning “unconstitutional proselytism,” as the low-life columnist calls it.
I enjoy the Times because it’s so obvious. It hates Christianity with a passion, and assigns Catholic gays like Frank Bruni or bitter Catholic feminists like Maureen Dowd to comment on the Catholic sexual-abuse scandal. But when the Hasidic sex scandal broke last month in New York—where hundreds if not thousands of sexual attacks on Hasid children were exposed in court after one heroic girl came forward—the dowdy Dowd concentrated on attacking Mitt Romney, six weeks after the election was over.
Once upon a time movies embodied art and entertainment, culture as well as industry. Someone even called film “the first art child of democracy.” Movies reflected the realities of urban life, transcended the language barriers of new immigrants, and played a role in the inculturation process of immigrant peasants. But back then Hollywood was run mostly by Jewish men from Eastern Europe whose dreams were to become American gentlemen. Now Hollywood is in the hands of mostly native-born Jewish men whose sole ambition is to make more and more money. And they’ve learned their lesson well. The more violence, the bigger the profits.
The demand for “authenticity” by the so-called elite of New York and the Northeast was the cover for the industry to turn violent and pornographic. Expecting Hollywood to self-regulate is a bit like hoping Israel will give back the land she conquered by force of arms from its Palestinian rightful owners. It simply will not happen—not unless Uncle Sam steps in. And we all know how badly things turn out once Uncle Sam is involved.
So what is the solution? In my not-so-humble opinion, what the entertainment industry needs is a czar, to clean up movies the way baseball was cleaned up by Judge Landis following the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Nothing else will do. Who should be the czar? If it were up to me I’d name Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man known for sticking to his principles. But don’t hold your breath. It’s bound to get much worse as the Shylocks get greedier and greedier.