People who watch a lot of TV tend to think of the world as an uninviting, unforgiving, and scary place.
Since most of you cannot possibly join us every Tuesday at the Conspiracy Lounge for our regular art film screenings, every Tuesday I'll be posting links to some flicks to watch on YouTube – some meaningful and thought-provoking stuff.
Titled The Mean World Syndrome, this documentary touches upon the issue of on-screen violence. It is usually debated in terms whether violent scenes stimulate real violence or psychologically cancel it. The film-makers suggest that the debate in such terms is fundamentally misconceived and misguided. The function of graphic violence in the mass media is something else: to convince viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. It's to discourage your good-will curiosity with respect to the world at large, to prevent you from becoming universal in your outlook, from exploring the world, and immersing with it across artificial demarcations. Fear as a reaction to violent depictions prompts a desire on your part to look for more protection from the political powers that be and, thus, to vindicate, legitimize and further "empower" these powers over you. Violence in the mass media is all about control and subjugation.
The term "Mean World Syndrome" was coined by George Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, when he noted that people who watched a lot of TV tended to think of the world as an uninviting, unforgiving, and scary place.
If anything happens in Mexico, it's a bloody war between drug cartels with gangsters cutting throats left and right – so I am told. The thing is I don't see this happening.