Wild West Mentality Fused with Victorian Values
by Kelvin Wade
What’s our hang-up when it comes to sex? Why do we glorify violence but vilify sex and nudity in this country? Recently, 32-year-old Afrykayn Moon was questioned by transit security in Detroit when she refused to stop breastfeeding her two-week-old baby on a city bus. We hear about these breastfeeding stories every so often. Think about Detroit. Is breastfeeding what people should fear in Detroit?
And yet, in a recent 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that prohibited stores from selling violent video games to minors.
The court basically ruled that in its zeal to shield little Jimmy from violent images, the state usurped the role of parents and stepped on the First Amendment in the process.
What really caught my attention was Antonin Scalia’s assertion that this country has no longstanding tradition of restricting children’s access to depictions of violence. He also chastised the state for wanting to shoehorn violence into anti-obscenity laws.
So, in other words, violence cannot be regulated by the state but sex and nudity can.
It’s true that we don’t have a long history of shielding children from violence. While we restrict pornography, minors have access to violent movie rentals and violent music.
While minors can’t purchase sex magazines, they can buy books depicting the most horrific of events. Any minor could walk into a book store and buy Jerzy Kosinski’s “The Painted Bird,” Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal” or Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho,” three of the most violent and disturbing books I’ve ever read.
MSNBC can show prison violence at will. How many times have you seen JFK’s head blown apart in the Zapruder film? Network shows like “CSI” and “Criminal Minds” can depict corpses killed in a variety of ways. Channels like TruTV can air clip shows showing horrible violence. We grow up watching hundreds if not thousands of simulated murders on television and movies and see countless horrific actual images on the news.
Yet a case involving the depiction of actress Charlotte Ross’s derriere on “NYPD Blue” has ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court!
And what do these video games depict? Heads being blown off. People being riddled with bullets. Bodies blown to pieces. Blood splashing. People being beaten to death with baseball bats. People literally torn in two with their entrails spilling on the ground.
The great Jon Stewart said it best on the Daily Show when he recently showed a clip of a video game where a woman was torn in half. He said that the violence was fine but if her nipple had popped out during her disembowelment, it would’ve been off limits to kids. It’s funny but it’s true!
In the 1980s we actually spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the Meese Commission, a government panel to examine pornography and in 2011, the Supreme Court shrugs about violence.
My point isn’t to say that I want the government censoring violence or that I want unrestricted sexual images made available on the airwaves. I prize the First Amendment. My point is about us and our attitudes. We need to examine why we have a Wild West mentality fused with Victorian values.
What does it say about us when a breast disturbs us more than violence?