Over the weekend I watched Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. I must admit that I couldn’t get very involved in the story and the performances like I normally do, because of the shooting incident in Arizona. When I sent the DVD back today, I thought I should check my Netflix queue and see what was scheduled to come next. I found Inglourious Basterds, and knew that given the circumstances this wasn’t something that I wanted to watch anytime soon.
I wouldn’t say that I’m opposed to violence in the media, nor do I think that media violence is responsible for people who then go on to commit violent acts themselves. There are many examples of movies and TV shows that feature violence, which are also very well done and worth watching. If I have an objection to violence in movies, it’s to violence not being portrayed accurately, the kind of happy-fun-time-pewpewpew that stacks up bodies like cordwood and makes the doing so a cartoonish exercise in making the “hero” an untouchable badass.
The kinds of media I consume has been on my mind for several weeks for a personal reason. I’ve recently been more mindful of my highly-sensitive nature. By this, I mean that I am what psychologist Elaine Aron terms a “highly sensitive person.” One of the features of having high sensory-processing sensitivity is being overwhelmed by stimulation; one of the ways I get overstimulated is through entertainment. I love to read, watch exciting movies and TV shows, and do some video gaming. I had noticed over the holidays that I was feeling increasingly restless and easily irritable. Generally, after I’ve slept, I feel better the next day. Instead my feelings of unease were persisting. I’m sure that this was mainly due to me not being mindful of my trait of high sensitivity and taking care of myself accordingly.
So I was looking at Inglourious Basterds and my immediate thought was to simply push something else to the top of the queue. But as I went down the queue to find something else, I noticed how many other movies I’d added that stood out as being violent. Gamer, The Assassination of Jesse James, Smokin’ Aces, RocknRolla, Terminator: Salvation, Iron Man 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were some of the movies I came across that knew I wouldn’t be moving to the top of the queue at this time. Seeing some of the other titles I have in my queue, such as three Michael Palin travelogues, a number of intriguing documentaries, and a few movies awaiting the Rifftrax treatment, I realized I was really spoiled for choice and probably wouldn’t miss any of those violent movies anyway.
So I’ve deleted those movies from my queue, at least for the time being. I’m sure at some point I may add them back, or watching them via instant streaming. I suppose the distinction is that I will be more conscious about when I chose to watch something of that nature, as well as being mindful of my need for downtime after having watched.
I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about your consumption of violent content. Please leave your comments below.