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Game of Thrones and Violence in Media

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Obviously not a Houston, or architecture related topic...  Given how popular this tv show is, plus the quality/deepth of the story I wanted to bring this up as a topic (hopefully it will fare better than my previous attempt at a topic - BBQ)!

 

***Spoilers may be posted on here?  So read with that knowledge in mind.***

 

Do any of you watch, or read the books?  I've watched every episode and read about 1/10th of the first book (admittedly I read very little non-fiction).

 

Several observations particularly after the last episode "The Mountain and The Viper" that aired on Sunday the 1st of June:

 

1) This series - while well done and very good in parts - crosses the line of decency with the level of gore in certain areas.  TV, and other media, can remain "shocking" and elicit a mental/psychological response without being gross.  And by gross, I do not mean "yucky" or "nasty," I mean abhorrent and visually displeasing/disturbing to the point of being extreme.  The last episode had 2 scenes that fit that catagory, there were several other scenes in earlier seasons that also fit that catagory - namely the death of a very pregnant woman by being stabbed many times in the belly; the crussed skull and over the top gore of scattered brains, eyes, face; and the flayed man with organs showing and eyeball missing... etc.

 

There is violence that is relevant to the story - a battle scene for instance - but then there is violence that takes one out of the idea of imaginary and shows us too much.  I think GoT sometimes crosses that line.  The death of the pregnant woman was loudest and ugliest (to me) - as it was a depiction of murder - wanton and gory in unncessary detail on a helpless woman with child.  Probably the first (and hopefully last) time I've seen anything showing a pregnant woman dying in a horid manner on film, but I doubt it will be.  Where is the boundry between story telling and graphic depiction?  The crushed skull was another example.  One needn't watch the entire ordeal unfold to understand what was happening - a cut with a sound would suffice (which they did), but then they panned away from the tattered remains of a skull - and it was sickening.

 

2) There are moments in the series that are brilliant, and even some of the violence done in levels of gore are ok to make the point.  War movies (for one example) can show a person being blown up or losing a limb and even people (fictitious though they might be - ones who represent a real event or real platoon or real action) can be constructed in a way that is not disturbing.  Even movies or tv series that have graphic violence can achieve levels of gore without crossing a line.

I feel as though we - society - has grown to expect this sort of thing from acclaimed/noteworthy stories.  Unforgiven (1992) by Clint Eastwood is a fantastic film in many ways.  It is very violent.  Very disturbing.  But not to the point of being unsightly.  Eastwood's character, is itself a formerly "evil" man (though somewhat reformed through most of the movie).  This evil man (who's done horrible things over his life) does bad things in the film, but they are done with a cinematic precision and depiction without being over the top graphic - and the scenes make sense.  The scene(s) near the end when William Muney aims the rifle slowly (at point blank range) over Big Bill's face - is very powerful, you know what will happen without having to witness it - is an example of a graphic scene made more powerful by the idea and less the image.  Many a show and movie could learn how to handle tough/gritty/raw scenes with a more dignified way - though few these days seem to try.

 

I had more quite a bit more - decided to leave it at this...

 

I am not saying we shouldn't have R-rated films, or TV-MA television, just that perhaps producers and directors could be a bit more artistic when recreating scenes from books/comics/what-have-you.

 

Though I do question where does a "snuff film" start and a tv-series or violent film end?  That line seems to be blurred today.

 

Thoughts?

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GoT is an extremely violent story in the first place, and this is premium cable where such things get played.

 

I do have a few issues with how they have presented the material, though. Jaime is somewhat of a "good guy" and yet they depicted him as a rapist in the crypt scene with Cersei. This is a change from the actual source material: that interaction in the books was consensual. Why the need to change this to a rape? I didn't like that at all.

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Got is pretty heavily based on medieval history and most of the violence is pretty accurate to what happened in that time period although it does have a tendency to go over the top at times.

I actually have more of an issue with shows that completely sanitize violence. It should be disturbing.

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GoT is an extremely violent story in the first place, and this is premium cable where such things get played.

 

Jaime is somewhat of a "good guy" and yet they depicted him as a rapist in the crypt scene with Cersei. This is a change from the actual source material: that interaction in the books was consensual. Why the need to change this to a rape? I didn't like that at all.

That is a good point. The rape scene was...well, something that wasn't really needed.  See - it was an exceptional overly graphic abhorrent act that didn't need to be depicted - at least not the way it was.

 

As for premium cable -- If this was a movie it would have been rated NC-17 for those really violent episodes.  Is that ok?  Apparently its ok to have it on tv, but for a movie that is the kiss of death.

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Got is pretty heavily based on medieval history and most of the violence is pretty accurate to what happened in that time period although it does have a tendency to go over the top at times.

I actually have more of an issue with shows that completely sanitize violence. It should be disturbing.

GoT is a fantasy based off of Medieval concepts.  The Middle Ages/Dark Ages did have men with swords and axes and town sackings and rape and pillaging, but it wasn't as bleak as many think.  Brutal treatment of people has persisted throughout history - an iron sword through the gut was still just as bad in 200 BCE as it was in 1600 CE.  The thing I find exceptionally disturbing about GoT is the idea that a woman with child needs (for example) to be shown being stabbed 20 times to get the point across that things were rough.

 

I agree violence does not need to be glorified, but it also doesn't necessarily need to be depicted in such realism that it is mentally scaring.  I reiterate that film/tv (when produced at the highest level) is more an art form than less of one.  Raw scenes - hard scenes - can be accomplished with some artistic embellishment that doesn't detract from the acting/set design/quality of production that is otherwise present.

 

I'm not saying all elements of GoT are bad, just that some of the scenes needn't be quite as graphic.  I know that the producers and George RR Martin are wanting people to squirm, so its to be expected... I'm just asking/talking about whether it is really needed?

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My Director of Domestic Bliss really enjoys Game of Thrones.  I do not (albeit for reasons other than the gore level - which previously was under my radar).  So I find something else to do when it's on.

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I understand your point and I don't disagree with you. The show moves past my comfort level at times as well. However it's their artistic vision to present and, as someone who has read the books as well, I think that they've done a very good job of presenting the material in an entertaining way. Like everyone else, I think that certain parts could have been done differently, but presenting 40 hours of extremely complex story is always going to have missteps. One thing that I think that they have done an excellent job with is getting the audience emotionally attached to characters that meet with violent ends which makes the impact that much stronger.

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I understand your point and I don't disagree with you. The show moves past my comfort level at times as well. However it's their artistic vision to present and, as someone who has read the books as well, I think that they've done a very good job of presenting the material in an entertaining way. Like everyone else, I think that certain parts could have been done differently, but presenting 40 hours of extremely complex story is always going to have missteps. One thing that I think that they have done an excellent job with is getting the audience emotionally attached to characters that meet with violent ends which makes the impact that much stronger.

 

Like I said - I've only started the first book - I'm just not a big fiction reader.  So that part is lost for me, unfortunately, as I do like to read a good book and then catch the film/tv show and compare the two.

 

I realize GoT is well done, its an exceptionally well done series, though at times there are scenes that just miss the point are I feel are added only for the point of being very disturbing.  Take Reek for instance.  He isn't covered in the books very much, yet his torture scenes are rather brutal and not really needed.  I just think that this show crosses the line of decency at times.  And to those who don't personally know me I am very far removed from being a prude.

 

My point in posting this was to get others opinions about one particular show and the general escalation of violence in tv and film to the point it has gotten to today.  People bemoan video games, yet we seldom see the same complaints in regards to movies or even tv.  Video games offer a level of control that movies/tv simply do not have.  Books also have a level of control - your imagination is only as graphic as you make it.

 

I'm not saying I won't watch Game of Thrones any more - just wanted to open a dialog with others who watch and see what they think.

 

Indeed it does get people very attached to certain characters and their demise is often much harder because of that.

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I read all the books and follow the show. I just want the author to keep writing and finish up the series as quickly as possible, it takes soooo long to get the books.  I almost wish I never read anything or watched the show and then picked it up after it was done to watch and read it straight through like many of us do with Hulu now to see entire multi-season shows we missed in years past that are still good today.

Apparently he told the producers the ending if he does not live to see the last book(s) written.  It is frustrating, because I like to read ahead on the wikia pages and see which characters will meet an untimely demise (knew about Oberyn's death - but not quite the level of gore that would be presented).

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Absolutely the culture can push farther into the taboo. There lingers a sense that children are off-limits, but I wouldn't bank on it.*

I have not seen GoT so don't know whether the violence therein is equal opportunity -- but I'd be surprised if the womb-stabbing is a novelty.

In the 70s the scolds went after "Charlie's Angels" (!) all because the girls were skimpily dressed and answered to the commands of a disembodied male voice. Consider that at the time that really was the worst thing the feminists could think of. The mainstream hadn't yet widened to include slasher movies. Rap hadn't displaced R&B. Overall, in those supposed years of hedonism there was a brief, weird, largely wholesome window with respect to women in TV and movies. What would have been inconceivable then, was that at the tail end of a tedious decades-long conversation about the "portrayal of women,"  almost the entire meat of American popular culture, bestselling books included, would be furnished by women as either victims of violence or as sexual objects - the two not infrequently conflated. Understand, I'm not even talking about pornography.

Oh, yes, I forgot - we get the occasional spunky cartoon heroine to right the ledger.

About once a year I notice this all over again, like I turn on the TV and a bunch of beautiful women are competing for bachelor Brad, or a bunch of homely women are competing to see who deserves plastic surgery the most, and not being the sharpest tool, I say something along the lines of "I can't believe {whatever latest horror} is possible post-feminism!" And invariably, my husband replies, "Then you haven't understood feminism very well."

Whatever, I'm ready for a Selden crisis.

 

*Or: and this is perhaps the only time you'll hear any optimism from me - a sea change might come about from our demographic shift to Los Estados Unidos. Curiously, despite the aberration of Dia de los Muertos, and despite its violence, Mexico doesn't seem to share our obsession with death and degradation. Maybe law and order are overrated. Anecdotally derived from witnessing their dedication to family, if they can retain that element of their culture, I have faith in the ability of Mexican men to protect their children, a duty American men have largely abdicated.

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Absolutely the culture can push farther into the taboo. There lingers a sense that children are off-limits, but I wouldn't bank on it.*

I have not seen GoT so don't know whether the violence therein is equal opportunity -- but I'd be surprised if the womb-stabbing is a novelty.

 

There was a scene with crucified children that were slaves... gruesome, but the fact they were children wasn't absolutely clear to non-book readers.  There was also the scene in season 2 (?) with the burned bodies of the two children - much made about because it was a key story plot point.

 

Game of Thrones appears to have crossed that threshold where nothing is really off limits.  The fact this is a fantasy makes it more disturbing.  It isn't as if we're watching a series about Tamerlane and his conquests, of the genocide of the Native Americans by the Spanish, or the Holocaust.  If we were watching those, then historical relevance and accurate dipiction of attrocities might in fact be needed more so to show just how bad things could be - than for any plot point.

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I've been fascinated by the many historical influences that inspired the author, and led to this visual interpretation. It's intriguing to see the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European designs in costume, architecture, and interior design. So many regions inspired the tale. And history is wrought with much violence. The European Medieval period was dark, for more than one reason. The human torture devices were brutal. My opinion - the story can be told with implications, not everything has to be so violently depicted - visually. I often wonder what influence it has on younger generations, seeing so much of it. 

 

The cast is phenomenal. The good European actors and their colorful characters are a major draw for me. 

 

The Hound is by far my favorite, along with the little Stark girl. 

Edited by NenaE
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The head smashing of Prince Oberyn by The Mountain reminded me of The Toxic Avenger from 1984 when a character in the film had his head smashed while using a weight machine. I watched the "behind the scenes" of TTA and thought it was funny that the head was actually a melon with a wig and a face painted on. The head smash in GoT was so over the top that it also looked like a melon getting smashed and I laughed at it. However as a first time father with a 5 month old in the room I realized that very soon I would have to start making decisions about what I'll watch with her and what I'll allow her to watch. I most definitely will not let her watch Game of Thrones.

 

I feel rather desensitized to movie violence, particularly as someone with an interest in film special effects, knowing how they're made and having watched so many violent shows and movies in my life. I've always felt the "sexpositions" in the show were more gratuitous. Do we really need a bi-sexual orgy in every episode where one of the characters recites an inner-self revealing soliloquy?

 

Got is a great show but would still be a great show without the gratuitous sex and violence. Of course those aspects of the program have us talking about it and many others as well so it probably serves it's purpose for the producers. Eventually something will come along that will make Got look benign, as is always the case with controversial content in mass media. I love it though and will not be letting my kids watch it.

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^Uppity Boar is one I'd want to see them attempt.  I mean what is an "uppity" boar?  One of higher social rank and refinement not found among the common man?

 

Good find.  Very true.

 

I'm not upset at Oberyn's death - just at the level of graphic violence the show feels it should have on film.  I feel as if... the producers are purposely making certain parts more graphic than others for the sake of selling the show.  I do agree with the above comment by arndthwrld82 about the level of nudity.  It is excessive, and often times pointless to the story.  Don't get me wrong - I think our society pushes violence as far, far, far more acceptable than nakedness....and it should be the other way around.  A naked body is much less troublesome to view than a mutilated body or smashed head or what-have-you.  It is just that GoT naked people are mostly not very nice to look at, compared to say the "hot" people that you'd find on True Blood for instance (this is what my wife says which I agree with).

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 If we were watching those, then historical relevance and accurate dipiction of attrocities might in fact be needed more so to show just how bad things could be - than for any plot point.

 

I've read all the books, and am watching the series now, I've seen movies that are more gruesome than what the show is that were rated R (Saw movies for instance, gore flicks, but still only rated R). It's probably just that those movies aren't movies that you thought would interest you (so you didn't watch them), where you thought GoT would (or you were just tired of listening to everyone talk about the show for 3 days after it's aired), so it's a shock to see this kind of stuff.

 

I think the accurate depiction of the atrocities of war would make GoT look like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

 

I'm not talking about the fighting of iconic battles depicted on screen (such as the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, which was supposedly very accurate and had veterans provide some feedback and direction), but real atrocities. Imagine seeing a movie where they realistically depict severed heads and bodies being thrown by a catapult into a town that is under siege, stuff like that. Real war, and real history is far more gruesome than GoT.

 

Also, for me at least, seeing actual footage from wars is far harder for me to watch than an actor squeezing a watermelon and ketchup splurting everywhere. No matter how well they draw me into a scene, I still know it's just a movie, the director will call cut, and the people will go take a shower, and go home to their families. Watching actual war footage though. ugh, no matter how grainy the footage, and they show that on the History Channel (when they're not doing stories about aliens).

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1) Thanks to all who have replied.  Getting addtional voices and ideas has made this an interesting topic for debate.

 

2) This should have mentioned other movies/tv shows but focused in stead on Game of Thrones... that was a mistake to single out Game of Thrones, which is a very well made/acted/filmed TV series.

 

3) Sensationalism sells.  Always has, always will.  We would have forgotten about the Titanic like we did the Lusitania if it hadn't been proclaimed "unsinkable."  Such is human nature.

 

4) There is something to be said for realism vs overly glossy/gussied up footage that Hollywood is so famous for.  Saving Private Ryan, Unforgiven, Children of Men (for several examples) are gritty, real, and hard to watch at times... the context is different for each of those films, but the gore and violence are similar (consequently Unforgiven isn't really gory, more of a psychological gore) and they play a very important part for each film.  Glossy violence in films like Iron Man or The Expendables (for two random examples) is probably much more of the problem than the overly gross/realistic stuff.  Kids and adults alike equate those scenes to be far more likely than reality, and hence view violence in general as something far less troublesome than it really is.

 

5) Movies like SAW are a prefect example - perhaps that is what I should have put on here instead?  They are little more than gore fests with little story, little emotional responses less the shuddering as someone has their jaws torn apart by some ridiculous "trap."  And how many have been made?  Proof that people enjoy violence-in-the-extreme way too much.

 

6) I disagree about History/National Geo/BBC others showing REAL war footage.  Yes it is hard.  Yes it is really, trully brutal, but unlike the made up stuff these are actually real humans who are going through this attrocity.  We need to show war for what it is: Hard.  Brutral.  Nasty.  Unkind.  Remorseless.  However there are ways to achieve that without going overboard.

 

War of the Century - When Hitler Fought Stalin (BBC - 2005) is a great documentary about the most attrocity filled conflict in history.  Its brutal to watch.  There are film reels that show attrocities against civilians... talk about rough stuff, but unlike made-up movies and TV this is something we should watch to understand that is how life was, how life will continue to be, and hopefully how life will be able to adapt so we will no longer have to endure such pain and suffering again.  War of the Century should be watched, at least once, as the educational benefit far outweighs the negativity surrounding the real violence shown.  If historical events cause people to have nightmares while movies and films do not, thats good.  History can't be undone, history can't be ignored.  Squashing a mans head and showing it just because... has zero value to it other than to be sensational.

 

If you pit reality versus film/TV, reality wins every time.

 

I guess at the end of the day there are films, TV shows, books and documentaries for every taste, every different set of eyes and ears.  Each of us reacts differently to each scene, and at the end of the film that is what the director and stars really wanted us to see and feel. 

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I've read all the books, and am watching the series now, I've seen movies that are more gruesome than what the show is that were rated R (Saw movies for instance, gore flicks, but still only rated R). It's probably just that those movies aren't movies that you thought would interest you (so you didn't watch them), where you thought GoT would (or you were just tired of listening to everyone talk about the show for 3 days after it's aired), so it's a shock to see this kind of stuff.

 

I think the accurate depiction of the atrocities of war would make GoT look like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

 

I'm not talking about the fighting of iconic battles depicted on screen (such as the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, which was supposedly very accurate and had veterans provide some feedback and direction), but real atrocities. Imagine seeing a movie where they realistically depict severed heads and bodies being thrown by a catapult into a town that is under siege, stuff like that. Real war, and real history is far more gruesome than GoT.

 

Also, for me at least, seeing actual footage from wars is far harder for me to watch than an actor squeezing a watermelon and ketchup splurting everywhere. No matter how well they draw me into a scene, I still know it's just a movie, the director will call cut, and the people will go take a shower, and go home to their families. Watching actual war footage though. ugh, no matter how grainy the footage, and they show that on the History Channel (when they're not doing stories about aliens).

 

 

I think I may be the lone conservative on this forum, so I'll try to succinctly convey that perspective:

 

The issue is not what people can tolerate, in the Grand Guignol way; the channel of what is "mainstream" can be infinitely widened.

 

Nor is it whether movie footage is more or less graphic than reality. People used to come from miles around, children in tow, to enjoy the spectacle of a hanging. At least one may offer the excuse that this perhaps functioned as the equivalent of a cautionary public awareness campaign in a brutal time, but it is not an impulse to honor. The past is not monolithic; I'm sure that there were right-thinking people who were appalled.

 

Our reaction to an image, and the images we seek, may tell us something about how in touch with reality we are. And by reality, I mean less, what is really bad - than what is good.

 

That very graphic depictions of violence should furnish light entertainment is decadent, and decadence usually presages the end.

 

I understand that when conservatives say such things, all people hear is: you want to take away our fun. No, no. It just makes you wonder what's coming.

 

Note: I have no particular axe to grind with any one show. I myself tried to watch that "True Detective" series, but couldn't get through it. I'm bored with dead, bound girls, the victims of perverted VIP sex rings. And yes, boredom is a sign of decadence, too. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

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I think I may be the lone conservative on this forum, so I'll try to succinctly convey that perspective:

That very graphic depictions of violence should furnish light entertainment is decadent, and decadence usually presages the end.

 

To your first point - I doubt you are the only conservative on this forum.

 

I agree that the graphic depictions of violence are meant to be a form (or part of) the entertainment presented.  Yet they also show a decadent and rather vulgar side to society.  Humans like spectacle.  Rather than attend public executions we depict them on TV or in film.  Perhaps we're far more civilized than before?  Though your point that the executions were at least a form of warning to those in attendance to "tow the line, act a good citizen?"

 

[Decadence does indeed presage the "end;" as the end signifies the prior period or style of life is over.  The Romans are perhaps the greatest example of decadence "crumbling," although it was not an overnight crash and burn, rather, it was a slow methodic destruction from within through bad policies that destroyed the Western Empire.]

 

All to the points you mentioned -- I do believe we needn't cross certain lines in film or tv to make a point.  Squashed watermelong or not (though it was meant to LOOK like a smashed up head with brains and eyes and bone - probably as convincing as it needed to be) some elements of violence can be left out to adequately tell the tale.  Film and TV are forms of art.  When does art become so realistic it is no longer art?  Is there a point?  Is the rape of a sister by her brother a form of art?  Did Game of Thones cross the line there?  Or was that less bad?

 

Does a show like Game of Thrones cover gore and violence the way it does to sell?  Yes.  And when you do that - in my opinion - it goes too far.  Game of Thrones is not the only culprit there are plenty of others. 

 

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6) I disagree about History/National Geo/BBC others showing REAL war footage.  Yes it is hard.  Yes it is really, trully brutal, but unlike the made up stuff these are actually real humans who are going through this attrocity.  We need to show war for what it is: Hard.  Brutral.  Nasty.  Unkind.  Remorseless.  However there are ways to achieve that without going overboard.

 

War of the Century - When Hitler Fought Stalin (BBC - 2005) is a great documentary about the most attrocity filled conflict in history.  Its brutal to watch.  There are film reels that show attrocities against civilians... talk about rough stuff, but unlike made-up movies and TV this is something we should watch to understand that is how life was, how life will continue to be, and hopefully how life will be able to adapt so we will no longer have to endure such pain and suffering again.  War of the Century should be watched, at least once, as the educational benefit far outweighs the negativity surrounding the real violence shown.  If historical events cause people to have nightmares while movies and films do not, thats good.  History can't be undone, history can't be ignored.  Squashing a mans head and showing it just because... has zero value to it other than to be sensational.

 

If you pit reality versus film/TV, reality wins every time.

 

I guess at the end of the day there are films, TV shows, books and documentaries for every taste, every different set of eyes and ears.  Each of us reacts differently to each scene, and at the end of the film that is what the director and stars really wanted us to see and feel. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think more people should watch the real footage so they aren't mistaken about the 'glories' of war, I'm just saying for me, I watch shows like GoT and think nothing of the violence that is depicted, but watch real footage from a war? I can barely look at the screen. Take for instance, the scene in the original Red Dawn, where the kids watch their parents and friends be executed over the mass grave they just dug, I can watch that every day, no problem. Show some footage of real people being executed over the graves they just dug? ugh. ugh. ugh. I watch, but I cringe, and I don't need to see it ever again.

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Don't get me wrong, I think more people should watch the real footage so they aren't mistaken about the 'glories' of war, I'm just saying for me, I watch shows like GoT and think nothing of the violence that is depicted, but watch real footage from a war? I can barely look at the screen. Take for instance, the scene in the original Red Dawn, where the kids watch their parents and friends be executed over the mass grave they just dug, I can watch that every day, no problem. Show some footage of real people being executed over the graves they just dug? ugh. ugh. ugh. I watch, but I cringe, and I don't need to see it ever again.

 

 

Indeed the real footage is impossibly hard to watch - at least for me.  That is how it ought to be.  I can however, see that depictions of violence are also hard to watch.

Schindler's List - a movie - very, very hard to watch.  And everyone went home at the end of the day.  Perhaps its just good storytelling when one can be so engaged that they cringe at the violence, or swoon over the love, or feel betrayal or anger over the loss of a well liked character?

 

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I think I may be the lone conservative on this forum, so I'll try to succinctly convey that perspective:

 

The issue is not what people can tolerate, in the Grand Guignol way; the channel of what is "mainstream" can be infinitely widened.

 

Nor is it whether movie footage is more or less graphic than reality. People used to come from miles around, children in tow, to enjoy the spectacle of a hanging. At least one may offer the excuse that this perhaps functioned as the equivalent of a cautionary public awareness campaign in a brutal time, but it is not an impulse to honor. The past is not monolithic; I'm sure that there were right-thinking people who were appalled.

 

Our reaction to an image, and the images we seek, may tell us something about how in touch with reality we are. And by reality, I mean less, what is really bad - than what is good.

 

That very graphic depictions of violence should furnish light entertainment is decadent, and decadence usually presages the end.

 

I understand that when conservatives say such things, all people hear is: you want to take away our fun. No, no. It just makes you wonder what's coming.

 

Note: I have no particular axe to grind with any one show. I myself tried to watch that "True Detective" series, but couldn't get through it. I'm bored with dead, bound girls, the victims of perverted VIP sex rings. And yes, boredom is a sign of decadence, too. :-)

 

Well, it depends, is this just your editorial on violent movies, or do you want to have society live by your moral standard?

 

And what about other forms of sensationalism? Watching people eat live bugs on a show like fear factor, that makes me want to throw up, it is certainly a form of sensationalism to attract viewers. What about on the evening news? They have that sensational title for some breaking story that is always 'just coming up' but really, it's at the end of the show, and not nearly as sensational as the title suggested. It's not disgusting, but it is disgusting.

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Indeed the real footage is impossibly hard to watch - at least for me.  That is how it ought to be.  I can however, see that depictions of violence are also hard to watch.

Schindler's List - a movie - very, very hard to watch.  And everyone went home at the end of the day.  Perhaps its just good storytelling when one can be so engaged that they cringe at the violence, or swoon over the love, or feel betrayal or anger over the loss of a well liked character?

 

 

I very rarely get sucked into a movie so much that I begin to feel for the actors, but on the rare occasion that I do, that's when I consider it to be a really great film. In all honesty.

 

Schindler's List, that one is more than just a movie, in my opinion. 

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Well, it depends, is this just your editorial on violent movies, or do you want to have society live by your moral standard?

 

 

Well, samagon, that's not going to work. According to mr.l, who is reliable in these matters, I have no moral sense. I am some lower order of being, or at least quite primitive.

Fortunately, It's not relevant.

I know Americans think everything of importance begins and ends with the individual, and that the personal is political, but I'm afraid this really is all about the aggregate.

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Well, samagon, that's not going to work. According to mr.l, who is reliable in these matters, I have no moral sense. I am some lower order of being, or at least quite primitive.

Fortunately, It's not relevant.

I know Americans think everything of importance begins and ends with the individual, and that the personal is political, but I'm afraid this really is all about the aggregate.

 

You did say you were conservative, so...     :P

 

Thinking introspectively about this topic, I find it funny that I can watch a guy get his head crushed with blood splurting all over the place, but show someone getting stuck by a needle and I have to avert my gaze or else I go all squeamish. I can watch the whole of Reservoir Dogs, no problem, but that one scene in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta's character is shooting up heroin. No. Way. And that scene in the original Matrix where Neo pulls that needle out of his arm? No. No. No. No. No.

 

My aversion to needles does allow me to completely understand your perspective on over the top gore.

 

I can say confidently though that even if the majority of society had my same aversion to needles that I'd not want to stop movie makers from showing scenes of needles being used.

Edited by samagon
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You did say you were conservative, so...     :P

 

Thinking introspectively about this topic, I find it funny that I can watch a guy get his head crushed with blood splurting all over the place, but show someone getting stuck by a needle and I have to avert my gaze or else I go all squeamish. I can watch the whole of Reservoir Dogs, no problem, but that one scene in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta's character is shooting up heroin. No. Way. And that scene in the original Matrix where Neo pulls that needle out of his arm? No. No. No. No. No.

 

My aversion to needles does allow me to completely understand your perspective on over the top gore.

 

I can say confidently though that even if the majority of society had my same aversion to needles that I'd not want to stop movie makers from showing scenes of needles being used.

 

It's interesting to be judged by someone who's just emphasized that moral judgments are invalid.

 

I think I dodged your question earlier, am distracted today.

The elite has more or less imposed their very particular moral sense on the rest of us.

Since we'll not be undoing that in my lifetime, all that really remains for me to wish for, is that people would be honest - which they never have been - about what it means to live without standards, what the costs are, and how much energy and resources we should devote to ameliorating those costs.

I think "none" should be in the mix of reasonable answers to the latter question.

I haven't seen those movies you mentioned, and am not aware of being squeamish about needles, but it recalls to me a young man I remember as one of the liveliest and most charming of my son's school friends. He recently overdosed on heroin.

I consider that boy a sacrifice to the general societal "fun."

That's embarrassing that I mentioned that, isn't it? Or that I would feel that way? Priggish. And like I didn't play fair. It's not good form to suggest that people get hurt when moral standards are lax. There are only pretend needles and pretend killings; celebrating them means nothing.

You may want to insert another of those sticking out the tongue emoticons.

 

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Thinking introspectively about this topic, I find it funny that I can watch a guy get his head crushed with blood splurting all over the place, but show someone getting stuck by a needle and I have to avert my gaze or else I go all squeamish. I can watch the whole of Reservoir Dogs, no problem, but that one scene in Pulp Fiction when John Travolta's character is shooting up heroin. No. Way. And that scene in the original Matrix where Neo pulls that needle out of his arm? No. No. No. No. No.

 

I take it you've never seen Takashi Miike's AUDITION. 

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It's interesting to be judged by someone who's just emphasized that moral judgments are invalid.

 

I think I dodged your question earlier, am distracted today.

The elite has more or less imposed their very particular moral sense on the rest of us.

Since we'll not be undoing that in my lifetime, all that really remains for me to wish for, is that people would be honest - which they never have been - about what it means to live without standards, what the costs are, and how much energy and resources we should devote to ameliorating those costs.

I think "none" should be in the mix of reasonable answers to the latter question.

I haven't seen those movies you mentioned, and am not aware of being squeamish about needles, but it recalls to me a young man I remember as one of the liveliest and most charming of my son's school friends. He recently overdosed on heroin.

I consider that boy a sacrifice to the general societal "fun."

That's embarrassing that I mentioned that, isn't it? Or that I would feel that way? Priggish. And like I didn't play fair. It's not good form to suggest that people get hurt when moral standards are lax. There are only pretend needles and pretend killings; celebrating them means nothing.

You may want to insert another of those sticking out the tongue emoticons.

 

The smiley was intended to denote sarcasm.

 

Anyway, if you haven't seen those movies I'll recommend you do not watch Game of Thrones, while it is an interesting story, and the attention to detail of the costumes and sets is very high, I'd imagine you'll be distracted by all the depictions of death in the first scene of the first episode alone, let alone everything else that happens throughout the story. 

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Each of us have our own standards for moral behavior.

 

I've long felt that naked bodies are FAR less offensive than any form of violence, though it seems the vast majority of this country still views breasts and butts as offensive compared to say - a guy getting shot in the head (multiple movies - from PG-13 on up).

 

Though there are some who have puritanical views that the human body is something to be viewed in private - which I agree not everything needs to be on display.  However, I still find it odd that people who have that view are ok with violence, sometimes extreme violence.  And before anyone says "that's just an assumption you have," I do actually know several people who share/have those views!

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Hmmmmmm... 

 

Maybe I paid extra for it without knowing it, but the TVs in my house all have a method of changing the channel if there is something on that I don't care to watch.  Likewise, I cannot remember the last time I awakened from some sort of blind fog and was startled to find myself sitting in a movie theater.  

 

We all have our own tastes, likes, and dislikes.  Like arche, I don't get nearly as worked up about ta tas and wah wahs on screen as others do.  In general, I also prefer generalized mayhem to actual violence.  And I can find such things, and ignore the others.

 

Point being, if you don't want to watch Dr. Gene Scott or some such, then don't.  Shut your eyes and put beans in your ears if you have to.  But there's not a whole lot of point about engaging in a bunch of pearl clutching and hand wringing about what others want to view.

 

 

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Yes of course we can change the channel, or not buy a movie stub.  What I'm writting about here is not a personal choice to leave/remove oneself from viewing pictures that might be offensive, rather, I'm talking about the need for what I would consider "ultra-violence" where the context of said violence is unwarrented for the greater good of the story.  I used the third to last episode of Game of Thrones season 4 as an example because of the nasty, overly violent ending that was shown which honestly did very little to make the show better, or more importantly to move the story along.  It was unnecessary.  The man could have died off screen completely and the story would have gone on without him, with zero consequence.

 

There are other movies, tv series and other media where violence - namely that of the "excessive" kind - is becoming more pervasive.  What does that do to a society?  Why have we gone down this road when we're so squeamish about naked bodies, or even a breastfeeding woman?!  People react much more strongly against a woman feeding her child than they do to a squashed head (fake or not), or bullet riddled bodies.  I find that strange, and sad.

 

Our society is very odd at times.

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Our society is very odd at times.

 

No spit, Sherlock.  

 

I do not care for gratuitous violence (though I do loves me some mayhem, action, and adventure).  Frankly, the only reason I saw the head smashing in GoT was because my Director of Domestic Bliss starts having vibrating withdrawal symptoms when the show goes into hiatus, and the DDB puts up with a certain number of improbable chase scenes and explosions in return.  But I'm not going to try to cram my own tastes and sensibilities down other people's throats.  I despise censorship.  Adults can make their own choices, and those who have children can certainly monitor, guide, and explain what those kids are exposed to.  In my view, that's part of being a parent; it's certainly the way my parents raised me (they even managed to do it without hovering.  Too much.).

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I, myself, have struggled with this topic for years. I am only 46, but still have seen the portrayal of violence become more and more extreme, yet, seemingly, accepted on television, movies, cable, etc. It's the age old question; Does society shape the media OR does the media shape society? Is it a symbiotic relationship so tightly wound that trying to dissect who or what's responsible is nearly impossible? I love the GoT series, which is full of intrigue but not afraid to show reality as the writers perceive it. I have tried to stomach those 50s and early 60s epics. They are much too theatrical and farce like. I enjoy the reality, grit and all, of today's depiction of reality. I love it that comics are being revamped. Fables of old, that Disney made into Seasame Street safe stories, were actually originally written to be more brutal than most of us know as children. I, for one, enjoy the realism.

As for gratuitous violence; snuff film status and such, I think that is a bit extreme. This specific series has explicit disclaimers at the beginning of each episode which will let the viewer know what they are In for regarding the story. For instance, if there will be overt sexuality, the viewer will be warned. If there is to be overt violence, again, the viewer will be informed.

This show is depicting Medieval like conditions. They were bawdy to say the least. In fact, several studies have shown we as a world are actually more peaceful as a whole than we were even 300 years ago. Think about it. When was the last time any of us had to fight hand to hand combat to secure our meal, home or family? I certainly don't long for those times, but I also think we should not ignore they existed. Otherwise, we will be doomed to repeat them.

Sorry for the novel.

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I agree with everyone who's posted here - to an extent.

 

Censorship, and media control based on religious or political leanings is wrong.  However, I'm not talking about censorship.  I'm not talking about controlling what is on TV, or what movie you watch.  My question (and my posts on this topic have run a little long...sorry) is this:  "Why have violent scenes in films, and televions escalated?"  and  "If the violence is not relevant to the story then what purpose does it serve?"  We are talking about "art" here, documentary films are a tad different in that they depict portrayal's of actual events/places/people in history.

 

Does art need to escalate to extremes to make a point?  Again, Game of Thrones clearly makes it known that the world is hard and cruel without having to stab a very pregnant woman in the stomach many times over, or have a mans head crushed.  That is just my take on it.

 

And I'm not sure we're more peaceful now?  Hard to gauge that.

Here's an interesting link about global conflict: http://www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#!/?marker=2

Edited by arche_757

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Well, during the era that's GoT's setting we also had things like heads on pikes and rulers with names like Vlad the Impaler.  

 

Perhaps media are becoming more graphic... but when the starting point was Lucy and Ricky Ricardo sleeping in twin beds and nobody flushing a toilet before Archie Bunker, there really wasn't any other direction.

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Which came immediately after the most devastating conflict in Human history...

 

Vlad the Impaler was an exception, not the norm.  Today we still execute people, we just don't do it publicly - at least not in the square - though we still watch killers die.

 

The Middle Ages were hard not because of the violence, but because of the everyday things people had to deal with - sickness, lack of cleanliness, child mortality, lack of food, and life expectancy.

 

Is war less hard today because we have guns and not swords?  I doubt it.

 

Again, my point is not that violence need be left out of films or tv, but that graphic violence is usually not needed and serves little purpose.  All art is subjective, I suppose?

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... In fact, several studies have shown we as a world are actually more peaceful as a whole than we were even 300 years ago. Think about it. When was the last time any of us had to fight hand to hand combat to secure our meal, home or family? I certainly don't long for those times, but I also think we should not ignore they existed. Otherwise, we will be doomed to repeat them.

 

 

Does art need to escalate to extremes to make a point?  Again, Game of Thrones clearly makes it known that the world is hard and cruel without having to stab a very pregnant woman in the stomach many times over, or have a mans head crushed.  That is just my take on it ....

 

And I'm not sure we're more peaceful now?  Hard to gauge that.

 

 

 

Perhaps media are becoming more graphic... but when the starting point was Lucy and Ricky Ricardo sleeping in twin beds and nobody flushing a toilet before Archie Bunker, there really wasn't any other direction.

 

Currently enjoying less violence (per capita! gotta love that exploding population, flatters us in the stats, 'cuz babies don't tend to hurt people!) than ever before is the received wisdom since Steven Pinker explained it all for us --

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

 

... but then, hitting the reset button at 1945, "there really wasn't any other direction."

 

Maybe the undeniable pleasure many of our fellows take in depictions of violence is just a way of keeping their hands in. In case we need to pivot, as the business gurus say. Maybe that's why, arche_757, despite your heroic efforts to return us to the topic, after it devolved to whether individuals have TV remotes, you could not find any common agreement that there was a line we ought not, or need not, cross. There was no line to the imaginary violence, because the only line is actual violence.

 

The Bomb ushered in this era of peace. I'm pretty sure that's the very pattern of a Faustian bargain.

 

Something just read in another context: "The Dream and the Shadow were the best of comrades."

Edited by luciaphile
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I suppose I'm asking - or writing - about what that line is?  Is there a line?  What level of violence depicted in film or television is "too much?"  Surely we do not like rape scenes; which is probably the reason Downfall (2004) "allowed" the German women to simply walk through the Russian lines at the end of the film?  Which was odd for a European movie, as they tend to push things further from the happy endings common in Hollywood.  Though if you read the book(s) the movie was based on, or know anything of the conflict on the Eastern Front, then you know that rape/gang-rape was such a pervasive epidemic that it defined the flight of the Prussians and other East Germans prior to the total collapse of the German Army in 44/45.  Oddly enough those attrocities *may not have been pushed upon the Germans had they themselves been a bit more human in their treatment of the Eastern Slavic peoples when they invaded in 1941?  Who knows?

 

The Bomb ushered in an era of American peace - of sorts - though we've been involved in the following conflicts since 1945: Korea, Vietnam, The Afghan War (70s-80s), Granada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, The War in Afghanistan, The Iraq War.  In fact we're in a near state of constant conflict of some scale... much like the British during the reign of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, and Empress of India.

 

I just find it interesting.

Edited by arche_757

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This got me to musing a bit about expressly graphic vs. impliedly so.  Put differently, which was more violent - Mr. Watermelon Head in GoT, or the demise of Marion Crane in the 1960 version of Psycho?  

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Good question.  However, there is no doubt that Psycho's story would have trouble being told without that scene.  Game of Thrones head crush scene on the other hand makes little difference in the overall story.  The only issue that needed to be conveyed was that Oberyn dies at the hands of The Mountain.  We don't need to see the fight even, as the only portion of the story that is most relevant to is Tyrion's fate.  And it matters not if Oberyn dies by blood sucking leech, spear, arrows, sword, or - preposterously - by having another man squash his head into nothing.  It only matters that Tyrion either lives or dies based on this fight, but then Game of Thrones is mired down with many boring/needless stories.

Edited by arche_757

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Good question.  However, there is no doubt that Psycho's story would have trouble being told without that scene.  Game of Thrones head crush scene on the other hand makes little difference in the overall story.  The only issue that needed to be conveyed was that Oberyn dies at the hands of The Mountain.  We don't need to see the fight even, as the only portion of the story that is most relevant to is Tyrion's fate.  And it matters not if Oberyn dies by blood sucking leech, spear, arrows, sword, or - preposterously - by having another man squash his head into nothing.  It only matters that Tyrion either lives or dies based on this fight, but then Game of Thrones is mired down with many boring/needless stories.

 

I don't disagree that the headcrush might not have needed to be shown, maybe show him grabbing his head and crushing, then cut to ketchup being splattered. I do believe that showing the fight is necessary, it's a key point in the books, not just for Tyrion.

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I don't disagree that the headcrush might not have needed to be shown, maybe show him grabbing his head and crushing, then cut to ketchup being splattered. I do believe that showing the fight is necessary, it's a key point in the books, not just for Tyrion.

 

"It only matters that Tyrion either lives or dies based on this fight, but then Game of Thrones is mired down with many boring/needless stories."

 

Game of Thrones has a lot of filler/fluff added into it.  I'm not saying Oberyn vs Clegane wasn't a needed scene, but it really was not.  Cleganes story from here on is weird, and I don't see how it can be made into a totally relevant piece.  Not everything need be taken from the books - its much easier to cover 400 pages of information when read compared to watching it in 10 episodes that are 50 minutes long.  I find myself wondering why certain scenes or people are even in the television series.

 

Edited by arche_757

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Interesting.  

 

My main contact with GoT is that my Director of Domestic Bliss makes sure that it fills the haunted aquarium whenever it's on.  I'm in the room, usually, but paying attention to reading or some such.  I haven't read any of the books (they aren't one of my favored genres), so unless I relent and go back and binge watch, I can't really follow it.  As a result, about all I notice are the scenes of sex and/or mayhem, such as Mr. Watermelon Head, so I leave it to y'all as to how much it does or does not advance the plot.  

 

Now I am familiar with my Hitchcock.  Marion's last scene was more suggested violence than actual, save for one dang near subliminal moment.  Instead, scoring, a frantic number of camera cuts, and a final soupçon of chocolate syrup down the drain provided the chills.  Regardless, as far as the story itself goes, all we'd really need to see is Anthony Perkins carrying off a shower curtain full of potatoes to get the point across that she'd checked out.

 

Neither Oberyn's* departure nor poor Miss Crane's would be suitable fare for young chilluns, IMHO.  But as adults, we get to be titillated if we so desire.  If there wasn't a market for it, GoT and Hitch would both be relegated to the same odd little bin that crush and snuff videos are in.

 

 

*(see, I learned something.  I had no idea what the guy's name was.)

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I suppose Game of Thrones gets more scrutiny from me than it ought to - since it is fantasy/sci-fy - because I find the period of history it supposedly represents quite interesting, and find that many people often greatly misunderstand what the world was between 476CE - 1760.

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Ooooh, now see, this I can get behind. 

 

Not showing the gore, just hints of it and letting your imagination fill in the blanks, likely with something far worse than the director could have made happen on screen.

 

I know horror movies that don't show the villain/monster/whatever, just hints of the villain/monster/whatever, are much more scary than ones that you see the villain. 

 

It's like seeing a celebrity, and because that celebrity is hot, you imagine what they look like naked, then, they go to a topless beach, some paparazzi gets a picture of them topless, and the reality just isn't as good as your imagination made it out to be. 

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Haha!  Sort of.

 

Indeed the best horror movies are those where the villain or monster is unknown - a hidden menace - compared to some weird looking beast that eventually numbs your sense of dread for the protagonists.

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Director of Domestic Bliss

 

This is way off topic here, but my wife enjoys that title.  I have you to thank for that.  Bravo.

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