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Real Life Violence Vs Media

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Keep Our Rights; Lose the Real-Life Violence

Popular culture can easily be defined as today's trends, music, film, TV, vocabulary, video games and fashion (in this essay, only film, TV and video games will be discussed). It can be seen and heard at anytime, anyplace, it's literally everywhere. It can be seen my millions, including our youth. However, some might argue that that is a negative matter, and that we as a society need to regulate what our youth can and cannot view. Government intervention, by stronger enforcement of existing laws or new legislation, is the main way one could regulate who sees what. But does violence in the media really affect our children? Does government intervention limit our rights given to us by the constitution? Government intervention into availability of popular culture media would not help to reduce problems of violence among our youth.

If the government were to intervene by restricting violence in our media in order to protect our youth, they would by infringing upon our First Amendment rights. Free speech was a right given to Americans when our country was just beginning to take form. We enjoy saying what we want, watching what we want and playing what we want. If the government limits what is on television or in movies to protect our children, they are simultaneously taking away the rights given to adults by the constitution. Jamin B. Raskin, a professor of constitutional law at American University Washington College of Law, notes "The First Amendment guarantees wide freedom in matters of adult public discourse" (Raskin 521). Government control of violence in movies, TV and video games, restricts not only what children may see, but also our civil rights as Americans.

The problem lies with violence in children's real lives, not violence in the media, which is often used as a scapegoat. Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize awarded author, emphasizes that violence is "... learned in personal violent encounters beginning with the brutalization of children by their parents or their peers" (Rhodes 619). Children aren't affected by mock violence; they are affected by real-life violence. However, most would agree that parents would not admit to having a violent atmosphere at home. Rhodes believes "Despite the lack of evidence, politicians can't resist blaming media for violence" (Rhodes 619). Society feels that we need someone, or something, to blame. In many ways, society has turned its head away from violence that a child may endure at home. Media violence is nothing compared to real-life violence. Mike Oppenheim, a freelance writer and a physician practicing in California, insists "If we're



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