As the Aurora shooting dominates the national mood and conversation, empty gestures of remorse from those who have absolutely nothing to do with the tragedy continue to pour out.
Warner Brothers recently announced that it planned to enter reshoots and remove the scene in which a group of thugs shoot up a movie theater in their new film Gangster Squad.
That sounds nice, but the reactionary approach to the tragedy gives undeserved power to the shooter and absorbs some of the blame for the shooting, thus giving credence to the argument that the movies are somewhat responsible for the actions of those who are impressionable and influenced by violence in movies.
If you feel like you are not responsible for a situation, your reaction should revolve around the idea of addition - not subtraction. Since you’re not to blame for the incident, you should not be subtracting from yourself, instead you should be using your vast resources to add to those who were affected by the tragedy.
Regardless of who is responsible, if you do care as much as your empty gestures suggest, you should do something to benefit the victims. Send a celebrity, Christian Bale doesn’t count since he did so on his own accord, start a charity for the victims, pay off some student loans, pay some bills, ask them if there’s anything you can do.
Nothing that you do can erase the memory from their minds - including removing a scene from the movie. Removing the scene puts the event in the audience’s mind almost as much as leaving the scene in.
Another problem I have with removing the scene is the message it sends. You are categorically stating that your movies have a negative influence over some of the people who watch them.
If that’s the case, cool, but at least come out and admit that the company encourages violence and is working toward being more socially responsible.
The empty gestures are sometimes laughable. Around the time the Trayvon Martin case first started gaining national media coverage, the new film The Watch changed its name from Neighborhood Watch, to avoid an association with George Zimmerman.
By that logic, all neighborhood watch organizations should change their name because of the act of one psycho. All the police should change their name to community enforcers because of the actions of one dirty cop (NYPD would be doing that almost as much as Sean P.Diddy Puff Daddy Puffy Combs). And Muslims would have to change their names to Allah lovers because of the actions of Islamic extremists like Osama bin Ladin.
The empty gestures have to stop. I understand you want to disassociate your product with an event that leaves a sour taste in people’s minds, but when you do so, you are also giving into the idea that censorship is more important in film than artistic expression, which in itself, serves to contradict the very paradigm the industry is based off of.
Garvey Ashhurst is a young up and coming poet, songwriter, and blogger. He is the reason that the system is afraid of a black man in a library. His aim is not to be Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Ghandi, but he hopes to make them proud by keeping their ideals alive through his lifestyle. He hopes that one day young brothers will one day say I want to be the next him.