Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but there's a lot of violence in the media. And I think we all know the core issue that we must confront as a nation. Without a doubt, Jimmy Carter must be brought in to mediate between the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, because this Sicilian thing has got to stop.

In an increasingly permissive and shockproof society, where taboos are being shattered like a bank of TV sets at Graceland during a Robert Goulet special, we have all become more desensitized than Rush Limbaugh's ass after an eighteen-hour bus ride.

This is an issue that concerns me deeply, because I, personally, am a victim of media violence. Every movie I'm in, I get killed halfway through. I'm like the guy on Star Trek in the red shirt.

Now, to listen to the frantic bleating of social reformers and family-values-mongers, you'd think that media violence is some new, demonic invention and before that pesky Quentin Tarantino came along we were skipping through an idyllic G-rated wonderland. Well, guess what? From cave drawings depicting the hunt to tribal war songs to a gory little tome called the Bible, the portrayal of violence has, in one way or another, been a part of human discourse ever since we stopped dragging our knuckles on the ground and started using them to give each other noogies.

But we're hypocritical about violence in the media. We're looking for someone to blame and if our kid goes bad, the media is a defenseless target for the clusterfuck of self-righteous rhetoric that passes for intelligent debate these days. We all seem to want our children to watching nothing but nice, positive stories so that they'll be so suffused with love, they'll go traipsing through the world, handing out big flowers to strangers like the summer of love hippie kids who always placed a daffodil in Jack Webb's gun barrel on Dragnet. The truth is, TV isn't the biggest influence on your kids. You are. There's probably more real emotional violence and bad vibes at the average American family dinner table than in an entire season of Highlander, not to mention better acting.

Mom and Dad, look, your television is not a babysitter. It can't rack up long distance calls talking to its boyfriend who's away at college, it can't eat the frozen Wolfgang Puck pizza you were saving for the De La Hoya pay per view, and it can't have a six-year fling with a Kennedy. It's just a machine.

I didn't even know if I really buy that there's a connection between violent TV and violent behavior. I mean, I grew up watching a steady diet of Mannix, Krazy Kat cartoons, and Combat, and I'm so nonconfrontational, I make Deepak Chopra look like Oddjob.

Besides, it seems to me, as far as adults go, we gobble up TV violence like it's an ear and we're a mentally unbalanced boxer.

Just look at the titles of the sickening shows that prey on our morbid curiosity: When Animals Kill, Brushes with Death, and one of the worst of all, Circus of the Stars. And, come on, when you watch Circus of the Stars, aren't you rooting for Richard Mulligan to fall off the high wire, ricochet off Tootie from The Facts of Life, and then crush Screech?

What about the local news? In reporting violent crime, the local news comports itself with all the dignity and responsibility of Moe, Larry, and Shemp locked in a haunted house.

And network news aren't much better. The big three all feel the ratings pressure, and know that if they shovel some bloody chum onto the airwaves, Americans will swim over to their little pond and gorge themselves on the carcass. I mean, do we really need Dateline NBC on every four hours every night, combing through every detail of some horrible act of violence like Columbo with obsessive-compulsive disorder? And while we're on the subject: The only thing stiffer than Stone Phillips is Richard Simmons watching him.

Hey, this is all very simple. Forget V-Chips, forget government intervention, forget blaming it on the networks and get back to basics. If you don't like what's on, you have the power. To all my fellow men out there lying in bed watching TV, take a look down. . . . You see that thing you're holding in your hand? Well, let go of it, pick up the remote control, and watch what you want.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


comments powered by Disqus