Violence on Screen or that Crying Baby Behind You?

So the talking heads on the morning show brought this New Mexico story up. I didn't hear it, I've gotten in the habit of not listening to the local AM talk station in the morning (well, until after 2, actually) The talking heads (local and syndicated) have become increasingly disconnected from reality.

I'm reasonably certain (knowing the on air personalities involved) that the facts of the story got left in the dust fairly early on, and the on air conversation probably revolved around teens and the 'R' rated movies that they "Shouldn't be allowed to watch".

The fact remains that the theater in question excluded a young couple from bringing a baby into the movie, and does routinely exclude all children under the age of 6 from 'R' rated films at night. I'm certain that the majority of the clientèle thanks them for this, too.

...but not because of their "concern for the children" as these poor misguided souls are:

Yay!! Wish they would do that all over, especially here! IMO no children should be permitted admittance to any rated R movie period! I am sick and tired of going to an R rated movie and dealing with kids of all ages. Forget the yip yap, giggling and the up and down, it is just disgusting and pathetic that their are "parents" that would expose their children to certain movies. And people wonder why kids are now so desensitized and screwed up.
...All of which amounts to junk science and unsupported theory, and not much else. They've never proved positive linkage between viewing violence on screen and exhibiting violence as a person. My children both played 'first person shooters' while sitting on my knee in front of the computer. Neither of them shows any inclination towards taking a gun out and shooting people.

Parenting is the missing link. Most people, Sgt. Sam most prominently, don't know anything about parenting. (Ask Sam's wife if you don't believe me. I doubt he ever changed a diaper. Typical mother/father relationship of his generation? Mother says "Wait till your father gets home!" as a last ditch effort to maintain control) It hasn't got anything to do with control, and everything to do with setting limits, interpreting experience (what 'education' really should mean) and guiding the child to the right behavior. If you have a teenager that doesn't already know the basics (like, "it's not OK to shoot people") it's already too late.

If I want to take my children to an R rated film, that would be my business. I'm sure that the other theaters in the area are glad of the business turned away from "Movies 8".

OTOH, if I want to enjoy a film without distractions, it's good to know a theater that enforces rules concerning them, whether the problem is talking teenagers or crying babies. Too many theaters won't do anything about it.

Alamo Drafthouse and the Galaxy are both pretty good about it.

You children must have gotten a lot of love. Unfortunately, many children do not get the emotional reinforcement they need.
As far as the "positive" linkage goes, the TRUTH is that science doesn't yet understand consciousness, therefore, to say that there is no definitive linkage between violent media content and violent behavior is incorrect.
I do agree with a movie theater policy that bans young children after a certain time. I wish more people realized that media saturation is not a positive force on a child's psychological development.

Which backs up the "junk science and unsupported theory" statement. I put very little credit into current thought on addiction as well. People will say "I'm addicted to X" just to absolve themselves of responsibility for X behavior. Granted brainwave patterns change, I'll point right back to your statement concerning consciousness. The linkage is based on theory and junk science.

There is more proof that evolution exists than there is for violence in media having the broad detrimental effects that it's being blamed for. Or that addiction is the bane that it's being portrayed as. It's rejected there and supported here. I just love unsupported emotional arguments.

OTOH, theaters are free to conduct business however they wish, or they should be. The unattended children will just go somewhere else, do something else, if the theaters are closed to them. Is that really where ya'll want this to go?


When I talk about addiction, I'm talking about the chemical "habits" that establish cognitive circuits. Ever wonder why people can be addicted to gambling, or sex, video games or consumer spending while no "drug" is being used? What we casually call "addiction" is actually a process by which our neurons form behavior circuits. In other words, addiction helps the brain form behavior habits. This is why so much in our society can be "addictive". Our brains supply "reward" chemicals to correlate chemical experiences. Its these chemicals and how they define consciousness that science doesn't understand. Science does know more about consciousness than you average conscious or semi-conscious American. Let's face it, people are just chemical robots anyway...
What you are talking about isn't addiction. The junk science types have lumped it in with addiction because it gets more play there.

Work for a few years on a several pack a day cigarette 'habit' and then try and quit. You'll see what a real chemical addiction is like. For that matter, try eliminating caffeine from your diet for a few days (even more dramatic and doesn't require forming new 'habits') when the lethargy kicks in and the headaches start, remember what it was like to do without that console game for a few days. Pales in comparison, doesn't it? That's because it's not really a chemical addiction.

And let's correlate this properly. You're argument proposes that people can become habituated to doing violence themselves because they watch it on TV. I've watched Looney Toones all my life and I've never once been even tempted to drop an anvil on someones head. The argument is fallacious. It's only because it's 'for the children' that it continues to play.

I submit that 'for the children' we should open theaters to teenagers who are wandering the streets bored looking for trouble. Play whatever movies that will keep their butts in seats and let them watch all night for free (I can hear theater owners heads exploding as I type this) At least they aren't out experimenting with drugs or joining gangs or whatever else they could be out doing while we are 'protecting them' from the violence on the screen...

None of this is what the original article was about anyway. The children that the theater is excluding are under 6. They are trying to cut down on 'crying baby' issues, not protect the children from becoming habituated to violence.

Yeesh.

5 comments:

  1. The Original newstory:

    UPDATED: 8:18 am MST March 9, 2006

    ALBUQUERQUE -- An Albuquerque theater has a special policy that does not allow babies and young children into R-rated movies at certain times, television station KOAT reported.

    At the Movies 8 Theater, children under 6 years old aren't let into R-rated movies after 6 p.m.
    At about 7 p.m. Tuesday, Kevin Daughtrey and his fiancee, Deanne Borkman, took their newborn baby daughter to the theater, but they said she was denied entry at the ticket counter.

    "He goes, 'Well, how old is the baby?'" Daughtrey said. "I said, 'Well she is a baby, like 14, 15 days old,' and he goes, 'Well, she is not going to be able to see the movie because she does not have ID.'"

    The parents told the station they were upset with the response.

    "She is three weeks old," Borkman said. "She sleeps and eats. That is all she does. She wasn't going to disturb anyone."

    A manager at Movies 8 said their policy is very clear. In fact, it can be heard every time someone dials the theater's phone number.

    The station talked with people and found some mixed reactions to the rule.

    "Being a mother myself, I think sometimes a new mother does need some time away from home," said Diane Kimberle, who supports the rule.

    "The parents should be responsible enough to keep them from crying," said Royce Brewer, who agrees with the policy. "If they can't, they should stay home themselves, probably."

    "I don't take my kids to the movie theater because it is a lot easier to watch it at home," said Jeff Kang. "I can take a break whenever I want."

    Even though they didn't want to, Daughtrey and Borkman said they ended up leaving the theater.

    Instead, they said, they rented a movie.

    Another theater contacted KOAT and said babies and young children are allowed to attend R-rated movies with their parents in the theater.

    A manager at Movies 8 said the rule was recently developed at the theater and went into effect in February.

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  2. It's so nice to be right every now and then.

    The Video Game 'Epidemic'?

    Upon introducing FEPA in December, Clinton and her co-sponsors claimed “parents are struggling to keep up with being informed about [video game] content.” Yet all they have to do is look at the box or check titles at the website of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Newer game systems even allow automatic blocking of titles with parent-specified ratings.

    Thierer argues the threat of fines or criminal charges for failing to keep M-rated games away from minors could lead game developers to stop rating their products, in which case Congress would respond by establishing a mandatory government-run labeling system. Such content regulation would go even further than state laws restricting video games, all of which have been overturned on First Amendment grounds, largely because courts rejected Clinton's assertion of “a clear ... connection” between video games and antisocial behavior.


    and...

    As with sex and violence on television, which the mandatory but rarely used “V chip” was supposed to block, Clinton's real complaint is not that parents don't have the power they need. It's that they're not using it the way she thinks they should.

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  3. quote:
    90 people out of a hundred can plainly declare that there is no link between media viewing and anti-social behavior. They're all mising the point.


    People with an axe to grind usually find a whetstone suited to the task. It is not the 90 percent who are missing the point; In fact, the relevant point has yet to be assembled from unrelated pieces of data creating the whetstone that you proceed to grind your axe on.

    quote:
    Is it really that hard to imagine that the brain of a media viewer is resonantly locked on the program content, and that repeated exposure to such content can lead to media-conditioned cognitive habits?

    Maybe's its just easier to think that the things that interact with our brains don't actually influence our minds.


    Is it really that hard to imagine someone reading a book or a webpage, and having the reader so resonantly locked on the content that they can actually see the words form pictures in their minds? That this exposure might lead to a variation in behavior in the future? To a "reading conditioned cognitive habit?"

    The difference here is I'm not going to contest that reading is bad for you. I've heard the "screens are bad" argument so many times I think I can recite it by rote. That I still don't believe it is prove positive that I'm not 'addicted' to it. But I do believe that you are; nor are you the first one I've met.

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  4. Dedicated Parent5:58 PM

    Fact is parents should have the right to choose to take a child to any enviornment that is not dangerous. This articale clearly states that this child was just over two weeks old. Anyone who has children knows that a baby at that age would stayed quite and not bothered anyone. Theaters claim to be family friendly but would rather have the business of large groups of teenage kids who do not adults with them rather than a couple who simply tried to go to a movie. Most mothers get overwhelmed with being shut up in a house with a newborn and deserve to get out if possible. In my opinion this theater has violated womans rights.

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  5. I have two children myself and I've been forced to leave a theater more than once because the child under two (or over two) started crying and I didn't want to ruin everyones movie going experience.

    NOTHING is more annoying in a theater than a crying child.

    The woman in the story does not have a right to see a film. She can purchase permission to view a film from the theater owner, who has the right to exclude anybody for any reason he deems fit (provided he doesn't discriminate on race, color, creed, etc. exclusively) and he has chosen to exclude children under a certain age from adult oriented (R rated) films. Why just children under 6, and why just R rated is his decision to make. I'd set the bar higher myself.

    I understand the sentiment concerning parents and getting out more often. It was often difficult to find places that accepted children when the wife and I wanted to go out. If we ran across a place that didn't want children, we just went somewhere else. Some of those places we still don't go to.

    But...

    A theater excluding potential distractions at the door is a practice that I have to applaud.

    Go at a different time, go to a different theater. (I think I said this before) But don't bring up rights to the theater owner, you'll embarrass yourself.

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