Tuesday, 23 April 2013
It used to be the fault of video nasties – remember them? The copying of the violent behaviour of characters like the evil doll, Chucky, would become the norm as youngsters grew up to disrespect the law and behave in ways outside the bounds of common decency. Or did we have all that the wrong way round? Was the advent of the Video Recordings Act 1984 an attempt to genuinely curb the excesses of movies like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or was it merely a way of apportioning blame for extreme behaviour already growing violently out of control?
In the 1984 act, the British Board of Film Censors was renamed the British Board of Film Classification; was that itself not a form of censorship? Banning a movie, restricting who can watch it or ordering its editing before release is undoubtedly censorship, so why not call a spade a spade? Or does the very word ‘censor’ evoke the unhelpful spectre of intrusive state control? Hmmm, 1984? That year rings a bell... nope can’t quite put my finger on it.
There can surely be no doubt that observed behaviour must have some influence on actual behaviour, if only in terms of creative input. Following Reservoir Dogs half the dopey fucksticks out there walked with a swagger, wore dark glasses and wore out jukebox copies of “Stuck in the Middle with You”, imagining that one day they would harvest their very own copper’s ear trophy. A bunch of sad wannabes, of course, but it’s not inconceivable that a saddo might turn sicko, if he somehow felt he’d given permission by the turning of a malevolent act into a piece of gory entertainment.
Except that we are supposed to have self-control; we have a choice in how we behave, don’t we? So, no matter what our fanciful, impressionable selves may imagine we might do, punching the air after seeing the first Rocky movie (you know, the good one) surely not more than a handful of idiots went out afterwards and rented time in an abattoir freezer to pound the meat, only to find out how sore it makes you afterwards. Does watching extreme behaviour genuinely change yours, or is it just a serving suggestion for an already deranged personality?
Of course the mantle of responsibility has now passed from movies to violent video games, or indeed violent gamesmanship. While the jury is still out on the firmness of the causal links, some people grasp at anything to explain or blame the bad behaviour of their nearest and dearest. Thus it is that in a heartbeat the cannibalistic urge of Luis Suarez on Sunday has been blamed by a parent as directly causing her own little angel to end up as first course in a literal knuckle sandwich.
So, what is sauce for the goose, etc and should we just accept that whatever the rich and famous, or infamous get up to, it is beyond our control to do otherwise? Of course, with behaviour comes responsibility and those who transgress must pay the penalty. By this, also, do we learn. So it was not a little disappointing to learn that those two vindictive nasties, Huhne and Pryce are to be released after serving just two months of their eight month sentences.
What's the point, you may ask yourselves, of not following your urges when it is clear now that nobody is responsible for their own behaviour any more and the punishments meted out clearly reflect this lack of control? I wonder how many will now blame their reckless and violent speeding point transfer and marital stife behaviours on the Huhnes? It’s madness I tell you!