Hollywood, guns and the truth about violence and art

The horrific events of the Sandy Hook Elementary slaughter have shaken America to its core, provoking a tortured and conflicted response to a tortured situation.

There are fingers pointing in a lot of directions as people search for an explanation through the placement of blame.

Conveniently the media was quick to organize its culture posse and set its sights on vilifying Target #1 -- the NRA, it’s members, and it’s CEO Wayne LaPierre.

Never mind that LaPierre was irrefutably correct when he stated that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Never mind that his suggestion about arming our nation’s schools is consistent with the same level of security deployed on the campuses of the children of America’s elite, central planners.


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According to the morality police in our political pundit class, LaPierre is the poster boy of radical conservatism, heartless in the face of grieving families.

The premise is offensive on it’s face. Millions of gun owning defenders of the constitution’s Second Amendment were as devastated as anyone in reaction to this horror.  Merely suggesting the problem of gun violence is rooted not in the tool, but in the user, draws charges reserved for the worst of humanity.

Then there's Target #2: Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino seems to have come in for a great deal of criticism, too. His new film “Django Unchained” is no more or less violent than other major studio films currently in theaters. These titles include "Texas Chainsaw 3D," "Gangster Squad," "Zero Dark Thirty," and let's not forget the octogenarian bloodlust flick, “Last Stand” staring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For some bizarre reason, Tarantino has been made the poster child for a culture of violence. Sure, his movies contain over the top depictions of violent fantasies, but so did the films of Hollywood hero Alfred Hitchcock. Think shower scene in "Psycho." Naked woman. Knife. Hot.

Look no further than William Shakespeare for a full diet of graphic violence with sexual connotations.

If you must look further, you can go all the way back to Sophocles, whose play Oedipus Rex depicts incest and murder. Is Sophocles responsible for a culture of violence too? That’s dubious.

Tarantino’s last two films have not disappointed his fans appetite for pulp fiction. The context of "Inglorious Bastards" is the Holocaust while "Django’s" is American slavery. In each case there are indeed copious amounts of sadistic bloodshed.

Overlooked in Tarantino’s recent work, or perhaps obscured by the orgy of violence, is the artistry of what he’s producing. In both "Inglorious Bastards" and "Django Unchained," Tarantino is using the magic of filmmaking and the movie going experience to deliver a happy ending that realty is incapable of producing.

A group of Jews wiping out the entire top tier of the National Socialist leadership of Germany from Hitler to Goebbels? A freed slave literally blowing up a plantation, slaughtering dozens of slave traders in the process? This can’t happen in realty. Only in films.

No, reality is the Holocaust.

Reality is slavery.

Reality is Sandy Hook.

And it’s far more cruel than any movie could ever be.

Interestingly, America’s tortured debate about which group of innocent people are somehow responsible for violence in our society is taking place in the media. You might remember them from their motto, “If it bleeds, it leads.”