The other day I found myself listening, by no choice of mine, to someone else watching a violent TV show (I think it was Breaking Bad.) What struck me was how the tone of voices, sounding of the other room’s TV, were consistently hostile and angry, so much so that I found myself cringing. It made me realize that: 1. When I watch a show on TV that includes such expressive violence, I may be so immerse in it, that I would not notice how much is affects me. 2. The effect such exposure has on us – direct viewers as well as anyone either in the immediate proximity of the audience, or related to the viewer (family, friends, co-workers.) This can be compared to secondhand smoke; the effects go well beyond the person inhaling the poison.
Unless we are completely desensitized, a direction, so it seems, our society is taking, it is impossible for anyone watching consistent violence not to be affected. And once the toxicity gets absorbed into the body, ramifications must follow; to the person himself – the one exposed to the Aether of violence, as well as to others connected with that individual. This phenomena goes well beyond violent TV shows and vehement video games. Visualize billboard and magazine ads that make cheap use of sexuality to sell products, and in the process demean women, or lyrics of songs that breed murder. Our senses take it all in; this air of viciousness, of racism, of degradation. It makes me think of a time when organizations such as the Church and the MPPDA (Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America) controlled content. Maybe there was something to it after all… And no, I do not miss those dark days. The price paid was way too high. I am just asking what happened to our commonsense? When was it lost? Did it ever exist? Or maybe this madness started already at the Garden of Eden, with the temptation of the snake and the forbidden apple… It seems we might have gotten smarter but no wiser.
Learned from: being a bystander to a violent TV show