Can we have more violence on TV please?

It seems that watching violence on TV actually helps reduce violence in the real world. I’m not convinced but prepared to trial it In New Zealand for …oh I don’t know…10 years?

French historian Robert Muchembeld argues in his book, History of Violence, that crime fiction and novels about war have given young men a way to indulge in violent fantasies without actually going out and stabbing someone. Or, over the last few years, they could stab someone playing Grand Theft Auto rather than stab someone while actually committing grand theft auto. This is the blood-and-gore version of the argument that that more pornography leads to lower sexual violence.

There might be something to it. While exposing kids to the latest cadaver on CSI — or to Jack Bauer’s lessons in successful torture on 24 — is probably a bad idea, watching an action movie might in fact reduce violence among adults. A recent study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics suggests that violent crime rates actually dropped when a blood-splattered blockbuster was in the cinema in the United States. The authors Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna looked at data from 1995 to 2004 and concluded that violent movies deter almost 1,000 assaults on an average weekend in the United States.

Perhaps humanity will never completely abandon its lust for blood. But it appears that lust can in fact be sated using fake blood wielded by Hollywood special-effects technicians. And outside the theater, people respond to behavioral cues — if their friends don’t stab people to win an argument, they are less likely to do it themselves. They also respond to institutional cues — if they can use the courts to settle a dispute or address a wrong, they’re less likely to resort to blood feuds. All of which suggests the hope that, in years to come, there will be a lot more deaths on TV and movie screens than in the real world.


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  • Philip ure a cock

    Extending that thesis then: playing Once Were Warriors on all channels every night for a year might reduce Maori child abuse?

  • Anonymous

    Its true , I been playing CoD3 all weekend and have absolutely no urge pick up an assault rifle and run into the streets spraying all and sundry with gunfire………………well,  except for the sanctimonious ignoramuses? ignorami? travelling at 80k in the right hand lane of HW16 this morn, THEN I could have used a AT4.

  • Anonymous

    Always believed this to be so for the Majority.
    But how do we shut up the NO Sex is Good Sex minority, especially on a slow news day.
    Bring on the bottle feeding I say.

  • I’ve also wondered about this. Perhaps that’s what is really wrong with young boys today? Used to think it was lack of male teachers at a young age that made our rugby players into a bunch of makeup and perfume wearing fashion models instead of men – but maybe this is it – lets experiment with the Super Rugby guys this season – or maybe just the Hurricanes?