Let’s say you are at a sporting event — say, kick boxing or mixed martial arts. You rant and rave and roar. It’s a contact sport after all. It’s not real, emotional fighting born out of rage or fear. This is for title. It’s for respect. It’s for the prize. But can our brains really tell the difference between the violence of sport and real violence?
Take the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), for example. I feel the UFC is a hop, skip and a jump or, pardon the pun, a punch, kick and a tap out away from being entertainment — similar to the glory days of the Coliseum. Place weapons in these fighters’ hands, add some motorized chariots, maybe even a few lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Now you have gladiators. We might have found the carnage at the Coliseum brutal, yet many of us as a society are OK with modern-day gladiators. Do we accept this because we find this form of physical interaction entertaining?
I personally don’t; I can’t relate to two men willingly tenderizing each other.
Take the progression of video games or even movies with their special effects, for example: How many young adults spent their youth playing endless hours of violent videogames, drinking Slurpees and eating liquorice? I wonder how many impressionable and troubled youth found an outlet in games like Grand Theft Auto, Halo, or Call of Duty. I wonder how many went on to steal cars and go off to fight in wars because . . . “It was just like a live videogame.”
Now, I don’t believe everyone who participates in these things is completely affected and has their life shaped by these pastimes. But my question is this: Have we become desensitized to what real violence is?
In my humble opinion, these are the secret identities of violence. We call them movies, videogames and sports. But are these things just violence posing as entertainment? If we add a few rules here and there to make it just a little more civilized, or if we’re role-playing in a world that is not our own, one absent of consequence, does that make violence okay? We’ve allowed it to become socially acceptable. It’s just monitored violence.
So, where do you stand?
You may read this and laugh at what would appear to be such a farfetched idea; you may completely disagree. That’s OK. But can you tell me where we should draw the line? Because it seems chalk outlines and body bags haven’t cut it yet.
We simply just turn the channel. “It’s not real. It’s just an image.”
So, are you offended yet, or just entertained?
Adam Petrash wants to know if you are offended.