Zero Dark Thirtly’s Torture Scenes in D.C.’s Crosshairs. Reality TV Should be too.

With only days before the Golden Globes, the symbolic gunshot that starts the Hollywood awards race, Washington is contributing to the timely controversy over violence that has elevated the profile of an Oscar-contending film. A couple of other noteworthy events coincide with news of “produced” violence with a Hollywood connection, however, none of this chatter is directed towards the real mayhem taking place on America’s networks: Reality TV.

Sadly and weirdly related, the trial of the notorious Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter started today with testimony from the police officers who arrested the neuroscience college student who shot and killed 12 people at the midnight showing of the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Another timely coincidence is David Thompson’s new book, “The Big Screen.” This collection of essays places emphasis on the rise of violence in films, now a staple of most big box office hits, and its correlation to our society’s obsession  with it. It used to be that gratuitous T&A was ubiquitous in films just a decade ago. Today blood, guns, and body counts are the norm in many a blockbuster film.  

In his book (which I am buying as soon as I post this piece) Thompson addresses a link between the portrayal of wanton carnage in films with the rise of brutal and bloody violence in our country.

In an interview with The Wrap, Thompson contends there’s a link between the vicious massacres that have occurred recently to the irresponsible representation of violence as a problem solver without repercussions or consequences as depicted in many films. ( I couldn’t agree more!)

“David Thomson’s magisterial book “The Big Screen” illuminates the role that cinema has played in shaping society,” said The Wrap.

More interestingly the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” although lauded for its depiction of the long-awaited capture and demise of Osama Bin Laden (or UBL, Usama Bin Laden, as he’s referred to in the film), also landed in the cross-hairs of controversy.

Admittedly, director Katherine Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” contains gruesome brutality in this excellent reel of entertainment that apparently hit very close to the homeland.

According to The Wrap, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, Senator John McCain, and Senator Carl Levin called for an investigation into the depictions of torture used on detainees in the years following the attack on the World Trade Center where 3,000 people were killed in this country’s deadliest terrorist attack.

“Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) released two letters Thursday that they have sent to Acting CIA Director Michael Morell regarding the agency’s efforts to aid the filmmakers behind the Oscar-contender and its use of torture,” The Wrap reported.

As a moviegoer, I am somewhat perplexed about the reasons Senators Feinstein, Levin and McCain are willing to spend time and money investigating past events that ultimately brought down America’s #1 enemy.

Aren’t films considered art, and therefore allowed plenty of liberty for artistic interpretation of events in the name of entertainment?

More times than not, I am against the entertainment industry (ab)using the worst examples of American social trash and glorifying them on television. The reasoning offered by many in the industry who shove these shows to air is that if “you don’t like it “change the channel” or “this is only entertainment” not to be tried at home.

I get it. But obviously Washington doesn’t see what Hollywood produces through the same narrow-minded lens and considers some material rather dangerous for our society.

While we await the outcome of these post-Fiscal Cliff-film-negotiation time-suck, I’d like to know why our government hasn’t called an investigation into the hooligans who also commandeer audience attention with their less-than-ethical behavior on national television for the sake of entertainment?

Reality shows like “Honey Boo Boo” qualify in my book as child abuse, and “Jersey Shore” could use a couple of fines like Lewd and Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication.

And if there are any fines for morals, values, and ethics violations throw them at the KKK, aka the Kardashian Klan.

I think I would be less disturbed about politicians wasting time and money investigating past events featured in a movie (perhaps it would be better use of my tax money) if Capitol Hill found a way to investigate the atrocities committed on our national (reality) television networks on a daily basis.

Now there’s an assault on the American public worth investigating!

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