May I invite you to close your eyes for a few seconds, and imagine what movie this scene could be… The leading man says: “Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.”
This is the prophet Isaiah giving his people a graphic prophetic portrait of the impending invasion of Israel by the Assyrians (Isaiah 13:15-16).
Jesus says: The Kingdom of God suffers violence. And the violent take it by force…
The presentation of moral evil can serve to make man more deeply known and studied, and to reveal and enhance the grandeur of truth and goodness. However, it must ensure good rather than provoke evil (Inter Mirifica 7).
This is the prayer of a disgruntled wife: Lord, give me wisdom, to understand my man… Patience, for his moods… And love, to forgive him… Because if I pray for strength, I will just beat him to death.
There is a difference between violence… in entertainment and in the news or documentaries…
There is a difference between violence… portrayed with real-life consequences and portrayed without consequences and/or with humor…
There is a difference between violence… that may be justified in terms of plot and character and that is used primarily to grab viewer attention, create emotional shock or to showcase special effects…
Above all, there is a difference between violence… on television and tabloids licensed to serve general patronage… or restricted for adults only…
Isang nanay ang nagwawalis sa bahay: Nanay: Anak, hindi ba masagwa ‘yang nagwawalis ako dito at ikaw e naglalaro naman dyan? ANAK: Eh mas masagwa naman po kung ako ang nagwawalis dyan at kayo naman po ang naglalaro dito.
How do you explain the teen brain? Secrets of the Teen Brain: Among the findings include: (Time, 31 May 2004)
Why the emotional outbursts, reckless risk-taking and rule breaking, and the impassioned pursuit of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll?... Two factors: a surfeit of hormones, yes, but also a paucity of the cognitive controls needed for mature behavior…
We are primarily talking about gratuitous violent imagery in entertainment media, especially in media that is available to or developed for children.
Kids like shows for adults (Manila Standard, 19 July 2003): “For lack of appropriate, kid-friendly shows on the air today, children are turning to more mature shows… In a recent survey on children’s TV preferences, kids aged 8 to 12 voted “Bituin,” the soap opera starring Nora Aunor on ABS-CBN, as their favorite TV program. The telenovela was ranked the highest among 193,646 children randomly selected as respondents in a nationwide poll dubbed “Anak TV Youth Vote” conducted in the last quarter of 2002… Eight other telenovelas figured in the kids’ Top 20 Favorite TV programs…”
MEDIA CONSTRUCTS VIOLENCE
Media is a construct of reality. But it also constructs reality…
In 1997, kids were responsible for 17% of violent-crime arrests. (Beyond Littleton, Newsweek, 10 May 1999)
“Violent games teach kids to enjoy the experience of killing." (Time, 10 May 1999, after the Littleton massacre)…
Newsweek 16 Aug 1999: “The Tupac Uprising… The late rapper inspires teen gangstas in paradise.” Tupac Shakur, the rapper who was murdered in 1996, lives again as the ‘patron saint’ of the teen gang West Side Outlaws on the beautiful South Pacific island of Guadalcanal.
Polling the Japanese section of the magazine Japan Close-Up (Nov 2001): Is Japan Safe… If there has been a decline in Japan’s public safety, what do you think is the main reason? (1) Epidemic of violent news and information…
Time, 8 January 2001: Youth’s appetite for destruction:
“… With increasing frequency young Japanese began erupting in unexplained fits of rage… Something clearly is happening to Japanese youth. If animation, video games and movies aren’t to blame, what is?”
John Woo, director of the war film Windtalkers (Face/Off, The Replacement Killers, and Mission-Impossible). Has these things to say in an interview by Asiaweek magazine, 19 Oct 2001.
Q: Your trademark is violence. Have the attacks given you second thoughts about the mayhem in your movies? JW: Yes, I’ve thought a lot about that. I’ve decided that from now on I’m going to make movies with hope, movies that are more encouraging… We have to be careful. Audiences can be influenced by what they see. When I first got to America, there was a robbery in Los Angeles where the thievescopied what they saw in my movie, “Bullet in the Head.” I was devastated. I was so sad I was crying.
(editorial pic of Aby Sayyaf beheading soldiers): Magpalabas sana sila ng nire-rape… Yung sinusunog na buhay… Gusto kong makapanood yung tinu-torture… Magpakita sana sila ng tinatadtad…
Tinanong ang ilang mga bata: “Kung ikaw ang presidente, anong gagawin mo?”… Sabi ni Catherine, 4: “Papatayin din at pahihirapan ang natira.”… Sabi ni Princess, 6: “Ipapapatay ko sila pag ang mga taong mababait pinatay nila.”… Sabi ni Richard, 6: “Dapat ipapapatay tapos ang patay ililibing dahil patay na sila.”
Report from New York and featured in the Manila Standard (11 March 2003): Viewers of TV violence grow up violence-prone… Both boys and girls who watch a lot of violence on television have a heightened risk of aggressive adult behavior including spouse abuse and criminal offenses.
The above-mentioned study is important because it included 329 participants and showed the effect in females as well as males… The participants were interviewed at ages 6 to 9 and again in their early 20s, to gauge the long-term effects of televised violence… Starsky and Hutch, The Six Million Dollar Man and Roadrunner cartoons were deemed very violent.
Violent acts by males include assault and fighting, while violent behavior by young women include robbery and threats. The rate for males was 45%; females, 12.7%. (Zenit.org, 3 Aug 2003)
They say that when women are depressed, they go shopping. When men are depressed, they invade another country… I think that’s unfair to men.
Females can be just as violent and ruthless as their male counterparts. When male Mafia bosses are caught and imprisoned, and there are no male family members available to take over, the females in the family assume the role.
Statistics from the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line reveal that at least 50% of over 6000 cases involve a female serial bully. The top four sectors for cases are teaching, nursing, social services, and the voluntary / not-for-profit sector, in which there is a higher percentage of female managers. Serial bullies, male or female, can be recognized by their behavior profile.
In summary, these characteristics are: Constant criticism, nit-picking, no empathy, control freak, charm,devious, manipulative, mind control, mental cruelty, emotional cruelty.
In France, a 17-year-old was arrested after being named by a dying girl as her attacker, the British Guardian reported June 6. The case was linked to the Wes Craven horror-film trilogy "Scream." It was France's third teen-age murder in two years linked to the influence of the "Scream" trilogy, the British Observer noted June 9. And the case brought to nine the number of killings worldwide that were specifically linked to Craven's movie. (3 Aug 2003, Zenit.org)
All humans are endowed with an unconscious in which potent sexual and aggressive drives, and defenses against them, struggle for supremacy, as it were, behind a person’s back… (Sigmund Freud)
The Human Genome Project… Genes and environment interact; nurture reinforces or retards nature… You can’t dissociate genes from the environment that turns them on and off. (Newsweek, 10 April 2000)
"It is no excuse to say the media reflect popular standards; for they also powerfully influence popular standards and so have a serious duty to uplift, not degrade, them." (The Pontifical Council for Social Communications, "Ethics in Communications," No. 16, June 2000)
Especially today, the same information and value system are presented to adults and children alike.
Satellite, cable, and digital technology bypasses the year-by-year slices of knowledge and attitude formed by adults to their children. This dilutes the innocence of childhood by presenting early on to them a construct of adult life they cannot as yet fully understand.
This is beautifully rapped by Black Eyed Peas in their hit single “Where Is The Love”: Wrong information always shown by the media / Negative images, the main criteria / Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria / Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema / Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity / Whatever happened to the fairness and equality / Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity…
NEGATIVE INTERVENING FACTORS TO PEACE IN MEDIA
CULTURE OF HEDONISM THAT LEADS TO LUST FOR THE HUMAN BODY AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE HUMAN PERSON
Media distorts the moral standards for youth today… Once upon a time, when the rector celebrates his birthday, the students offer him a spiritual bouquet: 500 Masses, 1,300 rosaries, 900 visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and 5,000 ejaculations.
Ejaculations are spurts of prayers during the day, like Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us… or Angel of God, protect us… Now no one offers Fr. Rector 5,000 ejaculations during his birthday… Distorted na kasi…
Pati “mama” at “papa” iba na ang ibig sabihin ngayon…
Headline ng isang tabloid: “Bakla ginahasa, tuwang-tuwa.” Sablay, di ba!
What used to be an innocent song of children has become a vulgar song by Viva Hot Babes: Bubuka ang bulaklak, sasara ang bulaklak, dadaan ang reyna, ang saya-saya… Ang laki-laki ng bulaklak, ang saya-saya…
There is a new teacher on the block… She is the new guide for the youth… And her name spells “dirty.”
Look at these kids gyrating with the Sex Bomb dancers in their concert…
Time magazine survey as featured in Manila Standard (11 Nov 2002): Filipinos are among the youngest to be initiated into sex (16 yrs. Old), as compared to Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore (18 yrs. Old… Filipinos also topped the list of those hooked on pornography and recorded the highest homosexual activity.
“Boys and girls do it first in homes, not motels… Among boys, 47.3% were found to have had their first sex in their homes, while a high 68.3% among girls had their first taste of sex in their own homes or in their boyfriend’s.” (Malaya, 31 Jan 2000)
In their Sex Bomb Live-Round 2 concert at the Teatro Aguinaldo, they invited kiddie performers to gyrate on stage with them (cf. pic on Phil. Star, 28 Aug 2003)
The kindergarten class had a homework assignment to find out about something that is “magulo” and relate it to the class the next day. She was reluctant to call upon little Johnny, knowing that he sometimes could be a bit crude. But eventually his turn came. Little Johnny walked up to the front of the class, and with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on the blackboard, then sat back down. Teacher: What is this?… "It's a period," reported Johnny. "Well I can see that" she said. "but what is so exciting about a period?" Johnny: “Kaninang umaga, sabi ng sister ko, matagal na raw siyang walang period. Biglang na heart attack si daddy. Hinimatay naman si mommy. Tapos biglang tumakbo palabas ng bahay yong boyfriend ni Ate, kaya magulo yong kwento ng period.”
Sex becomes trivial… Women become like toys for fun… But that goes the same with boys who dance like the Masculados… like macho dancers in gay clubs…
Napansin ng amo na babae na lumalaki ang tiyan ni Inday, yong katulong na dalaga… Amo: inday, pacheck-up ka nga sa clinic baka cancer ang sakit mo. Inday: Opo ma'am. Pagkalipas sa ilang oras umuwi si inday. Amo: o ano na inday… Inday: Tama po kayo ma'am kang sir nga ito… Nabuntis ng among lalaki. Patay!
Television today allows even the little ones to stare at the body and the sexual movements of people without respect… SO MUCH CRUDENESS AND VULGARITY IN OUR VARIETY SHOWS…
How many of our variety and talk show hosts have already been suspended for vulgarity, even before innocent children… Joey de Leon’s “tsupa, tsupa” can always be excused as “t’sapa, t’sapa” (isa pa, isa pa)… But it is especially such double-meaning sexual innuendos that confuse children and form them to think as sexuality as trivial…
Look at these headlines: Sex Education Delayed, teachers request training… Phil. Eagle mating Fails, veterinarian takes over…Prostitutes Appeal to Pope…
Noontime and primetime television in the Philippines allows one to stare at the body and the sexual movements of people without respect. It fosters an easy and uninvolved intimacy.
CULTURE OF CATASTROPHE THAT LEADS TO LUST FOR PAIN AND VIOLENCE AGAINST LIFE
San Pedro, Laguna: 10-day-old baby girl was burned by own mom, apparently to get even with the man who had impregnated her. (Phil. Daily Inquirer, 14 July 2004)
Las Vegas: Fil-Am Sylvia Ewing kills her 2 kids with a baseball bat, then attempts suicide… (Phil. Daily Inquirer, 27 Sept 2003)
Tabloid headline: Ayaw makitang nagugutom, sanggol ginilitan ng tatay…
Television has been covering crime for decades. But the transgression of television is when the camera operator zooms in on the face of a dead person’s relative- and stays there as the face dissolves in grief.
We have a commercial interest in catastrophe. What news find most interesting is often what is most painful to the bereaved.
This editorial cartoon from Manila Standard speaks of this condition: Whatever bleeds, leads…
Very rarely is nobility celebrated…
Two kids playing all day long asked each other at the end of the day: "Gian, what are you going to become, when you grow up?" "A policeman." "And you, Macky?" "A gangster, so that we’ll be able to play together again."
44.7% of programs with violent content rarely or never show violence as causing harm or pain to the perpetrator. (Philippine Children’s Television Foundation, 1999)
Violent acts which are rewarded increases the likelihood of learning aggression and fear. (US National TV Violence Study, 1997)
On Phil TV, 50% of all violent acts are rewarded. Perpetrators are rarely or never punished for committing violence. Reward for using violence clearly outweighs punishment.
(Philippine Children’s Television Foundation, 1999)
An attractive perpetrator will most likely increase the tendency to learn aggression. (UC National TV Violence Study)
On Phil TV, 40% of all perpetrators of violence are attractive. With unattractive perpetrators, only 20% get punished for using violence, 31% are rewarded and 49% of violent acts committed by unattractive perpetrators go unpunished.(Philippine Children’s Television Foundation, 1999)
As a general standard: Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
EDUCATION TO PEACE
An important pedagogical task in the modern world…Its teaching must be concerned with the social and political causes of threats to peace, as well as the psychological causes, like, collective aggression,foe images, stereotypes, prejudices…
"Hey, Mom," asked Johnny "can you give me 500 pesos?" "Certainly not." "If you do," he went on, "I'll tell you what dad said to the maid when you were at the beauty shop." His mother's ears perked up and, grabbing her purse, she handed over the money. "Well? What did he say?" "He said, 'Hey, Marie, make sure you wash my socks tomorrow.'”
Our tabloids have already created to us an image of household helpers or the maids-in-the-house as women abused by their “amo’s”… Our sex-oriented films have stereotyped them as women for “querida” material…
Hudyo at Intsik nag-uusap : SINO ANG UNANG TAO SA MUNDO? Sabi ng mga HUDYO, "kami". Bakit? Dahil kami ang nagpako sa Diyos. Sabi ng mga INTSIK, "kami". Bakit? Kanino kayo bili pako?
EXAMINE THE PORTRAYAL OF SOCIAL GROUPS: What the general population knows about the world around them is continually being shaped by media. The diversity of our culture needs to be accurately portrayed, particularly such subsets like the disabled, the elderly, the gay, the ethnic minority.
FAMILY ROLES: Students compose a family photo album with left-hand pages showing a stereotyped image for grandma, yaya, kuya, tita, papa, etc… On the right hand pages are photos of the real ones the students know.
Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement center were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says, "Manong, I'm 73 years old now and I'm just full of aches and pains. I know you're about my age. How do you feel?"
Manong says, "Hell, I feel just like a newborn baby." "Really? Like a baby?" "Yep. No hair, no teeth and I think I just made ooo-ooo in my pants."
Students compare the characteristics, with special attention given to costume, posture, setting, props, etc. that are used to reinforce the ‘typical’ character of each. They give them a ‘reality’ rating.
Students compile lists of so-called ‘men’s work’ and ‘women’s work’. Compare the lists with the roles/duties of their own mothers and fathers.
Students examine magazine ads and construct a chart of ads that depict stereotyped sex roles.
CREATING THE ATTITUDES FOR PEACE
reconciliation of heart… leading to a pardon that really regenerates life
One boy wrote: “They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient. But giving the dirty finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.” Look at the lust for controversies shown in our national television without closures: Madame Auring vs Tita Swarding… Gretchen Baretto vs Claudine Baretto… Carmina Villaruel vs Ara Mina… Kris Aquino vs Melanie Marquez…
Melanisms: Don’t judge my brother; he’s not a book… ‘Yong STD, baka sa maruming toilet niya nakuha yan… I don’t eat meat. I’m not a carnival… Sumasakit ang migraine ko… I won’t stoop down to my level… To an estranged mother-in-law, she says: I have two words for you: Ang labo mo.
In fairness to Ms Marquez, she did accept the apologies of Kris Aquino, if only because Cory Aquino asked her daughter to do so… Chika!
In contrast, Oprah Winfrey Show includes anger management and conflict resolution skills…
daily testimony of trustfully listening to the others (young people, educators, our area…) to understand their needs, aspirations and questions
DIRETSAHAN OF AMY AUSTRIA IN CHANNEL 5: Mystica, the splitting performer, confronts her much younger ex-boyfriend… Close-by, Madame Auring and her teenager boyfriend are all dressed up for their segment.
This new talk show makes conflicting parties face each other for a sizzling, unscripted confrontation on national television… It is conceived as a coming out in the open, especially on anything controversial, taboo, forbidden…
When asked how far the provocation, probing and prodding would go, the host coyly answered: “I can’t really say as to how far because the show is very open to anything. That’s the beauty of it. You can do anything- curse and just have it bleeped after, even kick the person you are disputing with- it doesn’t matter. Everything will be shown.”
And the audience is made to participate in the heckling… in the probing and prodding…
Here is a GRO dumping her OFW live-in partner for a younger man she met in a club where she works- the three of them coming face to face on national tv. Then a new set of warring people is called: a man living in with a woman with whom he has a child and the new love of his life, with the mistress more combative and confrontational than the wife.
This show doesn’t really bring out the positive values not only out of its guests but even out of its viewers… Watching all the catfights you will forget issues of right and wrong. The one with the most powerful voice and lungs emerges the victor in the end.
Back in 2002, Franco Zeferelli, 79 years old, thought of producing a sequel to the movie he made 30 years ago, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.”
It would cover the second part of the life of St. Francis when, in 1219, he traveled to the East to try to avoid the Fifth Crusade proclaimed by Pope Gregory IX. He was received as a messenger of peace by the Sultan of Egypt himself, Malik-al-Kamil.
The script begins with the episode of the wolf of Gubbio. Francis understood that the wild animal attacked because it was afraid; hence, he must be treated as a friend. The friar applied the same stance of acceptance and dialogue to the Saracens. The story has a very strong mystical component. In fact, Zeferelli had entitled it "The Three Rings"- for the three monotheist religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Kindness speaks and breathes forth peace…
Far Eastern Economic Review (19 April 2001): “One of them is a cook and he can easily poison the food, but we know he won’t do that.” (Fr. Felix says the small group of former Tamil Tiger child fighters admitted to his Don Bosco Centre to learn non-military skills can be a handful, but are earning the trust of teachers.)
The former UN Secretary General, the mystic Dag Hammarskjold, once observed some people’s inability to come close to another. He writes- “The old fairy tale: the one who has been made invisible or transformed into a beast can only regain his human shape through somebody else’s love.”