On the subject of extreme violence in film Kevin Maher suggests, but without saying so definitely, that the evidence points to its causing atrocities in the real world, like the much-discussed mass shootings that disfigure life in the US. Leaving this suggestion to one side, he then continues as follows (£):
[E]ven if all this is ignored as cliché and happenstance, and even if the gore, the casual sadism and the bloodlust of Hollywood movies are completely exonerated for now and for ever, wouldn't it be nice to live in a world without them?
Wouldn't your weekend be just that bit better, even marginally so, on some fundamental human level, if it wasn't spent watching a man getting torn apart by rabid dogs?
My answer to his question is: yes, my time is better spent and better enjoyed not watching certain types of thing, and 'a man getting torn apart by rabid dogs' fits that bill. Yet this is not the key issue, one which Maher evades. It's not only a question of what he wants or what I want to watch. It's also a question of whether the world it would be nice to live in should be governed by his and/or my preferences. Certainly not. Furthermore if it were to be governed by a preference for eliminating extreme violence from movies, where does this begin? Would it take in, for example, Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan or the final shoot-out in The Wild Bunch? I hope not. The terrain here is more difficult than Maher allows himself to contend with.