The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about Basketball Diaries?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it. The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory.

“Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
actually okay last-last post but Roger Ebert is a cool dude and this is the point I’m trying to make here
  1. wannalift reblogged this from the-hottness
  2. love2smile24-7 reblogged this from whiteinnovations
  3. goodusernamesarealwaystaken reblogged this from sassysluteverforever
  4. wondernennie reblogged this from ambivalentanglican
  5. beatdownatthepotluck reblogged this from aplacecalledorange
  6. gregmcewan reblogged this from milesjai
  7. moderate-fundamentalism reblogged this from moderate-fundamentalist
  8. rantinandy reblogged this from ryanhatesthis
  9. deariebrisby reblogged this from filmtrivia
  10. faithfulfitness reblogged this from woodlandsway
  11. ninja-sex-grump reblogged this from tyleroakley
  12. kyidyl reblogged this from trials-of-socrates
  13. mimkana reblogged this from trials-of-socrates
  14. trials-of-socrates reblogged this from okayla
  15. hotraisins reblogged this from okayla
  16. ailurusfudge reblogged this from gonewiththewinfrey
  17. gonewiththewinfrey reblogged this from okayla
  18. okayla reblogged this from nothingman
  19. technicoloredskies reblogged this from brainvomit
  20. brainvomit reblogged this from nothingman
  21. nothingman reblogged this from thatbaconlovingbastard
  22. a-foster reblogged this from love-winter
  23. la-verite-les-femme reblogged this from love-winter
  24. raaad reblogged this from love-winter
  25. love-winter reblogged this from jonathanredic
  26. gracekelly828 reblogged this from tyleroakley