Just recently I was chatting with a friend about movies. This movie, that movie. Ok? You wanted names? Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Avengers, the Book of Eli, Man on Fire, etc.
Anyway, we got on the topic of violence. Yep. Then came the million dollar question: Does watching violent movies make one violent?
And my answer was . . . “When I was young . . . . ” (yes, I’m 17, and no, I don’t consider myself young anymore . . . you say you’re 47? So what!? I live a fast life!)
So, when I was young. If I remember correctly, my best memories were from around six years old. Now when I was six, I spent alot of time living in an imaginary world since I was an only child. Come to think of it, I still do spend quite some time in an imaginary world. One of my favourite scenarios was – wait for it – bogged down in the trenches with a trusty rifle single-handedly holding of the enemy. Yeah, it was a bit violent. Especially when I emerged from the trench/wall yelling and blowing raspberries in a one-man assault on the enemy lines.
Oh yes, my Mum disapproved big-time. She tried many things to stop me, but well, they never worked. She tried them on my brothers too, with perhaps a tiny bit more success, but not much. Her favorite phrase was and still is, “No wonder he’s so violent! Look at the movies he watches!” or “Look at the material he reads!”
But where did I get that behaviour from? Was it from violent movies or the books? Well, from my ageing memory, the most violent movies I had seen up to that time were Chicken Run (alright, that did have some violence in it . . . . I was very disappointed that they didn’t turn the chickens into chicken pies), Tarzan, and Toy Story 1 & 2.
Chicken Run was more about chickens flying and being stupid, Tarzan . . . well, I never tried capturing apes and neither did I strip down to my underwear and limber through the branches of trees (I sat up in them instead heavily camouflaged as a sniper or to evade enemy patrol parties) as for Toy Story 1 & 2, I remember some of my friends who loved it and would yell, “To infinity and beyond!” but as for me . . . well, I did pull a very select few of my toys who were broken apart if that counts.
As seems very apparent, I didn’t really have much exposure to violent movies to induce such behaviour, oh, hang on a second. I did watch the Land Before Time. As soon as the T-rex emerged on the screen I ran screaming into the kitchen where Mum was. Well, I’ll admit, that might have fuelled some of my prehistoric violence, but that wasn’t very prominent compared to me in a military fatigues.
As for books, all my books were very happy and light-hearted, other than the newspapers I read every Saturday without fail. I think the most violent part of those was 9/11. But the clincher is this: firstly, I was already exhibiting ‘violent’ behaviour, and secondly, it would be about 5 years before we launched any commando raids. 😛
So what sparked the ‘violent’ streak in me? The movies I saw back then were nowhere close to portraying full-on combat. And books were obsolete. Did I mention the bayonet I imagined was at the end of my rifle? Didn’t think so. That was one awesome weapon, the bayonet.
I do remember when I got my first lego, I use to build houses, and nice things as my dear mother puts it. That was age five I believe. And I think it was a few months later, that the humble lego man, living in his brick hut, invented the technology for his first tank! I mean, after all, we need something that can demolish those houses, although I think the lone rifle it was armed with was more effective on men!
Did I see any movies with tanks? No! I don’t think I saw any serious violent material in movies, or in books for that matter until age 9/10, and by then, tanks, fighters, and bombers were the norm in my lego kingdom, my little plastic animals were part of some mythical army that traversed the slopes in desperate battles that wiped out 50% of the population of the country, and I myself was griping my axe-handle stabbing away and blowing raspberries.
Now I really don’t want to bore you any more with the question of “did movies and books make me violent?” Clearly, from my early life, I was a naturally ‘disturbed’ kid, and inventing weapons of destruction was just the norm. Movies had nothing to do with it, neither did the books I read. So here’s my unproved conclusion:
I have this little soldier inside me, he was there since day one, but didn’t become active till the age of 4/5. No matter how hard people tried to eradicate this soldier out of me, they failed, and he still lives on inside me. 😀
So the thesis in ‘formal’ format.
One’s violence doesn’t necessarily come from influence of movies, books, etc. It’s quite simply the soldier inside the boy, and you’ll NEVER get him out.
And a wise saying to live by:
You can take the toy gun off the boy, but you will never get the soldier out the boy.
You can take the toy knife off the boy, but you will never get the soldier out the boy.
You can take the lego off the boy, but you will never get the soldier out the boy.
You can take the plastic animals off the boy, but you will never get the soldier out the boy.
You can take the axe handle off the boy, but you will never get the soldier out the boy.
You could confiscate every toy the boy has, but you will never get the soldier out the boy!
You can confiscate every single stick and stone in the yard, but you will never get the soldier out the boy!
My mum tried it on me, didn’t work. 😛
Postscript, I had to put some photos in of my wonderful weapons of mass destruction. 😀
The plane in the previous photos I believe is the last plane I built. One day perhaps I’ll put up an evolution of my planes, but for now, there’s just this one. I can’t remember what I called it, but it boasted some pretty impressive things. I’ll list the features below:
Fully retractable landing gear
Completely operational bay doors
One bomb bay capable of holding 1 bomb and four air-to-ground missiles
A bay underneath carrying four missiles of either air-to-air or air-to-land.
Two Sidewinder missiles on the wings.
Carries a crew of two in pressurised compartment fully equipped with jet seats.
General overview of the jet: Supersonic, long-distance all-rounder next generation fighter.
To face the threat of missiles, etc, we designed the PORTABLE LASER. This weapon become the ace up our sleeve and gradually replaced AA guns and became a permanent fixture of our arsenal. 😀
Ok, I had to put this one up. This lego boat is not mine-it’s my brothers’. It’s just some living evidence that no matter how hard you try, you can’t take the soldier out of the boy. 😀 Oh, did I mention? This is the old version. It only had the double cannon. Now it’s twice as long, has about four cannon, eight anti-air missiles and some other new-fangled technology.