By: David August, Actor / Producer
DJ: In one hand we see movies are getting more violent and not necessarily promoting peace, even if the star of the movie is trying their best to eventually establish a sort of Peace and stability in the movies; on the other hand, we see many PSA videos often by the same stars being created trying to balance that violence and encourage people to maintain and promote Peace. We asked David for his insights on that contrast.
Movies and public service announcements have a slightly different function. Public service announcements are mainly about information, reminding people of things, or letting them know of things they didn’t know before. It’s more communicative than it is… as manifestly emotive.
It’s not trying to make people feel things, as much as usually make them think things, or do things, different
ly than they have been.
Movies, they can kind of be like society’s imagination, where we all get to imagine “what if” something happened and we don’t have to actually have the consequences of that thing really happening. I think that that catharsis, that witnessing what the consequences would look like without actually experiencing them, sometimes can actually be a very constructive thing.
It’s certainly entertaining and fun. And I think in the promotion of peace we’re not just trying to avoid human suffering, which is trying to take negative away. We’re trying to add positive and I think things like art and culture are the positive that are the things we want to protect, the things we want to encourage, about human civilization.
So, I think that while movies can show some
of the caveats of not being peaceful, some of the risks of being violent, they also allow us to have that catharsis, that satisfaction of watching the bad guy be vanquished by the good guy, for instance. So we don’t have to actually act that out in our own lives, and have the real consequences.
I think that movies and public service announcements can promote peace, but I’m reminded of something that Dick Cavett said. He said, “there’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?” And I think he’s making a good comedic point that: violence doesn’t come from the TV we watch or the films we watch.
It probably comes from a lot of other complex psychological, and possibly economic or societal reasons. Movies and TV are convenient scapegoats,
and they can make us feel like if we try to tell people “well we don’t want violence in movies,” “we don’t want violence on TV depicted,” we can feel like we’re changing things, we can feel like we’re making things better.
But there’s not necessarily a lot of data that shows that people who never see violence on TV, and never see violence in movies, never actually perpetrate
violence. I think there’s other things that are more closely linked. At the same time it’s a complicated situation, there may not be any easy answers.