By now I’m sure you’ve all seen that interview with director Quentin Tarantino in which he loses his cool and refuses to answer questions regarding the relation (or lack of) of film violence to real life violence. Whether you’re a fan or not and whether you thought he went overboard with his reaction or you sympathise with him, I think we can all agree on one thing – he’s simply reflecting our own frustrations.
Whenever there’s a national tragedy, films and video games are blamed and currently because of Sandy Hook, instead of people tackling the real issues – mental health and gun control (like Tarantino has stated on numerous occasions), it’s being blamed on entertainment. Let’s look at the evidence: there has never been any proof that violent cinema or video games causes or contributes to real life violent behaviour and yet it’s the first thing many journalists, parents and gun enthusiasts blame. America also has the highest amount of school shootings and yet they don’t blame their guns or healthcare system, they blame entertainment. Video games and violent films are watched worldwide, the rest of the world (for the most part) do not have anywhere near as many problems with violence as America does.
Tarantino has been making violent films for 20 years and over those twenty years he’s been asked the same questions time and time again. Many interviewers even try to push some sort of blame onto him, like his violent films are what has caused Sandy Hook – despite there being no link whatsoever. He simply says that firstly, it’s insulting to the people who have died in these shootings to spend time on the news talking about movies instead of how tragic the situation is. Secondly, he says that when there was violence in Shakespeare’s time, the playwrights were blamed. Both of these points are true and I don’t think you can blame Tarantino for not wanting to play along with journalists who sit there and simply point the finger.
Ask yourself this, what was blamed for violence before books, films and video games? Nothing. Human nature has violent aspects, it’s like blaming rape on porn – rape has always been around and unfortunately it always will be but we can take steps to prevent it and help the victims. It’s the same situation with gun crime and in fact, there’s was a study in a 2009 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics which showed that violent films actually help reduce crime and not increase it. Sometimes, we just need to live out our fantasies so we don’t do them in real life.