Finley: Oscars miss chance to impact gun violence
Hollywood staged a predictably preachy Oscars ceremony Sunday night, with the brightest lights of film-making offering their annual political manifestos on everything from immigration to the #MeToo movement to gun control.
But the movie industry missed an opportunity to actually make an impact on violence, the recurring subject of the self-righteous lectures.
How powerful would it have been had top tier directors, producers, actors and studio executives stood as a group on the Oscars stage and declared they would no longer make movies that feed America’s culture of violence?
No more glorification of guns. No more gratuitous gore. No more graphic depictions of death. No more sensational scenes that treat the taking of human life as if it were no more serious than squishing a bug.
That didn’t happen for precisely the same reason the gun industry has pushed back against regulation of their product: There is too much money to be lost in behaving responsibly.
Hollywood has found considerable profit in continuously pushing the envelope of how much bloodshed is acceptable on the screen. Murders are no longer hinted off camera — they’re shown in excruciating detail, and sometimes even in slow motion.
Guns are everywhere in modern movies, wielded without judgment by both good guys and bad. Killings go down without a pang on conscience on the part of the fictional perpetrators.
The entertainment industry as a whole is hooked on gun violence. Television shows are following movies in drenching the screen in blood. Music lyrics hail violence. Video games pump the most realistic images of bodies blown apart into the developing minds of boys and young men.
And yet Hollywood accepts no responsibility for desensitizing the culture to gun violence.
Yes, easy access to guns is an issue. As is a broken mental health system. As is an erosion of family structure.
But so is the abandonment by entertainment executives of any sense of community standards. It’s impossible to think that their pimping of bloodshed doesn’t negatively impact the young and other vulnerable individuals. Violence in, violence out.
But instead of actually doing what they can do to break the fascination with guns, it’s easier on the bottom line to just lecture the rest of us.
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