Just a Movie?

Moderators: Yes, perhaps this belongs in
Cafe Society or even General Questions, but I thought we might get some lively discussion, so I put it here…

Generally, I agree with the the Guy is “Scream” who said:

“Movies don’t create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!”

It think people are responsible for their own actions, and can’t be forced into uncharacteristic behavior by watching anything. However, film producers who defend themselves against those who think otherwise are in the habit of saying something along the lines of: “It’s ONLY a movie. It can’t do anything.”

In 1915, DW Griffith released “The Birth of a Nation” one of the first movies to last more than a few minutes (yes I have watched it all the way through). Later that same year, William Simmonds revived the Ku Klux Klan. Lest anyone be unsure that Griffiths’ film was Simmonds’ inspiration (which has some backing) or at least the key to its quick rise, should read "The Ku Klux Klan and ‘The Birth of a Nation’ ", a pro-Klan article that appeared in 1916:

Literature, Drama, and Art are valued for their ability to inspire people, and we see in the earliest days of the full length film the cinema’s ability to claim its place in such a pantheon.

We have piled into darkened rooms to see aspects of our lives shown on the walls since the days of the Lascaux cave paintings.

So how did a concept like “It’s only a movie” gain any cultural force?

As Chris Rock once said,

“What was in Hitler’s CD player?”

I like to think it’s because most people aren’t idiots.

Movies might be more “convincing” than books for example. Books can be “false” too. Movies and books can be heavily fictional and still make us think. So the “its only X” isnt that bad… I’d rather people know/realize its fiction rather than not.

Just because we know it not "for real" doesnt mean we value it less...

We all experience books/movies **as if **they were real; that’s the “suspension of disbelief” that we bring to it, and without this the experience would be meaningless. In the context of their stories, fictional characters and events are real. The answer to “What does Bugs Bunny sound like?” is **not **“Bugs Bunny doesn’t exist.”

And who can deny that art, in general, has the power to transform us, for better or for worse? Art serves as a sort of “Cliff’s Notes” of life, and can teach us lessons (good or bad) that would take a lot longer in “reality.”

Yes, what indeed was in Hitler’s CD player?

Hitler’s musical tastes are well known. One of his favorites was Wagner, who also had a supreme vision of Germany in the world and was very inspirational to ol’ Adolph.

And I wonder if his moustache, so similar to the one on the face of Chaplin’s harmless “Little Tramp”, didn’t subconsciously allay some people’s fears about him.