Art, Media, Violence, and Social Responsibility

Art, Media, Violence, and Social Responsibility

A murderer and a famous author die on the same day. They are brought before God for judgment. God reviews the killer’s files and judges his soul for immediate extinction. Then he reviews the writer’s files and judges his soul for eternal torture in hell. The writer starts to protest, “Why should I suffer more than the killer? I didn’t kill anyone!” God replies, “The damage you left in the world is greater than that of the killers. Your books are full of evil thoughts that will inspire generations of people to do harm to others.”

I always tell my students to write responsibly.  When you share something with the world - whether you share it in speech, writing, or art - you impact people.  The impact can be positive and give people hope, or it can be negative and hurt people.

I personally prefer love stories and feel good stories. Unfortunately, lately they are hard to find. It seems like publishers and producers prefer stories with more violence, cynicism, and dark content.

The shooting in Las Vegas, like other shooting incidents before, shocked many people and renewed the debate about banning guns. While this debate is going on, maybe we should also consider the impact of the violence in the arts and the media, as well as in our personal expression, on our society and see what each of us can do to change it.