I know full well that when the media actually bothers to make a fuss about video games and movies that it’s a farce. The causes of urban violence are much more complex than violent video games. I know that they don’t “make” anyone go out and commit violence in a simplistic cause and effect sense. I know that it’s a smoke screen that lets people direct their frustration and failing sense of security onto the often demonized youth, mentally ill, and minorities.
I will say one thing though. When I watch these civilians and journalists being gunned down by enthusiastic soldiers, chomping at the bit; it tweaks something within me. I’m tickled by a sense of power. I feel that flush in my chest when I hear the BAP-BAP-BAP. I’m flooded with the excitement of the heroic paragon laying waste to his faceless, evil-doing enemies.
“Come on, let us shoot!”
I feel a cognitive dissonance. I don’t want to admit to it; I want to cover it up. I want to explain away, to justify. “It’s just war”, I tell myself. “They’re just doing what they have to”, I say. “Things get all topsy-turvy in combat”, I shouldn’t be so simple-minded and sentimental. I feel sick.
“Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” says the soldier.
What kind of context makes an argument like this start to sound plausible? Is it even as simple as video games and movies? Is it sensationalized and the status quo media? Is it our empire state of mind? Are there even any individuals who have ultimate responsibility, or is this a collective problem that implicates all of us?
I don’t have any simple answers for you. I’ll just say that the fact that I don’t think I’m that unique in feeling this cognitive dissonance. I know that if I were not as curious and questioning as I have become, I would not be writing this as I am now.
I leave you to think about it.