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Customer Review

61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my mind., May 13, 2002
This review is from: Killing Monsters (Hardcover)
As a psychotherapist and medical school professor, I speak regularly with parents who worry about their kids' taste in entertainment. I have commiserated with them often. After all, weren't the Columbine shooters obsessed with "Doom" and similar fare? Don't images create possibilities? Gerard Jones argues against the prevailing belief that fantasy violence makes kids violent. Close study of the literature shows that teens who watch the most violent entertainment actually commit fewer serious crimes. And among the 18 boys who perpetrated school rampages in recent years, the majority showed no interest in games. Instead of asking the unanswerable: "How does violent entertainment affect kids?" Jones poses 2 more interesting questions: Why do they love what they love? and: What is the place of fantasy violence in a world that condemns it in reality? He uses his teaching experiences and 30 years of social science research to show how children use make believe to master fears and experiment with feeling strong. In "Girl Power" Jones contends that just as girls used to identify with male fantasy figures, boys are now identifying with Lara Croft and other super-heroines. In a culture in which the male imaginary has been standard--something to which girls and women needed to accomodate--this expanding set of possibilities for kids is no small triumph. While the book is targeted to parents, it's also a solid piece of scholarship, and the author is obviously as comfortable with Freud and Bettelheim as he is Batman and Mega Zords. A fine cultural critique informs his argument. ("We don't ask whether game shows predispose our children to greed or love songs to bad relationships." "Killing MOnsters" made me think of James Joyce's hearing the word "imagination" as "the magic nation" (in "Finnegan's Wake.") Gerard Jones reminds us that we're all permanent citizens of that vast and weird republic, sometimes for worse, but much more often for better.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 21, 2011 10:00:24 AM PST
I do not agree with this commenter nor do I think she has read Bettleheim. Violence does breed violence and relying on data which is subjective as to the scientists protocol is not to be taken seriously. It is the same as asking a leading question one will get the response one is looking for. Bettleheim acutally related in the "Informed Heart" that the people who best survived the camps were those with strong religious values and discipline such as the Jehovah Witness. Those who wash themselves in violent video lose sight of core values and if there weapons are taken from them are the first to succumb to degradation. Sometimes too much education and not enough personal experience negates all the letters behind ones name.
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