What Would MLK Say About Hollywood Violence?

January 15, 2007, 8:18 pm


By Andrew L. Jaffee

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction… The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you asked most of the Hollywood big-wigs, “Who was the greatest civil rights leader?,” I’d bet you that nine out of ten would say, “Martin Luther King, Jr.” Talking the talk, but not walking the walk. If Hollywood is so “liberal” and so enamored with the hallowed civil rights movement, then why is it producing perverted filth like “Saw,” acclaimed by Rue Morgue as a movie which “will make your skin crawl right off your bones!,” where the protagonist “decides to crush the bones in his foot with the toilet’s tank cover, so that he can slip out of the ankle cuff.” How about “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – The Beginning”, which treats viewers to a very graphic “night of sheer terror at the hands of a family of cannibalistic, inbred psychopaths?” Would you want your kids playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto” where “you play an evil criminal who kills random folks for dishonorable people?” Even commercials are violent now, like Capital One’s barbarian-starred credit card ads. My point: Can people derive “entertainment” from indulging in violence without being touched by violence? And in no way am I advocating censorship. Let me explain.

Stock Photos from 123RF

How can people indulge in graphic violence “vicariously” without becoming obsessed with — at least desensitized to — that same violence? Can you sleep with — screw — the devil without getting pregnant with demon-seed? Can you get half-way pregnant with his demon-seed? People are not only vicariously viewing violence, in stadium seating with Dolby Surround-Sound no less, they are now active participants in all manner of horrors via video games. Many video games sport software and hardware that makes the participants’ experience more real, with sounds, images, and devices which provide sensory touch/feel feedback. What divides virtual reality from reality?

It was the great Roman thinker Marcus Aurelius who said:

A man’s life is what thoughts make of it.

Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. …

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. …

If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. …

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Buddha, the Prince of Peace, taught the Eightfold Path, requiring Right Thought, which told us to shun all imaginings of ill will, harm, or violence. The great Bhagavad Gita urges:

The serenity of mind, gentleness, equanimity, self-control, and the purity of thought — these are called the austerity of thought.

The Vedas cry:

Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere.

Am I advocating some type of absolute, extreme pacifism? Of course not. I’d be a hypocrite if I did. Remember that even Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.

By forgetting history, we are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. The Maya and Aztecs doomed themselves by indulging in ultra-violence. So did the Romans by entertaining themselves with the blood-sport of the Coliseum and Circus Maximus.

Censorship is not needed. Common sense is. What the heck are parents doing buying violent video games for their kids, thus subsidizing the violence industry? Why are people seeking “entertainment” by watching perverted movies, putting millions into Hollywood’s coffers? If there’s no demand for violent entertainment, then it won’t be produced. That’s simple supply and demand, and a directive for our society to examine the violent path it seems to have chosen to walk down. I do not advocate censoring anything. I endorse a simple concept taught by the great MLK himself:

The non-violent resister must often express his protest through non-cooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that non-cooperation and boycotts are not ends in themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent.

Related: Hollywood, Political Correctness, Society, United States

3 Responses to “What Would MLK Say About Hollywood Violence?”

  1. elf Says:

    I searched for the source of the quote that I like. I didn’t find it but it goes

    “Every man stands in a prison of his own ideas.”

    Another one is ” You can’t kill people into agreeing with you.”

  2. publisher Says:

    And if one’s ideas are concentrated on violence, then that person is likely to create a violent reality… which may explain why our society is so violent — in its commercial imagery, and on the streets.

  3. Motormanmark.com » Blog Archive » A Person of Bright Color on People of Color Says:

    [...] Well, I’ve got news for Black people:  You are not a Zulu phoenix rising from the ashes.  You are more like that boxer shoving fists at the air. [...]

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