Pacifists: do you feel that partaking of action/adventure movies, books, & so forth is unethical?

I thought about asking if such entertainment glorifies violence, but that’s not quite what I mean. I also thought about putting this thread in Cafe Society, but it’s not really action movies & so forth that I want to discuss; it is pacifists’ reaction to them.

Poll in a moment.

Can you define pacifist? Do you mean someone who refuses to personally engage in fights and would never join the armed forces? Or someone who thinks all wars around the world should cease immediately?

I could, but I won’t; I prefer to leave it to each poster. You are a pacifist if you judge yourself to be one.

I voted “pacifist; not represented above.” Now let’s see if I can articulate this.

I don’t watch a lot of violent action movies, not because I think it’s wrong to do so (although I think the eroticization of violence against women in shows like Criminal Minds is wrong), but because I don’t enjoy watching people get hurt and hurt other people. I mean…that’s why I’m a pacifist. It’s not like I’ve had to forbid myself from partaking in action movies out of principle; I don’t watch them because I don’t enjoy them. I empathize too much with the person getting hurt.

I don’t drink to the point of intoxication, not because I’ve forbade myself from doing so because I think it’s morally wrong, but simply because drinking too much makes me dizzy and I don’t enjoy feeling dizzy. Same thing applies to the thread’s premise.

Understood. And oddly enough, I – a very definite non-pacifist – agree with you about Criminal Minds, at least.

I’m only sort of a pacifist… My own actual life-style is absolutely pacifist – arguing with folks here is about the most aggressive thing I do! I hold world peace to be an ideal, well worth working toward. I’m all in favor of the U.N., especially in its efforts (with two arms strapped behind its back) to try to reduce tensions and deter violence.

I hate movies that glorify violence. Movies where the violence is shown to be admirable for itself. Charles Bronson “revenge fantasy” movies, for instance. I prefer movies that take a more principled view of violence: it is, sometimes, the last resort. Even better are movies where negotiation actually is shown to work, and violence is bypassed. “The Hunt for Red October” was actually pretty inspiring in that regard: yeah, there were battle scenes, but the overall motif was of trying to get around battle.

Movies that are actually educational – really good history movies – “The Longest Day” for instance – are also well worth watching.

I am a pacifist. I remember when I heard about the Rwandan genocide I became very upset and swore off violent movies for a long while. (I was mock ed for this, but it was also very easy for me to do, since I was going to nursing school at the time, and working near full time hours, and didn’t get out much to the movies.) Eventually I relaxed this stand, and now my answer is much like that of gallows fodder, above.

Well; I’m not a pacifist, but I try to be ethical, just like everybody else.

Most fighting scenes in movies just bore me. It’s sort of an obligatory number, like the protagonist bursting into song is for people who don’t musicals: time for a bathroom brake.

So it doesn’t even work as an steam valve.

Psychological violence, (and unhappiness caused by dealing between people) whoo boy, I 'm interested. I watch it and then I endlessly digest what happened and what should have prevented the hurt.

Real life violence, like the Ruanda example meantioned by Mona Lisa Simpson? I don’t want to see it, because it makes me sick, and I dont want to read too many details. I just want to know as much about it as enables me to do something about it. If I can’t do something about it, I’d rather not know about it. Circle of influence and all that.

Journalists who want me to watch awful things just so they can say they’ve “made me aware of it”: go away and pollute someone elses mind.


I voted “not unethical”.

I don’t buy the “glorification of violence” thing as a blanket objection, although I can certainly see it in many specific cases (like the Criminal Minds example). Lots of movies use violence to actually make some kind of point (whether it be the satire of Verhoeven or the stylist approach of tarantino) But then, I don’t often watch, and less frequently enjoy, mindless action movies (your Cranks or recent Rambos) or ones with (what I see as) purely gratuitous violence or gore (most horror movies). But it’s not the violence I react to, it’s the mindlessness. I think.

I stopped watching shows like CSI quite a few years ago because I felt they were just gross. I couldn’t imagine being entertained by those topics. But. I love me an over the top tarantino, john woo, Paul verhoven movie. Can’t really explain the difference. Yes I would consider myself peace loving liberal. Torture porn no. Robocop yes.

It’s not unethical, but it is unenjoyable, as several people have commented.

Well I am a pacifist by the first definition I provided. I’ve never been in a fight, never hit anybody, would never hit anybody, could never conceive of purposely hurting or killing another human being. I don’t think it’s realistic to instantly cease war all around the world, though.

Definitions aside, I ADORE slasher flicks and “torture porn” like Hostel. I watch them with a wondrous sort of fascination. I feel this type of film reveals a side of humanity that’s very real, but one I have no personal experience with. And it’s very cathartic. However, I have *always *been unable to bring myself to watch REAL violence, like real beheadings on camera, because I know it isn’t fake. It’s fun when it’s fake, it’s soul-destroyingly awful when it’s not.

I don’t think these kinds of films are unethical, as long as the actors are involved voluntarily and the risks of real injury are minimized.

I find action/adventure fiction both ethical and enjoyable.

I am a hardline pacifist, and I’d kill anyone who questioned my pacifism. What was the question?

… are an ingredient in hasenpfeffer, yes. They taste better if you kill then before you cook them, but where’s the fun in that?

What’s really weird is that I can’t get past that distinction, emotionally. Rationally, hell yeah, I know that the beheading in “The Omen” was just special effects, whereas the film of a beheading in Jiddah was real. But my little emotional hindbrain can’t tell the two apart. The fake depiction horrifies me no less than the real one.

My mother always tried to teach me the difference. “He’s just an actor. That’s fake blood. When the director says ‘Cut!’ he gets up off the floor and has coffee with the guy who pretended to kill him.” And, again, yes, my brain knows this…but my heart (or gut?) doesn’t.

So… I generally watch other kinds of movies.

(I’m a huge fan of “Alien” – but have never actually seen it!)

I am a pacifist in the sense that I believe all violence is wrong and a breakdown of human civilization that should be corrected. However, if Charlie Manson is trying to kill you, you are well within your rights to kill him until he dies from it.

I am like Trinopus in that I can’t stand graphic violence in movies, games or other genres. I can’t watch “torture porn” or slasher flicks like Rachellelogram. It’s the bleating of the dying and suffering of the victims that makes me very psychologically ill.

However, as the screen name implies, I love me some games that feature “sanitized” violence. I play table-top RPGs, computer RPGs and other violent games. I figure I’ve probably killed more sentients by just the amount of Master of Orion 2 games I’ve played than the combined total of the deaths in all of human movies or books.

But real life violence, blood and the bleating of the suffering doesn’t do anything for me other than set me in motion to fix it. You have arterial spray like a Montey Python skit, I’ll jump right in and start bandaging you up. I have no problem watching those wormy bugs being taken out of that guy’s back video while eating a bowl of penne pasta Alfredo.

I suppose I qualify as a pacifist given as I was earlier talking about how I even care about single celled organisms.

I consider entertainment and reality to be two completely different things. That said, there are certain kinds of things I will not watch (things like torture porn), not because I think it’s unethical, per se, but because I find it highly disturbing, and I don’t ever want to be desensitized to disturbing things like that… I should find it disturbing. That said, one of my favorite movies is Kill Bill… I can tolerate violence and gore in movies, just not extensive suffering.

If someone who identifies as pacifist (like, say, a monk) were to identify that kind of entertainment as personally unethical to them, I would neither be surprised nor bothered.

Prepare for a nad punch.