Volume 95, Issue 11

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Life imitates art

Editorial Cartoon

Life imitates art

One of the entertainment industry's primary purposes is to provide the public with a sense of escape. Movies, television, books and video games allow those who view them to go anywhere they desire and be whomever they wish.

However, the tragic events in the United States last Tuesday have blurred the line between fantasy and reality in the matter of an instant.

Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, film production companies have begun to recall or put a halt to a number of projects that include images or themes reminiscent of Sept. 11's tragic events.

Do the recent decisions made by these companies represent a shift in the American sentiment towards violence or is this merely a temporary coddling of the masses through Big Brother-style censorship?

Hollywood must be cautious with what they sell to the public during this time of mourning; films that once offered viewers the chance to see larger than life heroes may now be seen to be in poor taste.

Entertainers must now, more than ever, act responsibly in offering products that are sensitive to the needs of a society shattered by violence. The horror depicted in films such as Independence Day, The Siege and Air Force One could be too realistic for those who live in the shadow of terrorism and provide an "escape" only further into sadness and fear.

The truth, however, is often stranger than fiction.

According to some media reports, the three movies mentioned above are the hottest rentals since the incident.

Morbid fascination seems to have a strong grip on society, even in the midst of the death and destruction that recently hit so close to home.

It is impossible to say where the continued obsession with these types of films lie; possibly in the search for a hero or happy ending during a time when no refuge seems to be in sight.

These hero stories may give people hope, but they may also provide dangerous ideas and offer delusions of retribution against one's enemies.

More likely than a peaceful trend in entertainment, history dictates that during times of war, society is blood-thirsty and looks to the media to provide a face to their enemy.

Examples abound. The Gulf War led to a rise in fascination with video game war machine simulators and pro-war/anti-Iraqi propaganda. Hollywood also chose to use the Russians as the antagonist of choice for years as a result of the Cold War.

The question then remains – will the entertainment industry use this opportunity to sway the tastes of the public towards a more peaceful trend in television, movies and video games? Or will the rage, racism and bloodlust win us over?

The answer lies solely with the audience, who spend their hard-earned money on entertainment. We must remember "showbiz" is short for "show business" and production companies are ultimately less concerned with the colour red than with the colour green.

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