Tuesday, December 10, 2002

What's my line?

Is the reason that American kids shoot each other more than Canadian kids because our news media is subject to the whims of the marketplace? (Help me out Social Democrats, how free is your press? Is there government ownership?) Over the weekend, at a very Hollywood party where I managed to talk not "industry" (Please don't say industry) but politics, someone suggested the problem is the lack of a line between news and entertainment. Watching the cops surround the low-speed chase guy earlier today, drawing their guns and wrestling him to the ground, I'd have to agree. Especially when I compare it to tonight's ass-kicking episode of 24. What's the difference between watching those two shows? Is that why kids think it's okay to shoot their friends and enemies? Because they can't distinguish between reality and fantasy? 'Cus I loves me some violence in my entertainment. Still, I am a pacifist who wishes there were no demand for guns, and I know the difference between a 24 shoot-out and one at a Colorado high school. But as a film scholar, I couldn't explain the difference between footage of the two. And as a journalist, I'd certainly argue that the pervasive coverage of the sniper shootings was valid -- people couldn't get enough of the reports of the arrests, myself included. That car chase today, though, that wasn't really news, it just made good television.

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