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As the Zeitgeist Turns

3:35 PM, Jul 27, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Can the Colorado shootings be blamed on the culture?  On too much violence in the movies? The argument is made all the time. But it is surprising to hear someone like Harvey Weinstein—who has made a career and a fortune turning out spectacularly violent movies—say it's time for Hollywood to address how violence in movies influences people.  

Hollywood-Sign-cropped

Speaking after the Aurora, Colorado shootings, Weinstein said, "I think as filmmakers we should sit down -- the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies -- and discuss our role in that."

They might, incidentally, want to invite Peter Bogdanovitch, who says, "Violence on the screen has increased tenfold. It's almost pornographic. In fact, it is pornographic. Video games are violent, too. It's all out of control. I can see where it would drive somebody crazy."

Orson Wells, were he with us, would be another good addition. Bogdanovitch recalls Wells saying, prophetically, "We're brutalizing the audience. We're going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum."

Both Bogdanovitch and Weinstein inevitably lay a lot of blame off on guns. Bogdanovitch says, "What's an AK attack rifle for? What is that for but to kill people? It's not for hunting. Why is it for sale? It boggles the mind."  And Weinstein says, "If we don't get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic." 

So, one wonders ... just how much of their First Amendment rights would film makers be willing to give up if, in their discussions, they concluded that movies were, indeed, stimulating insane, violent acts like the one in Colorado?

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