A recent article in The Washington Post by Ann Hornaday entitled “Guns, blood and film: Sea change at the box office?” discusses the possibility that Hollywood might dial back the violence in the wake of our latest national school shooting. Ms. Hornaday notes that, after Newtown, “Studios immediately canceled splashy premieres and tweaked marketing campaigns” for recently released violent films. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), also verbally supported the idea that the MPAA is “…ready to be part of the national conversation” about gun violence. After noting the industry’s reactions, the article discusses recent violent films and moviegoers’ continued support of them; Ms. Hornaday emphasizes that real change lies in the hands of spectators. In other words, we must rely on the market—in this case, the media-consuming market—to help us make the right choices when it comes to the connection between fantasy violence and actual violence.
As a mom and a teacher, I live with an awareness of the teachable moment—a moment when a child or a student presents you with a drop-everything opportunity to engage with the world or an idea. When one of my readers recently expressed interest in hearing how I help my kids deal with cultural influences, this is where I landed: the teachable moment.