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Is there a link between aggressive behavior and the portrayal of violence in the media? Do movies and/or video games make us violent? Does video game violence affect us differently than movie violence? Please respond to any of these questions.
Mick LaSalle, the film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, seems to think so. In his article Violent Media Poisoning Nation's Soul, he argues, “The interaction between real-life and movies is complicated. Some will claim that movies influence behavior, even as producers will invariably insist that movies only reflect society, as though movies were some unobtrusive aspect of culture, unnoticed by the world. The truth is that movies and society influence each other in ways that overlap and are therefore arguable. But clearly something seems to be going on, and something is in need of changing.”
He acknowledges that there may not be an immediate causal connection, but in this piece describes his "epiphany" after the killer in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado dressed as a Batman villain gunned down people in the “The Dark Knight Rises” audience last year. The film didn’t cause the killing. But there must be a connection. Dark movies that glorify carnage associate these images with pleasure in the minds of theater-going audiences. Gratuitous slaughter becomes cool.
“… it did seem to me that the soul-crushing chaos of the film - ultimately reflected in what happened in Aurora.” LaSalle, 1/2/13