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Friday, October 07, 2005

The Responsibility of Freedom

Our forefathers laid out a Bill of Rights to accompany the Constitution with the understanding that with freedom comes responsibility. With the Right to Free Speech comes the duty to speak responsibly with the understanding of the power of words. The right to bear arms comes with the duty to act responsibly in the use of weaponry. With the right to vote comes the duty to vote and the responsibility to be informed when you vote. Our forefathers understood this, and the people of the day understood this. Why is it then, that we have forgotten this?

Take the media on hand. At one time the media walked the edge of an invisible boundary between saying or showing anything and refraining from putting out socially harmful materials. Unfortunately, some people in the media, in the name of the almighty dollar, took freedom of speech to mean anything goes in film, print, television, and radio, without regard for decency or social health.

What do I mean?

I mean this: look at classic art. There is a lot of nudity in classic art, but it is a demonstration of the beauty and grace of the human body. I have yet to see a classic sculpture or painting that shows people in the act of sex or in sexually explicit positions meant to incite lust. This is art that is both risqué and socially acceptable and can even be beneficial in many ways.

On the other hand we have pornography. You may ask what the difference is between naked people in the porno mags and films and the nudes in art. The difference is in presentation and intent. Pornography shows people in the act of sex. It shows men and women in sexually explicit positions. It focuses on the sexually oriented areas of the human body. It even shows people performing unnatural sexual acts. This is not art. This is prostituting images off to people to incite lust in the name of money.

Take a look at the movies. Remember when movies were mostly bloodless. While people did die in the movies and even on television, it was usually presented in a bloodless, human way that was neither cold nor graphic. Today we get treated to some very spectacular effects as we see people dismembered in a bloody mess, see brains literally blown out of people’s skulls, and get a steady supply of blood flowing across the screen. The human aspect is often left out in favor of the spectacular bloodfest.

There is a very limited situation where such bloodshed is acceptable. The best example of which is the movie Saving Private Ryan. This is a war movie that is a very human story. The bloodshed is a very real fact of war, and while it happened, it was not the focus of the movie. The focus was the human story, the loss, the fear, the triumph, and the defeats of men at war. It is a realistic portrayal of history, bloodshed is not glorified, it is horrific and frightening, and it makes me hope I never have to see such things in real life. Compare this to say . . . the Lethal Weapon movies, where the death and bloodshed is portrayed as a means to an end, and is done so quite graphically. On one hand we have death that horrifies, and the other we have death that glorifies violence. Responsible versus flash for profits, the difference is as plain as Michealangelo versus Larry Flynt.

Then we have freedom of the press. This is a good thing. That is until it is taken to such extremes that the media attacks and slanders people and organizations in the name of “good news reporting”. Most news stories we see on television are carefully planned and fabricated to show the American people only what the networks want us to see so they can one: get ratings, and two: shape our beliefs. This is done with frighteningly calculated precision and effectiveness. Want proof? Everybody with any sense knows that what we see and hear helps to shape our opinions, beliefs, and behavior. If this was false then advertisements wouldn’t work, and neither would propaganda. But, the same media that is working to shape the consciousness of America claims that nothing it shows has any effect on anyone, and people actually believe them. Spooky.

Why is it, that while people scream out against gun ownership, claiming that it hurts our society, they ignore the effect of the media? Is it because they have bought into what the media would have us believe? Maybe, but I think it is because many people are ignorant of the power of words. Words have changed the world far more than any war ever has. Words have made and broken people and careers. Words have built nations. Words have changed society. The tongue truly is sharper than any two edged sword, and the pen is definitely mightier. So why do people scream out for gun control, but let, nay, want the media to run amok?

1 Comments:

  • Re: Gun Control.

    We're a long tme family of military here. Grampa fought as a doughboy in Verdun.

    Uncle lost over Hainan in PBY ,l944

    My father went thru the London Blitz on an Army Corps of Engineers dredge and in France as a radio operator. I have his .30 carbine handed down (all Inland parts) and it shoots as well as ever. When I become 85 as he is, it will be given to my oldest son, Army LT Adam, whose commissioning present was a Ruger 9mm autopistol.

    In the Navy, I was issued a .38 (aircrew lightweight Smith/Wesson) which I promptly put in my safe had a custom Gold Cup Colt .45 shipped from home. I have never fired any guns in anger.

    To my thinking, guns are power tools, like chain saws, and like chainsaws, should not be operated by brainless schmucks without proper training.

    But, as long as we're on the target,
    I wonder what part of "shall not be infringed" do they not understand ?

    "Never Apologize, Mr. Bittle. It's a sign of weakness" -- John Wayne "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"

    By Blogger meesterjoneser, at 6:37 PM  

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