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Media Violence versus a Culture of Beauty

East West Dialogue


Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill
A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
and Gloria DeGaetano
Crown Publishers, New York,
$20 196 pages

This book is a stinging indictment of the role of the television especially American television in promoting violence.

The authors review reports issued by numerous professional and medical groups, documenting that violence in children's entertainment is having a direct effect on children. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable. However, not surprisingly, this evidence has received very little coverage in the media.

Grossman and DeGaetano document that, in the United States, the violent crime rate has skyrocketed over the last 40 years. They state, "From 1960 through 1991 the U.S. population increased by 40 percent, yet violent crime increased by 500 percent; murders increased by 170 percent, rapes 520 percent, and aggravated assaults 600 percent." The only reason why the murder rate has not increased far more is because of a dramatic improvement in medical treatment.

Violence is pervasive in programming for children of all ages: A preschooler is exposed to nearly 10,000 violent episodes each year; nearly 40 percent of all violent incidents on television are initiated by characters who posses qualities that make them attractive role models to kids...More than half of violent incidents feature physical aggression that would be lethal or incapacitating if it were to occur in real life, By age eighteen, a typical American child will have seen at least 200,000 dramatized acts of violence and 40,000 screen murders.

Grossman and DeGaetano that numerous reports have documented that television violence is as strongly correlated with aggressive and violent behavior. The constant exposure to violence desensitizes children and makes them less outraged by its effects. The child tends to see violence as "cool." Deviant attudes are reinforced and the result is less empathy, compassion, and understanding for human suffering.

A 1998 study conducted by by UNESCO conducted in 23 countries documented the direct connection between media portrayal of violence, and increased violence in the world. Perhaps, Americans should reflect on the effects our culture is having in increasing violence world-wide, instead of looking to other cultures for the cause of conflict, as does Samuel Huntington, in his book, "The Clash of Civilizations."


Air Force One

Harrison Ford
Gary Oldman
Glenn Close

Hollywoods promotes
The Clash of Civilizations

This is another one of those 'we're the good guys taking on those corrupt, crazy foreigners' movies. Harrison Ford plays the President of the United States, with Glenn Close the Vice-President.

The movie starts with American Special Forces shooting their way into the Presidential Palace in Kazakhstan, to capture the Kazak leader who is turning Kazakhstan back to Communism.

The scene then shifts to Moscow where Harrison Ford is addressing a conference in Russia. In his speech, he lays out the new American foreign policy of overthrowing any government that the U.S. decides is responsible for carrying out genocide.

But then, as the President, his family and staff leave Russia on Air Force One, the plane is hijacked by forces loyal to the captured leader of Kazakhstan. Can you imagine that!

The hijackers demand that the release of their captured leader. However, the President proves to be a one man army, taking out the hijackers, one at a time at fifteen minute intervals. If he had killed them all at once, this would have ended the suspense and shortened the movie considerably. The movie also callously kills a number of American servicemen, merely to provide colorful visual effects with burning jet fuel.

The complete cynicism and hypocricy of the movie is demonstrated by the verbal exchange between the President and the lead hijacker, Gary Oldman who apparently specializes in playing crazy man roles. The lead hijacker screams that he is fighting to end the liberal reforms, and return to Communism, because his country is being destroyed by poverty drugs and prostitution.

It absolutely is the case that International Monetary Fund 'Shock Therapy' and the liberal reforms did severe damage to the economy and people of the former Soviet Union. Pornography, prostitution and the drug traffic spread. The life expectancy of ordinary Russians fell dramatically and the population was driven into poverty, while a handful or Russians became extremely wealthy, often depositing their money in the West.

However, today, the destruction of Russia is being reversed, not through a return to Communism, which after all failed, but through the efforts of Russian President Putin. The new Russian government has stabilized the economy and has begun a reconstruction program.

'Air Force One' presents a completely fraudulent choice: a band of crazed Communist killers, or an American President who will decide which foreign government should be overthrown. The real alternative, cooperation among the nations of Central Asia for economic development is never mentioned.

Ironically, in reality, this alternative is being pursued by the nations of the region, with the support of Russia and China. The largest economic development project in history, the Eurasian Land-Bridge has been launched, giving nations such as Kazakhstan the chance for real development. During the month of December 2001, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed economic cooperation and development as the key to peace for Central Asia. Fortunately, history has taken a turn for the better, and has left the script writers for 'Air Force One' behind.


China's Best Folk Songs
Cindy Mao, vocal
Sijie Ling, Piano accompaniment

A compact disc
Produced by China Books & Periodicals, Inc.
San Francisco, CA
The songs are arranged for piano accompaniment
A book of the music is also available

As someone who had never paid much attention to Eastern music, I found this recording a very pleasant surprise. The CD consists of 25 Chinese folk songs that have been set for piano, rather than traditional Chinese instruments. The singer seems to be using the Chinese style of singing rather, than the Western bel canto method. However, the piano accompaniment may have played a role in acclimating my 'Western' ears.

The differences between Western and Chinese music may not be as great as may first appear. Recently, in China, an ancient set of bells were discovered by archeologists, that were tuned according to the system of well tempering. This is an example of how Chinese and Western music have many of the same musical principles in common.

China has an extremely old and rich musical tradition. This recording may be a good place for the Western listener to begin appreciating it.

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