Let’s put this into context

Today I ran across a story about a wax museum in Berlin that is bowing to pressure and getting rid of its wax effigy of Adolf Hitler. Somehow it’s supposed to be bad taste to have an exhibit featuring likenesses of Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the guy they beat. Evidently many Germans are paranoid that any image of Hitler will inspire neo-Nazis. (But they’re not worried about the Stalin mannequin inspiring neo-Communists.)
This illustrates a much broader problem: the inability of many to discern context. An image of Hitler in a room with his adversaries doesn’t mean the same thing as a portrait of Hitler wearing shining plate armor and riding a stallion. One identifies him as one of the pivotal figures of WWII, while the other romanticizes him. Guess which image the neo-Nazis would prefer…
One major subject that often gets taken out of context is violence. Every now and then we hear about some idiotarian who wants to ban dodgeball or some other children’s sport, equating rough-and-tumble play with assault. Here’s the difference: contact sports do not necessitate animosity for the opponent; assault does. And virtually no such sports require intended injury to the opponent. Boxing is perhaps the only exception; in this case there are severe limits as to what sort of injury is allowed, and permanent damage is taboo. Sure, sports has its share of thugs, but the Mike Tysons of the world pervert the spirit of the game.
Films bring out another misunderstanding over violence. People are often accused of hypocrisy because they condemn one movie for violence but not another. Movie violence appeals to different audiences: those who seek to empathize with the suffering character (Schindler’s List, The Passion of the Christ); those entertained by shock value (slasher films); those entertained by gory special effects (slasher films); those entertained by people duking it out (action films); those entertained not by the on-screen conflict itself but its resolution, and who want the conflict portrayed realistically (Westerns) or semi-realistically (James Bond).

Advertisements