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Monday, July 09, 2007

CSI and Other Violent TV and Film

Over the last 5 years or so I have seen a disturbing rise in interest of violent movies and television shows. Take for example the CSI franchise--yes, I say franchise because this show about fictional cases regarding Crime Scene Investigative units have three different versions of the show.

They consist of the regular CSI, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. These shows are violent and often gory. The fact that there are three versions of this show tells me that there are a lot of people interested in watching this stuff. Then, on the same channel there is a show called Criminal Minds and Cold Case which is another show that looks into the criminal mind and their twisted actions. One another channel you can find the Law and Order franchise which includes Law and Order: Special Victims Unit which emphasizes cases regarding sexual crimes that are particularly heinous. Just the thought of such television makes my stomach churn. This is all just on TV. The movies are an even worse problem.

Whenever we go to the video store to rent a DVD we walk past video after video about some violent, serial killer style film. It seems that they are starting to crowd out the other movies on the shelf!! It is pretty rare now to find a good, funny comedy.

Have there always been so many violent, twisted and gory movies on TV and film or is our society becoming more and more violent, angry and disturbed? Why are we so obsessed with violence as a people??

I use to be able to watch such movies and shows but since I found the Dharma I no longer have a taste for such heavy energy. I'm certainly not the best moral example around though. Perhaps I'm making too much of all of this and being a bit of a hypocrite as I do still watch movies where sexuality is involved. Never the less, I find violence to be the one of the most critical issues (if not THE most critical issue) that we as humanity must face.

I hope everyone is in a safe place right now and if not--hold my hand and we will get through this sometimes difficult state of existence together in Oneness of mind, body and spirit.

~Peace to all beings~

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Ben, Devon, UK. said...

Supposedly our collective love of violence and gore in the media is a result of our wish to 'externalise' the potential for violence within each of us. Whilst I don't disagree with anything you say, there is a silver-lining as at some level at least society recognises the harm it is capable of and that may be the first step to addressing it, even if the practical DVD store reality isn't so positive!

Terri said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I love to read your blog... it truly inspires me. But, I must disagree, just a little. I understand that these shows can deal with very violent themes, but in the case of CSI, I know that it has affected people in many positive ways. There are tons of stories of kids who never wanted to go to college or even finish high school but because they became interested in the show, they wanted to study forensic science. I know that no matter what, there still has to be violence involved in the show for it to exist, but there is also a positive side to it. Personally, I watch some of those shows to learn about science. I was never good in science in school and I find that the way they explain things on the show give me a scientific education I can't get anywhere else.

That's just my two cents.


They call him James Ure said...


Supposedly our collective love of violence and gore in the media is a result of our wish to 'externalise' the potential for violence within each of us.

Good point--it makes sense to me.


You are very kind. I'm glad that my blog brings you inspiration. And I do understand the science factor. You're right--someone has to do those jobs. I'm glad I don't have to do that job though. :)

Barb said...

I have to agree. I am finding the same thing, i used to love these shows, but now I think, why would I want to watch shows about children and adults being abused, murdered, yuck! What purpose does it serve? In fact, I love to watch comedy also, but lately the really raunchy stuff (like some of dane cooks stuff) just turns me off. just not necessary to get a laugh.

I guess I'm turning into a prude or something, but I agree that I have no desire or taste for many of these things.

trinitystar said...

The media is a very powerful medium that can corrupt peoples thoughts ... they can make us believe this is what we want and some people unfortunately get sucked in ... but, this is, only because they are not aware of the fact. We were all born non-violent. Violence comes about from our conditioning and situations that we are placed in.
One can turn the TV off.
One can stop buying the DVD's
One can stop buying newspapers.
Good post.
Keep well James. :o)

Pensieve said...

I read, somewhere, the increase in violence on TV and in the movies in the last few years is because, we, as Americans, are trying to exorcise the anger and fear we feel after the 9/11 attacks.

What I've noticed is how violence has become funny. Cartoons and sitcoms now throw a laugh track in after someone gets shot in the knees, beaten, or whatever. I don't think watching Peter Griffin beat Lois in Family Guy is funny. And I seriously question why anyone thinks violence is funny.

Jeannie said...

I try to limit my exposure to violence in films and television- especially realistic violence. I just don't like how I feel after viewing such things.

dragonflyfilly said...

hi James,
thanks for your input ref. a name for "teddy"...i love it!

yes, i agree with you, it seems like there is way way way too many violent movies and t.v. shows...i am getting so bored (and paranoid as a result of) with them. Thankfully i have a whole bunch of Frasier tapes that i can watch. Also i only have two channels now, so i am reading more, and spending more time chatting on Blogs!

take care, and let me know when you are coming to Vancouver.


They call him James Ure said...


I think part of my aversion to these violent and twisted shows/movies is my over-active imagination. I have always had an imagination that knew no bounds.

In addition, my Schizo-affective disorder doesn't help. My mind seems to think of the worst thing possible at times and feeding it violent images doesn't help.

Trinity Star:

Great advice. It's a confusing and complicated world these days. It's difficult to wade through the weeds and figure out what is helpful and what is not. It seems (as the Buddha taught) we must come to realizations through our own experiences for them to mean anything and stick.


Oh indeed. Our world has been increasingly violent since 9/11. We use anger and verbal violence too often to try and get things done. I know that I have done this before and I am working to let that anger go on a daily basis.


I agree. I feel icky after watching that kind of blatant violence.


Oh I love Frasier!! You're welcome on the name and we'll be up to Vancouver ASAP. ;) All the best as always.

Robin said...

haha, which explain why I have stop watching the TV...

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah we don't watch that kind of programming anymore. We watch documentary shows on nature, travel destinations and comedy stuff. :)

Anonymous said...

We rarely watch TV - mostly sports and some PBS - but I really hate when I change channels past a CSI or some such and see decomposed corpses and the like during early prime-time (dinnertime) hours. Even movie promos aired mid afternoon with sports are violent, gory, and startling - all the freakiest stuff from a 2 hour movie packed into a 20-second spot.

Many of the films sold as action or Sci-Fi, so many now rated PG-13 - they're really horror flicks re-labeled. We are becoming so desensitized to violence and psychological scare-movies, we need to keep packing more and more into movies. Good example - we saw 3/4 of "I Am Legend" last night, which is PG-13...we left because it was too scary and disturbing for me, at 27. But adrenaline-inducing violence is like loud music, which you make it louder and louder until you're deaf.

It's really this desensitization that bothers me, and the fear-mongering all of these crime shows. I really want to pass on to other people the need to reject this sort of sick, fantastical violence, and over-exaggeration of prevalence and severity of spectacular violent crime. People have lost the distinctions between petty criminals, violent criminals, and psychopaths/mass-murderers.

I live in California, where the Three Strikes law was passed in part as a knee-jerk reaction to the existing fear of crime amped-up by the tough-on-crime groups/politicos. People fear all criminals so much they don't even know what to do, and do not believe in rehabilitation, re-integration, or ability of anyone to change ways. And this, long before we had nightly shows with the message that "bad people want to do terrible things to you and your children!!!!"

I think this also really feeds the foreign-policy version of "bad people want to do terrible things to you and your children". When we have such a low opinion of others' dignity, decency, and capacity for reason and compassion, it's easy to justify torture and exorbitant spending on military adventures.

Anyway, this has really been bothering me lately - glad to see people talking about it! Peace to you all.


They call him James Ure said...


Great comment. I agree that it is dangerous that we are becoming desensitized to violence.

anna said...

I watch some of those shows to learn about science. I was never good in science in school and I find that the way they explain things on the show give me a scientific education.
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