Where's your manners?

I think it was in the 70s, that Germany banned Tom and Jerry cartoons. The argument was that their portrayal of violence wasn’t realistic and as a result, children did not understand the consequences of violence. For example, Jerry would hit Tom on the head with a hammer and the result would be a quickly growing bump which would throb for a second or two accompanied by a comic noise. Then everything would go back to normal with no sign of damage. Bizarrely I think that this is what has happened with violence in film and television, where scenes have become increasingly graphic and yet the consequences are negligible. We are talking miraculous recoveries.


The other day we passed some time, watching yet another film where Jason Statham growled his way from one violent scene to another. In this particular version, having realised that his crew of ne'er do wells intended to double-cross and kill him, he causes mayhem in a moving car which miraculously doesn’t crash, despite the fact that the driver has had half his head blown off. Our hero then jumps out of the moving car, is shot twice and left for dead, though he clearly wasn't as we were only 10 minutes into the film. Having been taken to hospital by some passing Samaritans, he wakes up covered in bandages and connected to various drips. He magically recovers enough strength to overcome a large male nurse though he doesn't kill him, demonstrating his normally extremely well-hidden kindly nature.

He then escapes in a stolen ambulance, and with awesome medical knowledge, he identifies and self administers the necessary drugs. He is soon back to his old self – punching, shooting, grimacing and growling – ready to seek revenge. Having demonstrated his own remarkable powers of recuperation, when he catches up with his erstwhile colleagues he is literally fighting fit whereas one of them is still bleeding from where his ear used to be, thus demonstrating them to be not only dishonourable and but also a bunch of wimps. The point is we accept all this, in much the same way that we never thought twice about watching Tom and Jerry, or even Sooty battering Sweep his so-called friend. We are now immune to it, and don't take it seriously however realistic it might appear. Let me give you another example.


In another similar film later that weekend, this time it was Daniel Craig's turn. Incidentally in this, one of his early starring roles, he actually spoke more lines than in all the Bond films put together, AND actually did some good acting. Here, the violence was taken to extremes with an explanation of how to use a hot iron as a instrument of torture, and how to deliver a decapitated head in a cooler box. In one scene, one of Craig’s henchmen, mercilessly beats up a man for no apparent reason. It was graphically portrayed. However my wife, Lesley‘s reaction of revulsion was more to the gross way that the victim had earlier eaten his full English breakfast. Perhaps this was the henchman's feelings too, though I felt that his reaction to admittedly appalling table manners was somewhat harsh.


Anyway, maybe that’s what you should expect if you can’t eat with your mouth shut nor use a knife and fork properly in company.

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